Al-Murrah tribe warns Qatar against harming relatives

The head of the Al-Murrah tribe, Sheikh Taleb, right, speaks to media in Al-Ahsa on Saturday.
Updated 18 September 2017
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Al-Murrah tribe warns Qatar against harming relatives

JEDDAH: Leaders of the Al-Murrah tribe in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries have warned Doha against harming their relatives in Qatar.
The warning came after Qatar stripped Al-Murrah tribal chief Sheikh Taleb and 54 family members of their citizenship, in a move slammed as “collective punishment” by human rights groups.
It follows a previous action by Doha to force 6,000 tribal members to flee the country, according to reports.
Al-Murrah tribal leaders and members, as well as dignitaries from other tribes, convened early Saturday in Al-Ahsa, eastern Saudi Arabia, to show solidarity with Sheikh Taleb.
He received the guests in his home, where many delivered speeches denouncing the practices of the Qatari authorities.
Sheikh Taleb recently confirmed in a video recording that Qatar had revoked his and his family’s citizenship.
“My citizenship isn’t a gift from Hamad bin Khalifa – former ruler of Qatar. It was offered to me by Sheikh Ali bin Abdullah Al-Thani (who ruled Qatar between 1949 and 1960). Therefore … Hamad bin Khalifa has no right to revoke it.”
Commenting on the reason for revoking his citizenship, Sheikh Taleb said it was “because we refused to insult” Saudi Arabia and its leadership.


Saudi films soar at Golden Falcon film awards

Updated 19 April 2018
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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.