Saudi filmmaker Ahd Kamel stars in BBC-Netflix series Collateral

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Ahd Kamel during filming. (Asharq Al-Awsat)
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Ahd Kamel. (Asharq Al-Awsat)
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Ahd Kamel during filming. (Asharq Al-Awsat)
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Ahd Kamel during filming. (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Updated 25 February 2018
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Saudi filmmaker Ahd Kamel stars in BBC-Netflix series Collateral

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabian filmmaker Ahd Kamel is most recognized for the movies she directed and was honored for in film festivals in the Arab world, such as “Al-Gondorji” and “Hurma.” Kamel is also an actress and writer. She excelled in her role as school principal in the movie “Wadjda,” which had international success and made it to the Oscars.
Kamel’s ambitions in filmmaking and acting know no limits. Once again, she broke out of the local context to take part in Collateral, an English series produced by Netflix, airing currently on BBC2.
In a report published in Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper, Kamel expressed her joy at being the first Saudi actress to take part in an English series starring the Oscar nominee Carey Mulligan. She also expressed her wishes to have cinemas in Saudi Arabia as “there are many talents in the Kingdom.”
When asked about her experience around the brightest British stars and the difference between acting in the Arab world and in Britain, Kamel said: “The difference is huge. The great thing about working in London is that they really love actors in this country; there is a lot of respect for the craft.”
Despite the fright of her first experience, Kamel admitted that TV series “are so much fun.” She said: “Living the character’s life details and being around these artists … That is such a huge thing for any actress.”
Kamel said she felt excited and nervous when she first met Collateral’s screenwriter David Hare. “When I first entered the room to meet David, I saw two seats with the name tags ‘Carey Mulligan’ and ‘Billy Piper.’ I felt so proud, as though my 10-year career was rewarding me. I will do my best and go all the way. It is such an amazing thing to work with someone like Carey. She is such a humble person.”
About her role in Collateral as Fatima, a Syrian refugee, Kamel said: “What makes the series so special is that when I auditioned for the role, I met with David Hare and S. J. Clarkson. The two artists insisted that I put a natural act and portray Fatima’s human side. This decision allowed me to study the character deeply. Hare and Clarkson helped me a lot and gave me a lot of advice.”
Kamel studied acting and directing in the US and her dream is to appear in a UK theater.
About the character she plays, and Arab characters in general, Kamel said: “It is funny how Arab characters are always portrayed as terrorists or refugees … I think this stereotype is now broken and we can now find a diversity of other characters. People are more interested in the characters’ human side. In the role I am playing, I am trying to be part of that change.”


King Salman extends Saudi National Day break to Monday

Updated 23 September 2018
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King Salman extends Saudi National Day break to Monday

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia's King Salman has ordered a one day extension to the National Day break.
The Kingdom's National Day, which is celebrated on Sept. 23, is a national holiday in Saudi Arabia. The additional day will mean that Monday is also an off day.