Cultural board celebrates Saudi Arabia’s talents at Cannes festival

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Photo showing Saudi Film Council wing at Cannes film festival, a participant offers Arabic coffee a traditional drink in the Kingdom. (AN Photo/Ammar Abd Rabbo)
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The Saudi Film Council is promoting the country as a filming destination. (AN Photo/Ammar Abd Rabbo)
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The pavilion is located in Village Pantiero #207 on the Croisette. (AN Photo/Ammar Abd Rabbo)
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A look inside the Saudi Film Council’s first pavilion at Cannes. (AN Photo/Ammar Abd Rabbo)
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Guests are welcomed the traditional way at the Saudi Film Council pavilion in Cannes. (AN Photo/Ammar Abd Rabbo)
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A reporter talks to Ali Alkalthami, director of the short film Wasati, which is one of nine films by Saudi directors screening in the Cannes Short Film Corner May 14-15. (AN Photo/Ammar Abd Rabbo)
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Faisal Baltyour, CEO of the Saudi Film Council, in Cannes. (AN Photo/Ammar Abd Rabbo)
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The Saudi pavilion is part of the Marché du Film, the festival’s industry market. (AN Photo/Ammar Abd Rabbo)
Updated 10 May 2018
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Cultural board celebrates Saudi Arabia’s talents at Cannes festival

  • Nine short films by young Saudi directors will screen as part of the Short Film Corner on May 14 and 15
  • The pavilion will host a media breakfast on Friday and an industry lunch on Sunday

CANNES: Gahwa took the place of café au lait on the Croisette yesterday as the Saudi Film Council began welcoming guests to its pavilion at the 71st Cannes Film Festival.

More than 40 delegates from Saudi Arabia, including the council’s CEO Faisal Baltyuor, are in France this week to showcase the Kingdom’s movie industry at the Marché du Film, the festival’s industry market. It is the first time the country has participated in Cannes, one of the world’s most prestigious festivals. 

“The Kingdom has looked forward to its debut presence here, celebrating and supporting the diversity of talent and opportunities within the Saudi film industry,” said Ahmad Al-Maziad, CEO of the General Culture Authority, which oversees the Saudi Film Council.

The delegation has organized a series of panels that will begin in the pavilion on Thursday and run until Tuesday. Topics range from “Saudi Arabia: The Next Frontier of Filming Locations” to “Groundbreaking Women in Film in Saudi Arabia and the MENA Region.”

Nine short films by young Saudi directors will screen as part of the Short Film Corner on May 14 and 15, including “Is Sumiyati Going to Hell?” by Meshal Aljaser, about a maid working for racist employers, and “Alkaif” by Seba Alluqmani, about the country’s coffee tradition. 

“With a rich tradition of storytelling, Saudi Arabia is embarking on the development of a sustainable and dynamic industry that supports and encourages our local talent,” Al-Maziad said.

On top of a daily majlis, the pavilion will host a media breakfast on Friday and an industry lunch on Sunday. 

The Saudi Film Council was launched in March by the General Culture Authority as part of Vision 2030’s goal to diversify the economy through industries such as tourism and culture. The invite-only festival runs until May 19.

The nine Saudi short films screening:

- Don’t Go Too Far by Maram Taibah

- The Scapegoat by Talha B

- Wasati by Ali Alkalthami

- Al-Qatt by Faisal Alotaibi

- Coexistence by Musab Alamri

- Film School Musical by Maan B and Talha B

- The Darkness Is a Color by Mutjaba Saeed

- Alkaif by Seba Alluqmani

- Is Sumiyati Going to Hell? by Meshal Aljaser


Turkish photographer Ara Guler, the Eye of Istanbul, dead at 90

Updated 18 October 2018
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Turkish photographer Ara Guler, the Eye of Istanbul, dead at 90

  • Ara Guler died of heart and respiratory failure late Wednesday
  • Guler, from Turkey’s minority Armenian community, was born in Istanbul in 1928

ISTANBUL: Ara Guler, an acclaimed Turkish journalist and photographer known as “the Eye of Istanbul” for his iconic black-and-white pictures of the city and its residents, has died. He was 90.
The Florence Nightingale Hospital in Istanbul said that Guler died of heart and respiratory failure late Wednesday.
Guler, from Turkey’s minority Armenian community, was born in Istanbul in 1928. In a career that spanned several decades, he worked for Magnum Photos, Paris Match and Germany’s Stern among other organizations, interviewing and photographing politicians and artists, including Winston Churchill, Dali and Picasso.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called Guler “one of the greatest names in the art of photography raised by Turkey.”
Erdogan said that “great artists continue to live through works they leave behind.”
His funeral was planned for Saturday.