Film programs focus on Saudi talents

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A Saudi student during a training session in the US. (AN photo)
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Young Saudi men and women from different regions of the Kingdom are benefiting from educational programs in the country as well as in the US and France. (AN photos)
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Updated 04 August 2018

Film programs focus on Saudi talents

  • The seven programs are focused on filmmaking disciplines such as directing, screenwriting and sound production
  • Dammam will host the direction program presented by Professor James Savoca from USC University

The General Authority for Culture on Tuesday launched an intensive training course for Saudi filmmaking talents under the supervision of teachers from leading universities and institutions, including the French La Femis film school, the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts, and Film Independent.

About 130 young Saudi women and men from different regions of the Kingdom are benefiting from educational programs in three Saudi cities as well as in the US and France, where seven programs are held simultaneously.
The General Authority for Culture, represented by the Saudi Film Council, is organizing the programs to enable Saudi talent to promote the film industry in the Kingdom and achieve the goals of Vision 2030.
The seven programs are focused on filmmaking disciplines such as directing, screenwriting and sound production.
Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam hosted three screenwriting programs organized by the authority in collaboration with Film Independent.
These programs feature key concepts in screenwriting such as script development, event building up, and character building.
Dammam will host the direction program presented by Professor James Savoca from USC University.
In France, La Femis offers a six-week course to help Saudi filmmakers develop their storytelling skills at every stage of the film process.
In the US, two national talent groups are taking part in two workshops. The first is a directing program at the USC School of Cinematic Arts, while the second at Studio School in Los Angeles is part of an “Under the Production Line” program.
This program hones the skills of national talent in technical disciplines that the local production environment lacks.
The programs, which were held simultaneously on Thursday, are part of the intense training programs announced by the General Authority for Culture.


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

Updated 25 January 2020

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.”