‘Barakah Meets Barakah’ stars say cinema move will help bring Saudi stories to world

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Hisham Fageeh and Fatima Al-Banawi are well-known for their roles in successful Saudi comedy Barakah Meets Barakah. (Courtesy: El-Housh Productions)
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Hisham Fageeh and Fatima Al-Banawi. (AN Photo)
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Hisham Fageeh and Fatima Al-Banawi. (AN Photo)
Updated 23 February 2018

‘Barakah Meets Barakah’ stars say cinema move will help bring Saudi stories to world

LONDON: Saudi film stars Hisham Fageeh and Fatima Al-Banawi said the arrival of cinema in the Kingdom will help open up society and “share our narrative’’ with the world.
The pair — who are well-known for their roles in successful Saudi comedy “Barakah Meets Barakah,” an Oscar submission for 2016’s Best Foreign Language Film — were speaking during a gathering at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, hosted by the Saudi British Society.
Set in Jeddah, the production was the first award-winning romantic comedy to come out of the Kingdom and became Saudi Arabia’s first film on Netflix.
Al-Banawi, who recently co-starred in the OSN series “Bashar,” emphasized the scope of cinema to “break stereotypes’’ by telling the stories of real people.
“We’re such a private society,” she said. “It’s important to share our narratives.’’
Fageeh, an actor and producer-director who made a name as a stand-up comedian on YouTube, said people in Saudi Arabia were hungry to tell their own stories.
He said many are interested in “taking back our narrative’’ and not having Western institutions dictate the direction of Saudi Arabia’s evolving film landscape, which he described as a “gorilla industry” at this stage.
“In Saudi Arabia, if you want somebody who’s a lighting guy, you get an electrician. You want an actor, you go ask somebody who’s got liberal parents,” he said.
“The more sophisticated our art will be, the more sophisticated the viewer can become.”
Opening the discussion, Alistair Burt, the UK minister for international development and the Middle East, described Saudi Arabia’s recent move to lift the ban on cinemas as “another exciting development in the Kingdom.’’
Praising the success of “Barakah Meets Barakah,” and confessing a preference for romantic comedies including “Sleepless in Seattle” and “You’ve Got Mail,” the minister said that such films “tell us something very special about a society.’’
“Changing perceptions of the Islamic world is important,” he added. “Anything that helps build our relationships is very welcome.”

Gigi Hadid, Kendall Jenner reportedly set to walk in 2018 Victoria’s Secret show

Gigi at Milan Fashion Week last month. (AFP)
Updated 23 October 2018

Gigi Hadid, Kendall Jenner reportedly set to walk in 2018 Victoria’s Secret show

DUBAI: Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid are set to walk in the upcoming Victoria’s Secret show in New York, footwear designer Brian Atwood let slip on Instagram this week.

The designer, who is creating the shoes for the show, uploaded two Instagram posts that indicated Hadid and Jenner would be part of the 2018 show.

In one post, he posted an image of Hadid in the 2016 show and captioned the image: “Less than 1 month away!!!!Let’s do this @gigihadid @victoriassecret. Can’t wait to show you what we have done for the shoe!!!! (sic).”

In the other upload, Atwood posted a photo of Kendall Jenner and captioned it: “Can’t wait to see this beauty @kendalljenner strutting in my shoes for the @victoriassecret fashion show… less than a month away!!!!”

Models from around the world took to social media last month to announce that they were chosen to walk in the 2018 Victoria’s Secret show — one of the most coveted gigs on the fashion calendar. Read on for what they had to say on their Instagram accounts.

Shanina Shaik
“I’m overjoyed and so beyond grateful,” the model, who is of Pakistani-Lithuanian-Australian descent, wrote on Instagram about her upcoming stint with Victoria’s Secret.

Bella Hadid
The darling of the modelling world is set to walk the runway for Victoria’s Secret later this year. The US-Palestinian beauty previously starred in the brand’s 2017 show.

Barbara Palvin
The Hungarian model was named Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue’s 2016 “Rookie of the Year.” “Wooowww!! I’m speechless,” she posted on Instagram while announcing this week’s news.

Georgia Fowler
The New Zealand-born model, who walked the runway for Victoria’s Secret in 2016 and 2017, is set to take to the catwalk once again.

Winnie Harlow
The Canadian model took to Instagram to reveal that she “had a breakdown” before her Victoria’s Secret casting call, which she called “the most (nerve-wracking) casting of my life.” She celebrated by thanking her mother and her fans on social media.

Cindy Bruna
The 23-year-old French model will walk the Victoria’s Secret runway for the sixth time.