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.


King Faisal Prize: Rewarding services to all of humanity

Updated 42 min 50 sec ago
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King Faisal Prize: Rewarding services to all of humanity

RIYADH: Prince Turki Al-Faisal’s father, the late King Faisal, was a beacon of aspiration and hope. 

During his reign, the first girls’ schools were introduced, and he focused on educating the Saudi population as a whole to promote peace. 

The King Faisal Foundation was founded by King Faisal’s sons and daughters to commemorate his memory and vision. 

The significance of the annual King Faisal Prize (KFP) dates back to when a reporter asked him how he saw Saudi Arabia in 50 years’ time. 

The king responded: “I see Saudi Arabia in 50 years’ time as a wellspring of radiance for humanity.” 

The root of the foundation and the prize stems from his vision for all of humanity: Peace through education.

“The prize was established by the King Faisal Foundation soon after the foundation was formed,” Prince Turki told Arab News.

“It carries the message that the welfare of humanity is the primary importance of service to humanity,” he said. 

“The versatility of Islam is celebrating knowledge for all nationalities. As the first verse in the Holy Qur’an was ‘Read,’” Dr. Abdul Aziz Al-Subayyil, secretary-general of KFP, told Arab News. 

“This a universal dialogue between all nationalities and scientific fields, which seeks peace through knowledge.” he said.  

The significance of the Prize shows that: “This is the real Islam and this prize in the country of the Two Holy mosques represents that we are trying to observe the teaching of Islam and its implementation through the prize, which is the encouragement of science and introducing knowledge to people,” Al-Subayyil said.