Cinema is finding its way to Saudi Arabia

A scene from the animation movie ‘Bilal’. (photo courtesy: Video grab)
Updated 18 August 2017

Cinema is finding its way to Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: According to the official Twitter account of Enter Animation Arabia, one MiSK event will provide a one-of-a-kind event when the Hakaya Theater screens an international movie (Bilal) for the first time.

According to the MiSK media department manager, Nada Al-Twaijri, the giant display screen inside the large theater in downtown Riyadh’s Hakaya Theater will be used for the first time in the Kingdom’s history to display a full movie from Aug. 17 to 20 from 4:45 p.m. The theater has been used many times before for displaying short domestic films and plays, but never for a full-feature movie.
Displaying movies in public is not new in the Kingdom. In the past, movies were screened in hotel lobbies and embassies. However, cinemas have been banned in the Kingdom for the past few years.
In the same vein, a movie festival was in Jeddah this summer. The Saudi Arabian Society for Culture and Arts’ (SASCA) Jeddah branch screened two international movies for families last month for seven days. The movies included “Trolls,” a 2016 American 3D computer-animated comedy based on the troll dolls created by Thomas Dam, and “Robo-Dog,” a 2015 movie about robotic dogs designed to resemble real dogs in appearance and behavior.
The movie “Bilal” is an Arabic 3D action-adventure film produced by Barajoun Entertainment. The story is by Ayman Jamal, with the screenplay by Alex Kronemer, Michael Wolfe, Yassin Kamel and Khurram H. Alavi. With this film, Jamal aimed to depict “real-life” heroes from the rich history of the Arabian Peninsula. He has pursued this project for over seven years.
“Bilal” premiered on December 9, 2015 at the 12th Annual International Dubai Film Festival, and was released later throughout the MENA region. It has received positive reviews and box office success.
“Bilal” was selected at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival as Best Feature Film. The film is also nominated for APSA, the region’s highest accolade in film for Best Animated Feature Film after winning “Best inspiring Movie” on Animation Day at the Cannes Festival, and “Best Innovative Movie” at the BroadCast Pro Middle East Award.
The Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz Foundation, “MiSK,” is a non-profit foundation devoted to cultivating learning and leadership in youth for the Saudi Arabia of tomorrow. To this end, MiSK focuses on the country’s youth and provides different means of fostering talent, creative potential, and innovation in a healthy environment that paves the way toward opportunities in the arts and sciences.


Ukrainian pianist hits the high notes for Taif visitors

Updated 25 August 2019

Ukrainian pianist hits the high notes for Taif visitors

TAIF: It is not unusual for musicians to aim for the stars, but organizers of the Crown Prince Camel Festival in Taif gave the Ukrainian concert pianist Olina Lukashu a head start.

Visitors to the opening entertainment events at King Faisal Garden were treated to the sight and sound of Lukashu performing 5 meters in the air, dressed in a long white gown that reached down to the ground.

“It was decided to put her at the entrance of the garden, all dressed in white to welcome the visitors,” festival spokesman Saleh Al-Anzi told Arab News.

“It is a new idea that was greatly enjoyed by visitors, who admired her rendition of various musical pieces.”

Among the 25 events taking place in conjunction with this year’s festival is a circus presented by five Latin American countries, Al-Anzi said. There is also a free childcare service, mobile food courts, international restaurants and a live broadcasting studio.  “Visitors will be able to ride camels inside the park, and enjoy the handicrafts on display by various artisans,” he said.

Dr. Sami bin Abdullah Al-Obaidi, chairman of the Council of Saudi Chambers, told Arab News the Taif Season was important in terms of generating employment opportunities for young Saudis, and creating tourist projects. “All the events are full of visitors,” he said.

He said 2,000 jobs were provided during the Taif Season, and those who took up the opportunities gained skills and knowledge about the requirements of an audience.

“Saudi culture has changed, and Saudis have become more aware of global challenges and requirements, and the expectations of tourists and other consumers,” he said. “Taif Season has set a high standard.”