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.”


Startup of the Week: Creatively promoting anime culture in Saudi Arabia

Updated 19 February 2019
0

Startup of the Week: Creatively promoting anime culture in Saudi Arabia

  • 40 percent of Saudi youths are fans of Japanese anime, according to Ahmad Hawssah, founder and project manager of Kio Market

Most people in Saudi Arabia have watched Japanese anime on TV during their childhood. Japanese anime series dubbed in Arabic used to be widely aired on Arabic channels for children. Those series became an important part in the lives of young Saudis especially millennials.
With the increasing growth of the internet in Saudi Arabia in the 2000s, Saudis began to learn more about the anime culture, Japanese culture, and language. The created their own communities for anime fans, translated and spread the culture in society mainly relying on illegal streaming sites.
40 percent of Saudi youths are fans of Japanese anime, according to Ahmad Hawssah, founder and project manager of Kio Market.
An average Saudi individual has definitely watched dozens of Japanese anime during childhood. The most popular series include Detective Conan, One Piece, Dragon Ball Z, Naruto, Hunter X Hunter and Captain Tsubasa, etc.
Ahmad with his otaku friends, (a Japanese term for people with obsessive interests in anime) founded Koi Market because they were frustrated with the poor presentation of anime culture in Saudi Arabia.
Hawssah said that he and his friends attended an event that showcased anime culture in 2013. “That experience was very disappointing to us and we decided that we should do something about it,” he added.
Koi Market (@koi_market), which stands for “Kingdom of Imagination” was established in 2015. It is an anime online store based in Jeddah that sells anime-themed accessories and gifts online such as posters, mugs, T-shirts, stickers, notes and pins.
“There are many things that distinguish us from other Saudi businesses focusing on anime,” Hawssah said.
“Ninety percent of our products are made by Saudis in Saudi Arabia, we make everything by ourselves. We collaborate with local artists with real talent to draw for us,” he added.
“We found that what’s available in the local market by other competitors is very expensive and is not worth the price. Most of those businesses import goods from Japan and sell it at high prices, we wanted to fix that problem.”
“Our business is about investing in local talents, and offering products with very good quality and at reasonable prices, because we believe anime is for everyone; we do not want anyone to wish to own something that he or she likes but feel they cannot afford,” Hawssah said.
The other 10 percent of Koi market products are imported stuff from Japan such as the 3D anime models and cosplay outfits.
Hawssah with his team of five aspires to have a strong presence in the industry to sell original Japanese products, and to introduce new Arab characters to the market.
“There are so many Saudi and Arab animators and artists in the region, we want to support and market their work with our products,” he said.
Hawssah believes that the Middle East is very rich in history and culture that can be a real substance for great projects.
“We can produce amazing things by creating characters that highlight our Arab identity and culture; it will be interesting for the whole world.”
He said it is obvious that most people around the world have a good idea of American, Japanese, and Chinese cultures, but their assumptions about the Arab region and culture are flawed.
He wants to change the situation and believes the youth can play an effective role in this regard by using their creativity to highlight the true culture and identity of the region.
Koi Market products can be found on (https://salla.sa/koi_market), they ship to anywhere in Saudi Arabia. They can also be followed on Instagram (@anime_legion7).