2005 Press Release

Saudi Ambassador receives world’s preeminent film archive of the Middle East
Tapes donated to the archives of the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies
  Jo Franklin and Prince Turki Al-Faisal at embassy

[Washington, DC] -- Saudi Ambassador to the United States Prince Turki Al-Faisal today received a reproduction of the Franklin Film Archive of the Middle East, the preeminent assemblage of Middle East film footage in the world.  In a ceremony at the Saudi Embassy, Prince Turki accepted the tapes from Ms. Jo Franklin on behalf of the archives of the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies, of which he is a board member.

“This is a valuable gift for the Saudi people that enhances the film archives of the King Faisal Center,” said Prince Turki. “I am grateful for this fine collection of cultural footage."

The 120 hour film archive, which has never before been made available to the public, is valued at $45 million and has been lauded as an invaluable and unique historical asset.  Ms. Franklin called the collection, which include over seventy hours of interviews, “an oral history of Saudi Arabia.”

Ms. Franklin traveled though the Middle East from 1980 through 1994 for several acclaimed documentaries which aired on PBS: “Saudi Arabia” (1981), “The Oil Kingdoms” (1983), “Days of Rage: The Young Palestinians” (1989) and “Islam: A Civilization and its Art” (1994).

"It is their history and should reside with them. It is my deepest hope that the different cultures of the world come to better understand and appreciate their differences and similarities in an effort toward peace. I have always felt that the King Faisal Center in the Islamic world, headed by Ambassador Turki Al-Faisal, shares that vision and goal," said Ms. Franklin in a statement issued earlier.

The King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies in Saudi Arabia, with more than one million books, rare manuscripts, and audio visual material throughout its four different libraries is considered the principal resource in the world on Islamic civilization.

“The greatest libraries of the ancient Muslim world at Baghdad, Alexandria and Cordoba have disappeared, but fortunately this important tradition continues with the King Faisal Center,” Ms. Franklin said in the statement.