Cinema in KSA will help women tell their stories, says filmmaker

Director and co-writer Hajjar Al-Naim
Updated 13 December 2017
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Cinema in KSA will help women tell their stories, says filmmaker

JEDDAH: Hajjar Al-Naim was one of the first women in Saudi Arabia who jumped into the field of filmmaking. Her country lacked cinemas and she studied abroad to fulfill her passion.
Al-Naim is the director and co-writer of a film called “Detained,” which was screened at the 2017 Dubai International Film Festival this week.
The movie is about a young Syrian refugee who fights to proclaim her innocence when the US Homeland Security detains her after her father is identified as the suicide bomber in a terrorist attack at a London airport.
After the screening of her film in the US and at the Dubai festival, Al-Naim told Arab News: “It represents the two perspectives — the American and the Middle East perspective. I am happy because I showed my movie to people in the US and the Middle East. I want the American audience to understand our struggle as Middle Eastern and Muslims.”
“There was a huge wave of questions; they were like, why would I make this type of movie? My answer was: ‘It’s because the media in the US and Middle East are representing both perspectives in a wrong way and my goal was to wipe these wrong perspectives away'," she said.
“My film was funded by Saudi individuals and institutions and I think these people deserve to see the movie they funded and helped to make happen in their country.
“I am so excited about the news… I can’t imagine that we will have cinemas in Saudi Arabia. Such a decision, I believe, will encourage the government itself to open institutions and to teach more filmmakers to become professional. I hope by this news more women will get their stories filmed,” the Saudi filmmaker said.
“As a Saudi female director and filmmaker, one of my goals is to teach filmmaking in Saudi Arabia and help female directors to film movies. I know that a lot of producers will control the content but I think it is our job now as directors to do our best to control the content and let the audience control it too,” she said.
“We want people to understand that we are trying to get better and we will take few steps, but at the beginning it might be a slow process because the culture might not accept the idea fully and immediately,” the filmmaker added.


Finance officials meet to map out Saudi Arabia’s budget plans

Updated 19 April 2019
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Finance officials meet to map out Saudi Arabia’s budget plans

  • Finance representatives of 150 government bodies meet for the Budget Forum 2020

RIYADH: Saudi finance chiefs have kicked off a major conference in the capital aimed at mapping out the Kingdom’s budget requirements.
Around 300 specialists representing 150 government bodies met at the InterContinental hotel in Riyadh for the Budget Forum 2020.
Minister of Finance Mohammed Al-Jadaan welcomed delegates to the second edition of the gathering organized by the Saudi Finance Ministry under the slogan “Partnership and Empowerment.”
Al-Jadaan said the ministry was focused on “partnership and commitment,” and sought to share the challenge of developing an effective budget to achieve the Kingdom’s ambitious goals.
“We are also committed to empowering financial leaderships to learn about the ministry’s programs and projects and provide training and qualification opportunities to the best international standards,” he added.
The finance chief said the budget planning process required the collaboration of multiple authorities and a clear strategy based on transparency. 
Items up for discussion at the forum included financial planning in governmental bodies, automation, and the promotion of revenues and efficient spending.
Finance Ministry steering committee chairman, Abdul Aziz bin Saleh Al-Freih, stressed the importance of the forum in getting the ball rolling at an early stage on formulating a general state budget.
Workshops were held on the sidelines of the conference focused on empowering government organizations, and a training program on financial planning and income estimations was also staged.