Major plot twist for students at Saudi Arabia’s first cinema school

Saudi women study film making at a university in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, in this March 7, 2018 photo. (REUTERS)
Updated 13 March 2018
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Major plot twist for students at Saudi Arabia’s first cinema school

JEDDAH: Student Sama Kinsara adjusts her camera at Saudi Arabia’s only cinema school, her dream of seeing her work on the big screen coming into focus after the lifting of the country’s 35-year ban on cinema.
“Everything is about to change,” the first-year student of “visual and digital production” at Effat University in Jeddah told Reuters.
Her course is to be renamed “cinematic arts,” dropping the deceptive title employed originally to help stay under the radar of religious police and local communities opposed to the idea of men teaching women how to make movies.
Kinsara and her classmates on the four-year, women-only course have been able to film outside the university grounds for the first time.
“A girl carrying a camera and shooting in the streets is pushing boundaries,” said Mohamed Ghazala, head of Effat’s Visual and Digital Production Department, which began the course in 2013.
The changes follow the lifting of restrictions by reform-minded Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman over the last year.
Authorities hope that by opening 300 cinemas and building a film industry, more than $24 billion can be added to the economy and 30,000 jobs created.
Cinema is one of several new avenues for Saudi women, who can now attend soccer matches, take part in sport, and in a few months will be allowed to drive cars.
For film student Qurratulain Wahab, the chance to get off the university campus and film with her classmates is welcomed.
“Before, there was a problem if we had a camera in the malls; we were not allowed to enter the malls but things are getting smoother now when we have access,” she said
“When we have permissions it gets easier, it gets better and people are more accepting. They want to see what we’re doing.”


‘Our History is Misk’ revive 20 traditional professional figures in Jeddah

Cafes were an important part of Jeddah’s social life. (AN photo)
Updated 24 September 2018
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‘Our History is Misk’ revive 20 traditional professional figures in Jeddah

  • Cafes were an important part of Jeddah’s social life

JEDDAH: “Our History is Misk,” supported by the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz Foundation, is being organized at the historical site of Jeddah.
The event is bringing nostalgia through a number of scenes that embody the life the city witnessed decades ago.
It comes as one of the activities of the foundation’s initiatives center and is part of its role in encouraging creativity and promoting national values in society.
The activities include an open theater to portray the professions of Jeddah citizens in the past. A number of local actors brought 20 extinct professions back to life through their performances.
One of the actors sits in the center, playing the role of the mayor, who used to help the people and solved their differences. Also showcased were the “decorator,” who is similar to barbers nowadays, the distribution of fabrics used in houses at the time, the selling of water in alleys for nominal amounts of money, and the restoration and cleaning of shoes.
Cafes were an important part of Jeddah’s social life. In them, people with all kinds of professions met to drink tea and listen to a storyteller.