Future of Saudi cinema … gathering of world-class film directors in Riyadh

Saudi women arrive to watch Saudi short movies during the "Short Film Competition 2" festival on October 20, 2017, at King Fahad Culture Center in Riyadh. (AFP)
Updated 31 October 2017
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Future of Saudi cinema … gathering of world-class film directors in Riyadh

RIYADH: The third “1000 Dialogues” conference on the future of film and filmmaking in Saudi Arabia will be held in Riyadh on Sunday, November 12, 2017, titled “Film and Production: From Viewer to Filmmaker.”

The conference comes in light of the new changes taking place in the Kingdom with cinema as an integral part of entertainment.

The meeting will be held at the Apex Convention Center and the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center, according to Saudi online newspaper Almowaten.

The meeting, which will feature a number of producers, directors, experts and specialists in the film industry from Saudi Arabia and abroad, aims to improve the national film product in the light of successful international and local experiences for both men and women and the great interest the business enjoys by a wide segment of viewers.

The keynote speaker will be Colin Vaines, the British filmmaker and Emmy-winning television producer whose credits include “Gangs of New York” and “The Young Victoria.”

It will host two Saudi successful filmmakers and YouTube directors: Ali Kalthami, a Saudi director, producer, writer and co-founder of TV 11 and C3 films, and Ahd Kamel, a Saudi actress, director and author participated in “Wadjda” film and won the first gold award at the Beirut International Film Festival 2012 for her short film “Al-Gondorji” which was written and directed by her.

The dialogue will also feature Saudi social researcher, artist and star of “Barakah yoqabil Barakah” (Barakah Meets Barakah), Fatima Al-Banawi. The film won the Best Film Award at the Berlin Film Festival 2016.

“Cinema is one of the latest industries in the Kingdom,” explained Abeer Al-Fouti, organizer of the event.

She also said that a number of its fans and employees have achieved tangible successes in recent years, despite the fact that cinemas do not exist in Saudi Arabia.

“In the event of its recovery, the industry will contribute directly to creating jobs and attracting foreign investment to the country’s economy, as well as informing the world about the culture of this country. We have witnessed the rebirth of Saudi cinema with films that participated in local and international film festivals.”

Many citizens have also recorded great successes in the production of small works on YouTube, with more than one million viewers, often from young people.

“We have been keen to invite a selection of people interested in the film industry to attend the meeting with filmmakers and specialists from the Kingdom and abroad to enrich the discussion and to be more useful, to achieve the meeting’s objectives, and determine the best ways to develop this industry in the Kingdom,” she added.


Hajj 2018: What’s on pilgrims’ bucket lists

Masjid Quba in Madinah is a favorite destination for Hajj pilgrims, according to tour guides. Below: The Cave of Hira, Al-Baqi’ cemetery and the Prophet’s Chamber allow visitors to step back in time. (Getty Images)
Updated 15 August 2018
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Hajj 2018: What’s on pilgrims’ bucket lists

  • A number of companies in Makkah and Madinah help people organize their trips, making sure they cover the important sites in the two holy cities
  • Most of the sites in the two holy cities are spiritual, giving pilgrims a sense of the prophecies

RIYADH: Hajj is one of the biggest dreams of every Muslim’s life, and pilgrims looking forward to their stay in Makkah and Madinah say a bucket list is the best way to plan the trip. 

Most of the sites in the two holy cities are spiritual, giving pilgrims a sense of the prophecies. Standing in the places of the Holy Prophet transports them back to the past as if they lived those incredible moments. 

A number of companies in Makkah and Madinah help people organize their trips, making sure they cover the important sites in the two holy cities.

Sayed Shafei, an operation manager for City Sightseeing, a tour company in Madinah and worldwide, told Arab News: “We offer a special tour with a multilingual tour guide presented in eight languages. We also offer 24-hour tickets. We have scheduled tourism trips starting from the Prophet’s Mosque to 12 destinations every 30 minutes. The whole trip lasts for 14 hours a day.” 

Asked about the most popular requests, Shafei said: “Our customers always ask to visit Masjid Quba, the Sayed Al-Shuhada Mosque in Uhud, which is considered a vital historic landmark of Madinah, and Al-Qiblatain Mosque.” 

Most of the group’s customers are from East Asia, but many also visit from Kuwait, Bahrain, the UAE, Indonesia, Malaysia, the US and Europe.

Munirah Al-Jebreen, an English instructor at Princess Noura University who will perform Hajj this year, told Arab News her bucket list began with an online search. 

“I found a travel guide on Google that has all the best sites in Madinah and Makkah, so I decided to visit Uthman ibn Affan’s Farm and Well in Madinah, the Holy Qur’an exhibition, and one of the most important places I want to visit is the grave of the Holy Prophet,” she said.

The area between the Prophet’s Chamber, which holds his grave, and the Mimbar is known as the Rawdah, which is actually the Garden of Paradise. It is presently distinguished by a green carpet.

Al-Jebreen also listed some of her planned tour destinations in Makkah, including the Cave of Hira, where the Holy Prophet meditated frequently during the first 40 years of his life and the site of the first revelation. 

She will also visit Bilal Mosque and Mount Abu Qubais and, finally, will try Al-Garmushi, one of the famous traditional restaurants in Makkah.