Saudi ambassador: KSA-US links are ‘a force for peace, for stability’

Prince Khaled bin Salman, Saudi ambassador to US.
Updated 23 March 2018

Saudi ambassador: KSA-US links are ‘a force for peace, for stability’

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s envoy to the US said Wednesday the longstanding partnership between the Kingdom and America has been a force for good and extolled the wisdom of leaders who had helped the relationship flourish.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

Prince Khaled bin Salman said the strong links between the Kingdom and the US was “a force of good, a force for peace, for stability, for international order, and economic prosperity.”
Speaking at the first annual Saudi-US partnership dinner, Prince Khaled likened the Kingdom to the US in being an example for others to follow. 
“Just as America is and always will be the land of the free and the home of the brave- the Kingdom has been the city upon a hill for the region; a leader in the Muslim and Arab world,” he said.
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is on a multi-city tour of the country, met US President Donald Trump on Tuesday at the White House where they hailed the historic link between the two nations as well as investment deals worth billions of dollars as Saudi Arabia embarks on Saudi Vision 2030, a massive set of programs aimed at reforming the country.
Addressing the audience, including the crown prince, at the gala dinner in Washington, Prince Khaled said: “The special relationship that exists between the United States and Saudi Arabia would not have flourished but for the courage and wisdom of great leaders.”
“Just as America’s public and private sectors have played a pivotal role in the Kingdom’s modernization after the discovery of oil almost eight decades ago, the US will have a major role in achieving our vision,” the envoy said.

Saudi films soar at Golden Falcon film awards

Updated 16 min 28 sec ago

Saudi films soar at Golden Falcon film awards

  • Winners of first Golden Falcon award will travel to the Netherlands to study filmmaking techniques
  • Film screenings have been revived in KSA as part of wide-ranging social and economic reforms encouraged by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman 

RIYADH: Saudi films have won awards at an international film festival organized by the Netherlands to coincide with the return of cinema to the Kingdom.

The first Golden Falcon Film Festival awards drew Saudi actors, filmmakers and cinema-lovers to the Netherlands embassy in Riyadh on Wednesday.

More than 30 shortlisted Saudi films were shown at the maiden festival on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Nine films were nominated, with three each in the best film, best script and best director categories. Overall winners were chosen by an international jury headed by Dutch filmmaker Hans Treffers.

Best movie award went to “Mazban.” The other two films nominated in the category were “Tongue” and “Building 20.”

“The Poetess,” “Matour” and “Atoor” were nominated in the best director category with “Atoor” bagging the award.

“Departures,” “Atoor” and “The Remaining” were nominated in the best script category with “Departures” winning the award.

Besides the Golden Falcon trophy, the winners will travel to the Netherlands to study filmmaking techniques.

Joost Reintjes, the Netherlands ambassador in Riyadh, told Arab News: “We are proud to organize the first Golden Falcon Film Festival here to promote filmmaking in the Kingdom and provide a platform for young Saudi filmmakers to show what they have to offer.”

Film screenings — banned in Saudi Arabia in the 1980s following religious changes in the Kingdom — have been revived as part of wide-ranging social and economic reforms encouraged by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. 

The return of cinema was heralded with a film screening on Wednesday at a newly built theater at the King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD) in Riyadh. 

Commenting on the lifting of the 35-year ban, Reintjes told Arab News: “That’s Vision 2030 — it is good sign to diversify and develop.

“Although the cinemas in the Kingdom have only been restarted now, Saudi filmmaking has already made a name for itself on the world stage.

“The Saudi film industry will grow very fast. The level of talent is high,” he said.

Mohammed Al-Qass, lead actor from “Departure,” said: “We have been working for this day for years. 

“Saudis with a thirst for cinema were traveling outside the country — now they can enjoy and share the experience in their homeland.” 

Mohammed Khawajah, a Saudi filmmaker and adviser for the film festival, told Arab News: “The idea for this festival came last year when the lifting of the cinema ban was being discussed.

“The Netherlands embassy had this idea about nine months ago; we sat together and planned the whole festival, which was carried out successfully, with hundreds of people enjoying Saudi films.

“We will improve with our next festival, which will have more fun and entertainment,” he said.