Short film, big opportunity for Gulf filmmakers

Updated 08 December 2017
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Short film, big opportunity for Gulf filmmakers

JEDDAH: Budding filmmakers in the Gulf are being handed a unique opportunity to see their work shine on a global stage thanks to the British Council’s “Small Screen, Short Film” festival.
Organizers of the project are inviting ambitious young directors who are Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) residents or citizens — or citizens living in the UK — to submit films no longer than three minutes via their smartphones.
The best entries will be screened to a worldwide audience during the online festival, which runs from March 15 to 25, 2018.
It is the first short-film festival for filmmakers aged 14 to 25 in the region and, to help people develop their entries, the British Council has partnered with Into Film, a British film-based educational charity, to create a step-by-step smartphone film guide, which is available for download from the festival website.
The competition boasts a jury of renowned GCC and UK filmmakers, who will shortlist the films to be screened.
Jury members already confirmed include Emirati director Abdulla Al-Kaabi, best known for critically acclaimed film “Only Men Go to the Grave”; Academy Award and four-time BAFTA award-winning British filmmaker Asif Kapadia, whose documentaries “Amy” and “Senna” won him high praise; and English actress and writer Amy Lowe.
Of the shortlisted films to be screened during the festival, four winners will be selected to receive one-on-one workshops with UK film talent.
Rehana Mughal, the British Council’s senior program manager for culture and sport in the Gulf, told Arab News: “The short films are a work of fiction — this just means it is a created story. This can be based on reality, it can be a drama or a comedy, and can be in either animation or live action.

Growing passion
“The medium of short film allows for ease of making, and the equipment of a smartphone or tablet means most people have access.”
Amir Ramzan, Saudi Arabia country director at the British Council, said: “Over our years in the Gulf, we’ve seen a growing passion among young people toward sport and culture in their communities, and have created the culture and sport program to provide a platform to support and grow this talent.
“We believe that everyone should be able to reap the benefits that being involved in sporting and cultural activities can bring, the idea being to help young people understand that you don’t necessarily have to be an artist or a footballer to be successful in this field, and that there are many exciting career opportunities in these sectors.”
Announcing the festival, the British Council tweeted: “Think you can make a great short film using your smartphone or tablet? Then check Small Screen, Big Film, a filmmaking competition and online film festival for filmmakers in the Gulf or Gulf nationals living in the UK.”
The British Council also tweeted: “Aged 14-25 and from the Gulf? The first ever Gulf smartphone film festival is now open for entries! two categories with 20 films screened online in March. Visit: http://bit.ly/SmallScreenBigFilm … #keepitshort #competition.”
Entries close on Jan. 31, 2018.
 


Sakani program to add 11,000 homes in Jeddah

The Housing Ministry has deals with two real-estate companies. (Reuters/File)
Updated 18 October 2018
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Sakani program to add 11,000 homes in Jeddah

  • The first project, Rawabi Hijaz, is on private-sector land and will includes 9,502 units
  • The Ministry stressed its keenness to work with qualified developers to add to housing stock

JEDDAH: The Saudi Ministry of Housing has signed agreements with two real-estate development companies to add more than 11,000 homes in Jeddah for the Sakani program. The deals were signed on October 15 during an event announcing the program’s 10th batch of beneficiaries.
The first project, Rawabi Hijaz, is on private-sector land and will includes 9,502 units, while the second, Jeddah airport housing, is on land owned by the Ministry and will includes 2,203 units.
The agreements were signed in the presence of Minister of Housing Majid bin Abdullah Al-Hugail, National Housing Company CEO Mohammed bin Saleh Al-Bati, and officials from the ministry and the Real Estate Development Fund. They follow previous agreements signed by the Ministry of Housing with a number of developers to build housing in various regions of the Kingdom. Sixty projects providing more than 90,000 diverse homes, with prices ranging from SR250,000 to SR750,000 have already been launched.
The Ministry stressed its keenness to work with qualified developers to add to housing stock and support supply in the sector, to encourage competition between companies to meet the needs of citizens in a way that suits local markets and ensures the provision of continued maintenance services for the residential units.
“The real-estate developers with whom we signed contribute along with the Ministry to the service of citizens in order to provide a suitable residential environment on the levels of prices and specifications, while presenting the beneficiaries with the guarantees needed,” the Ministry said.
“These projects will be completed and handed over to the beneficiaries within a period not exceeding three years. These housing projects are integrated in terms of services and public facilities. They include mosques, public parks and green areas as well as government buildings.”