Del Toro wins top DGA prize for ‘The Shape of Water’

Director Guillermo del Toro holds his nominee plaque for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film for “The Shape of Water” at the 70th Annual DGA Awards in Beverly Hills, California, US, February 3, 2018. (Reuters)
Updated 04 February 2018
0

Del Toro wins top DGA prize for ‘The Shape of Water’

LOS ANGELES: Guillermo del Toro’s bid for Oscars glory was boosted Saturday as he took top prize at the Directors Guild of America honors — a key predictor for the Academy Awards.
The Mexican filmmaker was crowned best director for his Cold War-era fantasy romance “The Shape of Water,” a month ahead of the glittering culmination of Hollywood’s annual awards season.
The 53-year-old has already scooped a Golden Globe for directing the movie, starring Sally Hawkins as a janitor in a top secret government laboratory who falls in love with a mysterious merman-like sea creature.
“This movie particularly took me to do things I was very afraid of,” Del Toro told fellow filmmakers at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills.
“It was a movie that was full of many reasons why it shouldn’t work, and those are the reasons why it works.”
An emotional Del Toro’s voice trembled as he dedicated the award to his mother and to his father, who was recently taken ill.
“While they are still with me, and they can still hear me say this, thank you dad, thank you mom. You believe in me and my monsters all the time.”
Del Toro edged out Christopher Nolan, nominated for World War II thriller “Dunkirk” — another film seen as a top contender for Oscar glory on March 4.
“The Shape of Water” was nominated for seven Golden Globes in January, eventually taking home two, and was awarded best picture by the Producers Guild. It is up for 13 Oscars.
The DGA Awards are seen as a reliable bellwether of Academy Awards success — particularly the best director prize, as 13 of the last 14 winners went on to win the Oscar for best director.
Presenters at Saturday’s star-studded event for 1,600 guests included Sam Rockwell, Amy Schumer, Saoirse Ronan, Kevin Bacon, Allison Janney and Damien Chazelle, who won the top prize at the last ceremony.
The other nominees for best director were Greta Gerwig for coming-of-age story “Lady Bird,” Martin McDonagh for dark crime comedy “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” and Jordan Peele for racial satire “Get Out.”
Peele walked away with a medallion for best first-time feature, and said the reaction to the movie had made for “the best year of my life, hands down.”


Manganiyar musical experience connects Saudi Arabia with ancient India

Ithra takes visitors to the magical world of Manganiyar, an Indian folk music, in Dhahran on Wednesday. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 17 November 2018
0

Manganiyar musical experience connects Saudi Arabia with ancient India

  • There were challenges, Abel said. “As an ‘intruder’ going to the Manganiyar not knowing fully what this kind of art is, in the beginning I had to learn so many things and try to understand the musicians and help them to understand me”

DHAHRAN: The King Abdul Aziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) in Dhahran has been transporting its visitors to the magical world of the Manganiyar from Nov. 14-17. The Manganiyar is a timeless Indian orchestra originally born in the region of Rajasthan in north India, which has continued over many generations.
The basic song on which the show is based comes from a poem by the 17th-century Sufi poet, Bulleh Shah. The resulting folk music is an audio-visual feast that mixes light and voice and features more than 40 musicians in one performance.
The first Manganiyar show in Ithra was sold out.
“It was the first time in my life that inspiration dawned on me; it was like a heavenly gift,” Roysten Abel, the director of the musical show, told Arab News when he was asked how the band started their touring and performance journey.
“I was in Spain working as a street performer. One day I was resting and I heard wonderful music, which I thought was a dream. Then I realized that there were two musicians outside my room singing to wake me up. I then proposed the idea of forming this Manganiyar band,” Abel said.
Abel went to the Manganiyar’s hometown to create the band.
“I went to Rajasthan, auditioned almost 200 musicians and finally selected 50 to have our first show in 2006. Since then, if I ever listen to an old Manganiyar musician or a new one, I still weep because they haunt me with their singing.”
There were challenges, Abel said. “As an ‘intruder’ going to the Manganiyar not knowing fully what this kind of art is, in the beginning I had to learn so many things and try to understand the musicians and help them to understand me.”
Creating the performance and the harmony between the band members and the director took time.
“The musicians needed to know what this guy who is coming from outside wants? What is he going to make us do? Building the relationship took around a year and a half, and so it took us year and a half to build up the show.”
“I always say the Manganiyar selection was God’s gift to us because it was actually given to us and it runs on its own.”
Abel said that the Manganiyar show always sells out anywhere it goes due the experience it offers. “There has not been one show where we have not received a standing ovation.”
“We even performed in Hyde Park, Sydney, where nobody knew what to expect,” Abel said. “There were a good 10,000 people in the park, and when the show was over these 10,000 started clapping and even stayed for the second performance!”
Abel shared the band’s insights about their first visit to Saudi Arabia: “We were very curious to see how it was going to be received, but it turned out to be one of the best performances and the audience was thrilled. So, there’s always a lot of surprises and I tend to never expect. I just love to see what happens.”
Abel urged everyone to turn up and have their own experience of the Manganiyar. “People should all come and tell their friends to come, and live the show, because at the end of the day the show is not like any other music concert; it’s an experience of its own.”
Abel said that people’s responses to the show varied; some left in tears while others “jumped with joy.”
What matters to him, he said, is that people get the essence behind the show, which is love.