Abdullah Al-Ayaf

Abdullah Al-Ayaf

Abdullah Al-Ayaf Al-Qahtani, a Saudi engineer, writer, filmmaker, and director, was appointed CEO of the Saudi Film Commission in June 2020. Born in 1976 in Al-Ahsa, Saudi Arabia, Abdullah Al-Ayaf graduated in Mechanical Engineering from King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals. He has received numerous local and regional awards and has chaired and participated in judging panels at various film festivals.

Engaging actively in diverse cinematic and cultural seminars both nationally and internationally, Al-Ayaf has made appearances on renowned global channels. He co-founded and edited the cinema section of the Saudi newspaper Al-Watan, contributing to Al-Sharq Al-Awsat and Al-Majalla. His weekly column “Mubasher” in Al-Riyadh addresses cinema, broadcasting, media, and culture. Al-Ayaf also contributes varied articles on cinema to the weekly cinema page of Al-Riyadh.

His debut novel, “A Hole to the Sky,” published in 2020 by Masciliani in collaboration with Rashm Publishing and Distribution, made it to the longlist of the International Prize for Arabic Fiction “Booker” in 2021.

As a filmmaker, Abdullah Al-Ayaf has directed several award-winning films, including “Cinema 500 km” and “Frame.” Recognized for cinematic excellence, with accolades such as:

  • The Golden Palm for Best Documentary (Saudi Film Competition) for “Cinema 500 km”
  • Special Jury Prize (Emirates Film Competition – Gulf Category) for “Frame”
  • His film “Rain” secured the Silver Palm for Best Short Film (Saudi Film Competition)
  • “Alive” clinched the top spot at the Gulf Film Festival for Best Short Film
  • “Alive” earned the Silver Alf (2nd place) at the Beirut International Film Festival and Best Screenplay (1st place) at the Saudi Film Festival


  • “Frame” nominated for the Muhr Award for Best Short Film at the Dubai International Film Festival and Best Short Film at the Oran Film Festival, Algeria.
  • “Cinema 500 km” nominated for Best Short Film at the Muscat Film Festival, Oman.
  • “Rain” nominated for Best Short Film at the Beirut International Film Festival, Lebanon.


Abdullah served on the jury panels of various film festivals, including:

  • The Abu Dhabi Film Festival (UAE, 2011)
  • Gulf Film Festival (UAE, 2012)
  • Saudi Film Festival (Dammam, Saudi Arabia, 2015)

His contributions extend to the global energy industry, notably with Saudi Aramco, where he held key positions such as Program Head for the Saudi Pavilion at Expo 2020, Program Director for the Eastern Province Season 2019, and Head of Visual, Audio, Conferences, and Events Production in the Media Relations Division.

Books Written by Abdullah Al-Ayaf