Saudi Film Festival rolls out the red carpet in Dhahran

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A full house at the opening ceremony of the fourth Saudi Film Festival
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Faraj Allah: Real-life actor Saad Khadr plays the reel-life renowned role of “Faraj Allah.”
Updated 08 April 2017

Saudi Film Festival rolls out the red carpet in Dhahran

The fourth edition of the Saudi Film Festival kicked off in Dhahran this week and is set to screen 59 Saudi films as part of an initiative to recognize and nurture talented filmmakers in the country.
The event is organized by the Saudi Arabian Society for Culture and Arts, in association with the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture and the Ministry of Culture and Information.
The Saudi Arabian Society for Culture and Arts is responsible for the preservation of Saudi culture and organized this event in order to develop the local art and culture scene, elevate the quality of Saudi movies and encourage young creative talents to exchange ideas.
The festival is part of a year-round plan that gives filmmakers the opportunity to learn directly from experienced local and international practitioners in the field and provides them with the infrastructure to showcase their films and interact with the public.
The four-day film festival will see filmmakers, producers, actors, film enthusiasts and members of the public come together to celebrate the development of the Saudi filmmaking industry. In total, 59 Saudi films will be screened during the festival and four prizes – for best narrative, best documentary, best scriptwriting and best student film — will be awarded at the end of the festival.
The members of the jury were introduced during the opening ceremony.
Those on the judging panel in the best narrative or feature film competition include artist Ahmed Mater, director Mohamed Rashid Bu Ali and artist Abdelmajeed AlKanani.
In the documentary category, director Awad Alhamzani, writer Hessam Alhilwa and director Nujoom Al Ghanem will judge the entrants.
The scriptwriting awardee will be decided by author Mohammed Alshaier, writer Hassan Hadad and writer Manal Alawibeel.
Meanwhile, the student film competition will be judged by director Hind Alfahhad, artist Khaled Ameen and director Fatima Musharbak.
Members of the festival’s advisory committee were also introduced and include entrepreneur Qusoura Khatib, executive director of “Three Seas” Alaa Youssef, film director Badr Al Hamoud and photographer Awad Al Hamzani.
Renowned Saudi director Saad Khadr — who is famous for playing the role of “Faraj Allah” — was presented with a Golden Palm award during the ceremony, celebrating the exemplary role-model that he represents for young filmmakers.
The films run from 10 to 30 minutes, with a new category of films introduced this year— the 50-minute movies. Films will be screened each day at 4 p.m. and will continue up until 10 pm. The festival includes workshops, seminars and networking opportunities, as well as a school-friendly morning program which is held in partnership with the Sharjah Children’s Film Festival.
Some of the workshops set to be conducted this year include “Fundamentals of 3-D Graphic Design” led by director Raed Al Sheikh and “Developing the Structure of the Story and the Development of Personality” by Alexander Woodman, a member of the faculty at the University of Prince Mohammed bin Fahd.
All films will be screened in their original language — either Arabic or English — with subtitles for Arabic movies. The films will be screened in Ithra Tent 1 and Outdoor Screening Area 3 in Ithra, Dhahran.

Saudi Arabia’s AlUla provides a perfect ‘Corner of the Earth’ for Jamiroquai to shine

Updated 14 sec ago

Saudi Arabia’s AlUla provides a perfect ‘Corner of the Earth’ for Jamiroquai to shine

  • “I was transported into a completely different world”: Jay Kay

ALULA: British band Jamiroquai thrilled a delighted audience at Maraya Concert Hall in Saudi Arabia on Friday night during a show packed with hits.

In a first for a venue more used to hosting opera and classical concerts, the British funk/acid jazz outfit had fans dancing along to the music.

The show, at the distinctive, mirror-covered concert hall in historic AlUla, was part of the second Winter at Tantora festival. It opened with “Shake It On,” followed by the hit singles “Little L,” “Alright,” and “Space Cowboy.” By this time the crowd was well and truly warmed up, and “Use the Force” got them on their feet.

“The song seemed to resonate with everyone” Jay Kay told Arab News in an exclusive interview after the show.

During the gig, Kay dedicated the 2002 song “Corner of the Earth” to AlUla, which he described as a “magical and wonderful place, which is absolutely stunning.” The opportunity to perform there was “an honor and privilege” he added. He also thanked “Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman for his vision, and Prince Badr for making this happen and the great hospitality.”

After a further selection of singles and album tracks, the show ended on a high with a quartet of hits — “Cosmic Girl,” “Virtual Insanity,” “Canned Heat” and “Lovefoolosophy.”

Kay praised the Maraya Concert Hall as “a brilliant place to play.” He admitted that initially he was a little worried when he saw it because he was under the impression it would be an outdoor venue. However, any concerns he had were gone by the time the first sound check was done.

“I was transported into a completely different world; the acoustics were unbelievable, like being in a German concert hall,” he said. “It is obviously very well thought out and that’s what makes it so good. The sound was fabulous — I never looked at my sound guy once.”

Jamiroquai’s music videos often feature Kay in super cars, of which he owns many, and he revealed that he would love to shoot such a promo in AlUla.

“In reality, I’m desperate to get in one of the dune buggies, and would kill to have a (Ariel) Nomad and have a go in one in AlUla, where it’s supposed to be driven, for a day or five and dune bash, which is such a rare thing for us in England,” he said.

The singer also said he wants to bring his family to AlUla, which has become a hub for culture and creativity in Saudi Arabia.

“I would like to come out with my family and my youngest, who is called Talula, so hopefully we can have Talula come to AlUla, which would be wonderful,” said Kay.

He added that he was looking forward to exploring the area on Saturday, before leaving the country, but added: “I’m sure you can never have enough time to see everything there is to see.”