Saudi film festival a turning point for the industry

Updated 24 May 2012
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Saudi film festival a turning point for the industry

Participating films on the first Saudi film festival are being aired on Rotana TV movie channel. Viewers will eventually be able to vote for the best submissions. The organizing committee already received more than 100 films varying from feature, short, documentary, and animated films.
Meanwhile, Saudi filmmaker and director of the Saudi Film Festival Mamdouh Salem said the event is a turning point for the film industry in the Kingdom. He said the festival would provide moral and material support for young and talented Saudi people to enter the industry.
The festival has been running since May 10 and is presented by Star Academy star Abdulaziz Abdulrahman. The films are aired on a daily basis. The jury of the film festival is composed of well-known names including artist Abdul Ilah Sinani, film director Haifa Al-Mansour and artist Khalid Al-Harbi.
Rotana TV channel employed a number of journalists, drama stars, and other guests to assess the quality of films shown in the presence of the jury members. A documentary film named “Monopoly,” directed by Badr Al-Hamoud, was presented on the fourth day of the festival and was well received by the jury and guests. Another film, “Bassam” featured a young man with special needs. However, the jury concluded that the film was closer to an awareness film rather than a serious documentary.
Another film directed by Muhammad Al-Hamoud, “Al-Kabsah,” was comedic in nature. However, the jury said the film is poor in terms of idea, light and the way it was directed. A short narrated film called “Under Your Feet” was also presented but received enormous criticism in terms of camera work and other technical aspects. Films destined for kids were also presented such as “Basmah” and “Zahi.”
Salem defended the films shown on the grounds that the participating youths were not given appropriate film industry exposure and that the festival, through Rotana TV, would provide an opportunity to educate and support these young men.
For his part, artist Ali Al-Saba criticized jury members for their criticism of young Saudi filmmakers. Jury members, meanwhile, agreed that the short narrated film “Lish Baba” had a good idea but was poor in terms of camerawork and direction. A series of films were also shown and received varying assessments from the jury. The ninth day of the festival saw a number of films including the police film called “Danger” directed by Abdulmuhsin Al-Hababi, which received varying opinions from the jury. Haifa expressed admiration over the film but stressed filmmakers should try to reflect the local environment and social settings more. Jury members agreed that the short narrated film “My Single Dream” was poor and gave varying opinions on other films such as “The Land of Opportunity,” “The Day of Divorce,” “Exit” and “Picture.”
The 11th day witnessed a number of films including “The Diplomat” directed by Asim Al-Haj. Critic Mohammed Suhaimi refused to comment on the film but gave it a zero rating, describing it as a purely American film that had nothing to do with Saudi cinema.


US officials seize Egyptian mummy linens coming from Canada

Updated 26 June 2019
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US officials seize Egyptian mummy linens coming from Canada

PORT HURON, Michigan, US: US border officials say they have seized ancient Egyptian mummy linens during enforcement operations at the Blue Water Bridge that connects Michigan with the Canadian province of Ontario.
The US Customs and Border Protection announced Wednesday officers seized a package of five jars containing the artifacts found May 25 on a Canadian mail truck. The truck had been selected for examination at a nearby station in Marysville, Michigan.
Officials say they worked with a Washington-based archaeological organization and determined the artifacts are believed to be from the Ptolemaic Dynasty from 305-30 B.C. Their removal from Egypt appears to be a violation of federal law.
Authorities say they plan to return the artifacts in the near future and are working to determine who is criminally responsible.