‘Arabian Warrior,’ first American-Saudi movie, premieres Monday in the Middle East

Rising Egyptian star Amir El-Masry is fast becoming known for his acting chops. (@amirelmasry)
Updated 11 March 2018
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‘Arabian Warrior,’ first American-Saudi movie, premieres Monday in the Middle East

DUBAI: The Middle East premiere of the first joint Saudi-American movie production, “Arabian Warrior,” takes place Monday night at Roxy Cinemas in City Walk, Dubai.
The movie, directed and produced by Los Angeles-based Saudi brothers Aymen and Mohammad Khoja, tells the story of a gifted young Saudi soccer player, Anmar, who is studying architecture in the States but is offered the opportunity to pursue his dream of becoming a professional footballer. That sets him at odds with his conservative parents, who do not support that dream.
Rising Egyptian star Amir El-Masry plays Anmar. The London-based actor is rapidly establishing himself as one to watch in Hollywood and looks set to join the short list of Egyptian actors to break big internationally. The most famous of that select group, Omar Sharif, reportedly “discovered” El-Masry, and advised him to start his acting career in Egypt. El-Masry followed that advice and made his debut as Ramzy in the 2008 comedy “Ramadan Mabrouk Abul-Alamein Hamouda,” for which he won the Best Young Actor award at Egypt’s equivalent of the Oscars in 2009.
El-Masry’s first major international role arrived in 2014. He played Alireza in “Rosewater,” written and directed by Jon Stewart, the ex-host of the wildly popular satirical US TV program “The Daily Show.”
The 27-year-old actor went on to play Youssef in two episodes of the acclaimed 2016 mini-series “The Night Manager,” opposite three big-name British stars — Hugh Laurie, Tom Hiddleston and Olivia Colman.
Most recently, El-Masry starred in “Goats” at London’s Royal Court theater, a play set in Syria, which The Guardian described as “agonizingly pessimistic,” calling El-Masry’s returnee soldier Adnan “all-too-plausibly brutalized.”
“Arabian Warrior” is the Khoja Brothers’ debut feature film. They have previously released two shorts — “Waheed” and “Snow in Summer” — along with the YouTube series “Sargo.”


Finland tops global happiness index for second consecutive year

Updated 20 March 2019
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Finland tops global happiness index for second consecutive year

  • The World Happiness Report ranks 156 countries by how happy their citizens see themselves to be
  • Happiness has declined the most drastically in the past ten years in the 108th placed Venezuela

HELSINKI: Finland has topped an index of the happiest nations for the second consecutive year, with researchers saying the small Nordic country has succeeded in generating a happiness recipe not simply dependent on economic wealth.
The World Happiness Report, produced by the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, ranks 156 countries by how happy their citizens see themselves to be. It’s based on factors including economic wealth, life expectancy, social support and freedom to make life choices.
The index, published Wednesday, showed the other Nordic countries did well, with Denmark, Norway and Iceland taking the next spots.
The United States dropped from the 18th to 19th place.
Happiness has declined the most drastically in the past ten years in the 108th placed Venezuela, currently in political crisis.