DiplomaticQuarter: Dutch Embassy to show 30 Saudi films at festival in Riyadh

Updated 19 April 2018
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DiplomaticQuarter: Dutch Embassy to show 30 Saudi films at festival in Riyadh

  • The films will be screened into three categories, best script, best director, and best movie
  • Three best films and their producers will be awarded the Golden Falcon trophy

RIYADH: The Dutch Embassy will show 30 Saudi films during the first Golden Falcon Film Festival at the embassy premises in the Diplomatic Quarter next Tuesday and Wednesday (April 17 and 18), during which it will host three-hour screenings on three different screens placed at separate sites on the premises.

The films will be screened into three categories, best script, best director, and best movie.

Speaking to Arab News on Wednesday, Joost Reintjes, the Dutch ambassador in Riyadh, said: “The film festival is an excellent opportunity to provide the young Saudi filmmakers a platform to show their work. “It gives young Saudis the possibility to grow their talent with local and international experts,” added the envoy.

“The film festival will be a great stimulus to promote the filmmaking industry in Saudi Arabia,” said the ambassador.

He said that of the films screened at the festival, three best ones in different categories and their producers will be awarded the Golden Falcon trophy and a trip to study film-making and related technology in the Netherlands, which is known for making high-quality films.

The Netherlands is known for being a home to creative industries and open to international cooperation by putting on high-standard film festivals in the country, including the international film festival in Rotterdam and the international documentary film festival in Amsterdam, the world’s largest documentary festival.

The visitors will attend seminars and workshops on filmmaking during their stay, the envoy said.

“The initiative to launch this film festival in Riyadh comes with a Dutch touch after the lifting of the ban on cinemas that lasted for 35 years in the Kingdom,” said Reintjes.

It will be in the King Abdullah Financial District in a building originally intended to be a symphony concert hall, and three more screens will be added by mid-summer.

Hans Treffers, head of the jury for the Golden Falcon Award, said: “I am pleasantly surprised by the overall high quality of the submissions.”

“The quality of films shortlisted to be screened at the festival are exceptional, they add to the popular Saudi film sector, which is widely appreciated and respected in international film festivals,” he added.

The Director of the Golden Falcon Film Festival Jeroen Gankema, who is the first secretary at the Netherlands embassy, said: “The Kingdom and the Netherlands can capitalize on opportunities in the film and entertainment industry.”

Films to be shown at the festival include “1991,” “Al Qatt,” “Bilal,” “Zeina’s Cake,” “Luba Colors,” and “Hudu Mountasaf El Layl.”


We have a story to share with the Saudi people, says new US official in Riyadh

Cultural and educational exchange programs between Saudi Arabia and the United States help build stronger ties. (AN photo)
Updated 19 September 2018
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We have a story to share with the Saudi people, says new US official in Riyadh

  • We have a story to tell and a story to share in Saudi Arabia with the Saudi people. We are pleased that so many Saudis want to study in the United States: US Public Affairs Counselor in KSA

RIYADH: Cultural and educational exchange programs between Saudi Arabia and the United States “help build stronger ties between the two countries and bring them closer together,” according to Brian Shott, the new US Public Affairs Counselor in Saudi Arabia.

Speaking at a reception to welcome him at the US embassy in Riyadh on September 18, he said: “One of the main things we do is we try to share aspects of the United States and of American culture, but we also learn from Saudis and Saudi culture.” 

In her opening speech, the embassy’s Deputy Chief of Mission Martina Strong also highlighted the enduring relationship between the two countries, saying: “Tonight is a celebration, a celebration of a friendship that has extended over many, many decades.”

Shott, who previously served in Morocco, Cairo and Baghdad, will be in Saudi Arabia for the next two years, during which he will promote educational and cultural exchanges.

“There are some real opportunities here and we have been fortunate enough to be able take advantage of partnerships with Saudi organizations and Saudi agencies, whether it is the General Authority for Culture or the Ministry of Education,” he said.

“We have a story to tell and a story to share in Saudi Arabia with the Saudi people. We are pleased that so many Saudis want to study in the United States.”

Meanwhile, the reception also served as a farewell to Robin Yeager, the cultural attache in Riyadh. She said that it had been a “very dynamic time to be in Saudi Arabia. It has been a pleasure and an honor to be here at a time when I get to know first-hand the future that Saudis are trying to build.”

The night that women were were given the right to drive, she said she went out and saw the “thrill on their faces.” To assist with empowerment and other progressive policies, embassy staff work on social issues and provide leadership training for women’s groups, she said.

“It is beautiful because they take something that an American expert talks to them about and they turn it into the Saudi way to approach it,” she added. “It’s not that we are changing things; it’s that we are giving them tools, so they can build what they want to build.”