Meet two young Saudi actors who are making waves at the Saudi Film Festival

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Ibrahim Al-Hajjaj has acted in four movies, including “2097” and “Wasati.”
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Dana Dhahrani was spotted by a teacher and encouraged to act.
Updated 30 March 2017
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Meet two young Saudi actors who are making waves at the Saudi Film Festival

DHAHRAN: Meeting its mission of nurturing the nascent filmmaking industry in the Kingdom, the Saudi Arabian Society for Culture and Arts can be credited with recognizing young actor Ibrahim Al-Hajjaj’s talent.
The 23-year-old Saudi actor found his calling after a failed career in music.
“That’s how most actors start … with a failed career in music,” Al-Hajjaj laughingly told Arab News.
In 2012, Al-Hajjaj frequented the Saudi Arabian Society for Culture and Arts, where he started taking up roles in short plays and theater productions.
After completing a short course at the National Youth Theater of Great Britain, he came back to the Kingdom and embarked upon a career in the theater.
So far, he has acted in four movies and counts his favorite roles as those he played in the films “2097” and “Wasati.”
Al-Hajjaj plays a schizophrenic in the movie 2097, which was screened on the third day of the Saudi Film Festival in Dhahran.
To prepare for the role, he spent extensive time with a psychologist to fully understand the behavior of a schizophrenia suffering patient. In the critically-acclaimed “Wasati,” Al-Hajjaj has a cameo role.
The actor says he is very pleased to see the emergence and recognition of filmmaking in the country.
“There is nothing wrong with art. In fact, it is a good thing because it brings out the talents of Saudi citizens which might have been buried,” he said, which is significant as the festival saw an eight-year hiatus prior to 2015.
Another young acting talent making waves at the festival is 11-year-old Saudi, Dana Dhahrani.
The young actress was encouraged to pursue her talent by a teacher at Manarat Al-Sharqiya school in Alkhobar and with permission from her parents, was allowed to play a role in a movie.
Dhahrani told Arab News how happy and grateful she is for the opportunity to act and said that she hopes she will be able to pursue a career in the arts once she is older.
Some of the movies that were screened on the third day of the 4th edition of the Saudi Film Festival include “Departures” (psychodrama), “Where Is the Way?” (drama, social), “An Angel Leave” (drama, social), and “Calm in the Midday” (psychodrama).


Saudi King Salman, crown prince receive US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

Updated 56 min 46 sec ago
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Saudi King Salman, crown prince receive US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

  • Pompeo thanked King Salman for his commitment to a thorough, transparent investigation
  • The crown prince assured Pompeo that the US and Saudi Arabia are "old, strong allies"

RIYADH: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with King Salman in the Saudi capital on Tuesday, before arriving at Riyadh’s royal palace to talk with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Pompeo thanked Saudi King Salman for his commitment to a thorough, transparent investigation of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance, while the crown prince assured him that the US and Saudi Arabia are "old, strong allies."

The US chief diplomat was greeted at Riyadh airport by Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir and ambassador to Washington Prince Khalid bin Salman.

“I hope you are comfortable here,” the king told Pompeo, according to the reporters. Pompeo responded, “Thank you for accepting my visit on behalf of President Trump.”

(With AFP)