Creative minds come together at Effat Film Festival in Jeddah

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A group of VDP students with the host and guest at the Effat Film Festival. (Photo/Supplied)
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Musicians perform during Effat Film Festival. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
Updated 06 April 2019
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Creative minds come together at Effat Film Festival in Jeddah

  • The event was divided in two parts: An exhibition with the posters for the 10 short movies, which were designed by the students, and the screenings of the movies

JEDDAH: Young filmmakers and actors have gathered to present their best work in the 6th Visual and Digital Production (VDP) Showreel at the Effat Film Festival. The four-day event brought together not only the passionate students from Effat University, but other people associated with the film industry inside and outside of Saudi Arabia.
“Especially in 2019, the whole field is blooming, with all these film festivals happening in Saudi Arabia. Our first commercial film was in the cinemas recently. All of this is very thrilling,” said actor and filmmaker Khalid Eslam. “I always say that the most crucial part of this development is that now is our chance to write our own stories. For too long have other people been telling our stories; it is finally time for us to tell what actually happens here.”
Eslam’s movie, called “Roll’em,” was screened in cinemas across the Kingdom. He said: “It felt like I was losing a part of my family, I felt sad for the character in the movie.”
The event was divided in two parts: An exhibition with the posters for the 10 short movies, which were designed by the students, and the screenings of the movies. The VDP program at Effat University, headed by Chair Dr. Mohammed Ghazala, is as pioneer of women’s education in the field of cinematic arts.
Joanna Al-Fattani, the art director of the 6th VDP Showreel and a member of the student council, said: “The country itself is evolving right now, and they are paying much more attention to women’s rights. Through this festival, students were given a chance to convey their message to the world.”
Many international personalities also visited the film festival, such as Abdul Rahman Lahy from Mauritania and Sam Lahoud from Egypt.
Fatima Al-Banawi from Saudi Arabia also participated in the festival.
A former student of the university, she told the festival visitors: “Coming to Effat felt like returning home.”
The 10 movies were presented to a full auditorium. Each one found a distinctive way putting forth the message its writers wanted to convey.


Forum aims to boost Saudi-Japan trade ties

Updated 18 June 2019
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Forum aims to boost Saudi-Japan trade ties

  • Japan is one of Saudi Arabia’s most important economic partners

TOKYO: More than 300 government, investment and industry leaders on Monday took part in a high-level gathering aimed at further boosting business opportunities between Saudi Arabia and Japan.

The Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) welcomed key figures from the public and private sectors to the Saudi-Japan Vision 2030 Business Forum, held in Tokyo.

Hosted in partnership with the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), the conference focused on the creation of investment opportunities in strategic sectors of the Kingdom. Delegates also discussed key reforms currently underway to enable easier market access for foreign companies.

Speaking at the event, Saudi Economy and Planning Minister Mohammed Al-Tuwaijri, said: “Today’s forum is a testimony to the success of the strategic direction set by the Saudi-Japanese Vision 2030 two years ago, which seeks to drive private-sector involvement, both by partnering with public-sector entities.”

SAGIA Gov. Ibrahim Al-Omar said: “At SAGIA, we have been working on creating a more attractive and favorable business environment in Saudi Arabia, which is making it easier for foreign companies to access opportunities in the Kingdom.”

Japan is one of Saudi Arabia’s most important economic partners. It is the Kingdom’s second-largest source of foreign capital and third-biggest trading partner, with total trade exceeding $39 billion.

JETRO president, Yasushi Akahoshi, said: “Saudi-Japan Vision 2030 has made great progress since it was first announced. Under this strategic initiative, the number of cooperative projects between our two countries has nearly doubled, from 31 to 61, and represents a diverse range of sectors and stakeholders.”

Since 2016, the Saudi government has delivered 45 percent of more than 500 planned reforms, including the introduction of 100 percent foreign ownership rights, enhancing legal infrastructure and offering greater protection for shareholders.

As a result, the Kingdom has climbed international competitiveness and ease-of-doing-business rankings, with foreign direct investment inflows increasing by 127 percent in 2018 and the number of new companies entering Saudi Arabia rising by 70 percent on a year-on-year basis in the first quarter of 2019.