Saudi-China talks focus on Syria

Updated 05 February 2014

Saudi-China talks focus on Syria

Crown Prince Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, and visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi held talks here on key regional issues including the bloodshed in Syria, the Middle East peace process, and expanding trade ties between the two countries.
Several high-ranking Saudi and Chinese officials including Prince Saud Al-Faisal, minister of foreign affairs, attended the talks.
Prince Saud and Wang earlier exchanged views on a range of bilateral and regional issues including the Iranian nuclear pact and energy security.
Addressing a press conference after his talks at the Conference Palace here, Wang said: “China is working closely with its allies in the Middle East including Saudi Arabia to ensure peace and security in the region.”
In his talks with Crown Prince Salman and Prince Saud, Wang said he shared Saudi concerns about the civil strife in Syria and ways to halt Iran’s nuclear program.
“China’s relations with the Kingdom are not limited to the energy sector … in fact, China is cooperating with Riyadh in several areas including politics, regional affairs and the railway sector.”
Wang said he also met GCC Secretary General Abdullateef Al-Zayani to discuss regional issues and growing GCC-Sino relations.
Wang said Beijing wants to “expand economic, trade and investment relations” with GCC countries.
Asked about his talks with Prince Saud, he said China and Saudi Arabia have excellent ties in politics, commerce and energy security.
In an earlier briefing, Dean Li Lianghua, a spokesman for the Chinese Embassy, told Arab News that Saudi Arabia is China’s largest energy supplier, accounting for about 20 percent of Chinese crude oil imports.

Saudi films soar at Golden Falcon film awards

Updated 19 April 2018

Saudi films soar at Golden Falcon film awards

  • Winners of first Golden Falcon award will travel to the Netherlands to study filmmaking techniques
  • Film screenings have been revived in KSA as part of wide-ranging social and economic reforms encouraged by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman 

RIYADH: Saudi films have won awards at an international film festival organized by the Netherlands to coincide with the return of cinema to the Kingdom.

The first Golden Falcon Film Festival awards drew Saudi actors, filmmakers and cinema-lovers to the Netherlands embassy in Riyadh on Wednesday.

More than 30 shortlisted Saudi films were shown at the maiden festival on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Nine films were nominated, with three each in the best film, best script and best director categories. Overall winners were chosen by an international jury headed by Dutch filmmaker Hans Treffers.

Best movie award went to “Mazban.” The other two films nominated in the category were “Tongue” and “Building 20.”

“The Poetess,” “Matour” and “Atoor” were nominated in the best director category with “Atoor” bagging the award.

“Departures,” “Atoor” and “The Remaining” were nominated in the best script category with “Departures” winning the award.

Besides the Golden Falcon trophy, the winners will travel to the Netherlands to study filmmaking techniques.

Joost Reintjes, the Netherlands ambassador in Riyadh, told Arab News: “We are proud to organize the first Golden Falcon Film Festival here to promote filmmaking in the Kingdom and provide a platform for young Saudi filmmakers to show what they have to offer.”

Film screenings — banned in Saudi Arabia in the 1980s following religious changes in the Kingdom — have been revived as part of wide-ranging social and economic reforms encouraged by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. 

The return of cinema was heralded with a film screening on Wednesday at a newly built theater at the King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD) in Riyadh. 

Commenting on the lifting of the 35-year ban, Reintjes told Arab News: “That’s Vision 2030 — it is good sign to diversify and develop.

“Although the cinemas in the Kingdom have only been restarted now, Saudi filmmaking has already made a name for itself on the world stage.

“The Saudi film industry will grow very fast. The level of talent is high,” he said.

Mohammed Al-Qass, lead actor from “Departure,” said: “We have been working for this day for years. 

“Saudis with a thirst for cinema were traveling outside the country — now they can enjoy and share the experience in their homeland.” 

Mohammed Khawajah, a Saudi filmmaker and adviser for the film festival, told Arab News: “The idea for this festival came last year when the lifting of the cinema ban was being discussed.

“The Netherlands embassy had this idea about nine months ago; we sat together and planned the whole festival, which was carried out successfully, with hundreds of people enjoying Saudi films.

“We will improve with our next festival, which will have more fun and entertainment,” he said.