Stars in their eyes: US film school seeks Saudi talent

Haifaa Al-Mansour
Updated 26 February 2018
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Stars in their eyes: US film school seeks Saudi talent

LONDON: The re-opening of cinemas in Saudi Arabia is drawing interest from international film schools seeking to recruit the next generation of filmmakers from the Kingdom.
The New York Film Academy is sending a team to Riyadh next month to promote its degree programs as the country opens cinemas for the first time in 35 years.
“The re-opening of movie theaters in Saudi Arabia is a huge breakthrough. It’s the pre-condition for the development of a local industry and I think that’s really important,” Professor Chris Berry of the department of film studies at King’s College London told Arab News.
“People in the Arab world are very aware of the decline of the Egyptian cinema. Throughout the 1940s and 1950s, and through the 1980s and 1990s, the Arab world was dominated by a Cairo-based industry.
“That industry went into decline for lots of reasons, including Hollywood’s efforts to get into that part of the world — so there has been a lack of local industry, distribution and local content.”
The Saudi government said on Dec. 11 that commercial cinemas would be allowed to operate in the Kingdom from as early as March 2018.
Within weeks, cinema operators including Vue International had announced plans to develop movie theaters across the country.
That move may spur interest among young Saudis to pursue film studies and emulate the success of directors such as Haifaa Al-Mansour, whose 2012 drama “Wadjda” earned a Best Foreign Film nomination at the 2014 BAFTA Awards in the UK.
“Her story about traveling overseas to get trained and somehow being able to make this film in Saudi Arabia is indicative of this determination to move things forward,” said Prof. Berry.
“So it’s interesting that the government in Saudi Arabia seems to be moving in a similar direction.
“There have also been exhibitions of video art and other kinds of audio visual material from Saudi Arabia that have been going around in various shows around the world, indicating a much stronger audio visual literacy, if you will — but also more of an ability to deploy audio visual media than maybe people would have expected.”
The New York Film Academy will visit Saudi Arabia to host information sessions from March 12 to 14.


Tabuk military exhibition: Jump in, buckle up and take off

An aircraft cockpit fitted out with PlayStation DR technology will allow visitors to share the experience. (SPA)
Updated 16 February 2019
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Tabuk military exhibition: Jump in, buckle up and take off

  • The Royal Saudi Air Force is offering the activity as part of the third Armed Forces Exhibition for Diversification of Local Manufacturing, inaugurated on Thursday

JEDDAH: It is one of the most demanding skills in modern combat.
Now visitors to a military exhibition in Tabuk will get the chance to command a fighter plane and take part in a simulated air battle.
The Royal Saudi Air Force is offering the activity as part of the third Armed Forces Exhibition for Diversification of Local Manufacturing, inaugurated on Thursday.
An aircraft cockpit fitted out with PlayStation DR technology will allow visitors to share the experience of fighter pilots taking off and joining in supersonic aerial combat.