Saudi cinema’s rising stars in the frame

Updated 17 April 2018

Saudi cinema’s rising stars in the frame

  • 350 cinemas with more than 2,500 screens will be opened by 2030
  • “Creating Cinema, One Frame at a Time.”

JEDDAH: Effat University has hosted its fifth annual VDP Showreel, a film festival showcasing student productions and media projects.
The Showreel was organized by the university’s visual and digital production department on Monday under the patronage of Vice President of Board of Trustees and General Supervisor of Effat University, Princess Lolwah Al-Faisal.
The Showreel’s slogan was “Creating Cinema, One Frame at a Time.”
Previous Showreels have drawn praise from leading media figures.
“Your films show that you have one of the main tools for the fourth generation’s media wars. I am proud of what I have seen today and I am happy with these amazing young women with their great ability and bright future,” said Osama Haykal, former Egyptian media minister and president of Egyptian Media Production City.
The program included a VDP exhibition, a red carpet, a 90-minute movie screening made by the VDP Effat filmmakers at the Effat Film Theater, and a tribute to guests of honor.
Chairman of the visual and digital production department, Dr. Mohammed Ghazala, praised Princess Lolwah’s vision in founding the film school.
“No one was sure what would happen,” he told Arab News. “But it was a vision that is now a reality, and we have a film school, film students and film graduates.”
The guests of honor were consultant at the Royal Court and pioneering Saudi filmmaker Abdullah Al-Mohaisen; President of the Academy of Arts in Egypt, Dr. Ahlam Younes; Artistic Director of Dubai International Film Festival Masoud Amralla; Saudi producer Saleh Fawzan; Associate Director of the Tisch School in New York University, Patricia Pearson; and Saudi media producer Ahmed Alshugairi.
“We were impressed (by students’) courageousness in pursuing degrees in VDP at a time when there were no cinemas in the Kingdom,” Pearson said.
“VPD students and alumni, you are entering the industry at a very interesting and unique time, when your education and skills are going to be even more relevant and necessary than when you started the program only a few years ago,” she said.
Alshugairi was impressed with students’ work: “It’s a great start to see students who are passionate about this industry, whether animation, filmmaking, directing or scriptwriting — there is a nice variety.”


Saudi Arabia confirms no change in Israel travel rules

Updated 27 January 2020

Saudi Arabia confirms no change in Israel travel rules

  • Foreign minister says Israeli passport holders are still unable to visit the the Kingdom

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has confirmed that Israeli citizens are still unable to visit the Kingdom.

Foreign minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said the policy has not changed despite Israel saying on Sunday that its passport holders could now travel to the country for religious and business visits.

“Our policy is fixed,” Prince Faisal told CNN. “We do not have relations with the state of Israel and Israeli passport holders cannot visit the Kingdom at the current time.”

His comments come as Donald Trump prepares to unveil his Middle East peace plan on Tuesday. An agreement between Israel and the Palestinians would be key to improving relations with Arab countries, most of which have no diplomatic ties with Israel.

“When a peace agreement is reached between the Palestinians and the Israelis, I believe the issue of Israel’s involvement in the region will be on the table,” Prince Faisal added.

Israel’s interior minister said on Sunday that Israelis - if invited and permitted by Saudi authorities - would be allowed to travel there for religious reasons on pilgrimage or for up to nine days for business reasons such as investment or meetings.

Israelis, mostly Muslims going on pilgrimage, do visit the Kingdom, but usually with special permission or using foreign passports.

Saudi Arabia, along with most Arab countries have no official diplomatic relations with Israel, and citizens of those countries are not able to travel to Israel nor Israelis to those countries.

However, relations between Israel and Gulf states have improved in recent years, particularly over a shared stand against Iran and its aggressive policies in the region.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said last month that he welcomed Israel’s warming ties to Arab countries in the region.

In 2018, Netanyahu visited Oman and met the late Sultan Qaboos bin Said.

*With Reuters