Tabatha Leggett

26 June 2013

Watching YouTube in Saudi Arabia

When Abdullah Mando flew to Montreal in 2004, he promised himself he would one day return to Jeddah. No one believed him: he was on his way to Concordia University to study film production, and going back to Saudi Arabia, where there aren’t any cinemas, seemed absurd. He grew up watching bootleg copies of Western movies, but ‘American films didn’t speak to me,’ he says. ‘They didn’t ask questions young Saudi people were asking.’ And so, along with Anmar Fatheldeen and Omar Murad, Mando set up UTURN Entertainment, an online television network.