Saudi Film Festival opens its doors at Sharqiah Season

Saudi Film Festival opens its doors at Sharqiah Season
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Filmmakers and stars from the UAE film industry also attended the 5th Saudi Film Festival. (AN photo by Essam Al-Ghalib)
Saudi Film Festival opens its doors at Sharqiah Season
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Saudi actress Mariam Al-Ghamdi, at the 5th Saudi Film Festival in Dhahran. (AN photo by Essam Al-Ghalib)
Updated 22 March 2019

Saudi Film Festival opens its doors at Sharqiah Season

Saudi Film Festival opens its doors at Sharqiah Season
  • Maan Mansour: Any Saudi film recognized at a festival is a success for the country
  • Saudi actress Mariam Al-Ghamdi, famed for her appearances on shows such as “Selfie,” was also on the red carpet

DHAHRAN: The fifth Saudi Film Festival opened at the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) in Dhahran on Thursday evening, bringing with it a “who’s who” of Gulf cinema.

Organized by the Saudi Arabian Society for Culture and Arts, the six-day festival aims to discover and nurture talented filmmakers from across the region, helping them build connections within the industry. 

Among the movies tipped for success — having already picked up gongs at the Los Angeles Film Awards and the Indie Gathering International Film Festival — is Saudi entry “The Investor,” written and directed by Khalid Fahad and starring Aziz Gharbawi and Maan Mansour.

Mansour said: “This is the fourth film I have acted in, but the most important so far, as it has been nominated at the London Film Festival, and won awards at the Hollywood Short Film Festival and the Ohio Film Festival.

“Any Saudi film recognized at a festival is a success for the country. Anyone who has talent should pursue it and work at it and, InshaAllah, will succeed.”

Also in attendance was the filmmaker Mohammed Sindi, who told Arab News: “It is really good to be here. This is maybe the Kingdom’s only film festival, and generally these festivals are like golf courses for filmmakers. All the deals that happen, the connections and the networking happens here, so it is very important to have a platform like this where filmmakers can get to know each other.

“Most importantly, it is inspiring to see other people’s work, and it motivates you to keep working harder. It is great, we could not ask for more.”

Saudi actress Mariam Al-Ghamdi, famed for her appearances on shows such as “Selfie,” was also on the red carpet. 

She praised Ithra for organizing the festival and for supporting young filmmakers in Saudi Arabia, saying: “In the past Saudi filmmakers were on their own, but thanks to Ithra, young filmmakers now have the support they need. Back then, there were few Saudi entries, but they still won.”

She was particularly excited at the progress of women in Saudi cinema: “I am so proud to see so many participating. There were very few women in the industry when I started. I am truly proud of what they have achieved, and I hope to have played a part in bringing it about.”

The festival continues until March 25, with appearances scheduled for Cuba Gooding Jr. and Salman Khan, both of whom will speak about the challenges and successes of their careers, and what they endured to reach the top. Tickets are available from the Ithra website.


Arab coalition destroys Houthi drone targeting southern Saudi Arabia

Arab coalition destroys Houthi drone targeting southern Saudi Arabia
Updated 19 June 2021

Arab coalition destroys Houthi drone targeting southern Saudi Arabia

Arab coalition destroys Houthi drone targeting southern Saudi Arabia
  • Iran-backed Houthi militia have consistently launched attacks against the Kingdom

RIYADH: The Arab coalition said it had intercepted a Houthi drone targeting Saudi Arabia’s Khamis Mushait, Al Ekhbariya TV reported early Saturday.
The coalition, which is fighting to restore the legitimacy of the internationally recognized government in Yemen, said it will take all measures to protect civilians in accordance with international law.
The Iran-backed Houthi militia have consistently launched attacks against the Kingdom.


Second dose of coronavirus vaccine available from July in Saudi Arabia

Second dose of coronavirus vaccine available from July in Saudi Arabia
Testing hubs and treatment centers set up throughout the country have dealt with hundreds of thousands of people since the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak. (AP)
Updated 19 June 2021

Second dose of coronavirus vaccine available from July in Saudi Arabia

Second dose of coronavirus vaccine available from July in Saudi Arabia
  • Health Ministry reports 1,236 new cases, 1,050 recoveries, 15 deaths

JEDDAH: A second dose of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine will be available to everyone from July, Saudi TV channel Al-Ekhbariya reported on Friday.

The Ministry of Health announced on Thursday that a high COVID-19 immunization rate had been achieved among members of the Kingdom’s population aged 60 years and over.
Minister of Health Dr. Tawfiq Al-Rabiah said the country’s leadership was keen to provide highly effective vaccines to tackle the virus.
Dr. Abdullah Assiri, assistant deputy minister of preventive health, said that a delay in receiving a second dose could better stimulate immunity in some vaccines.
“There is no need to worry about delaying the second dose for some groups of society for the public good, and the follow-up of immunity levels after the first dose of COVID-19 vaccines shows that there is no ideal period between the two doses,” he added.
Meanwhile, all foreign travelers and those accompanying them to the Kingdom must complete registration for their COVID-19 immunization data before departure, according to the Saudi General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA).
GACA said the protocol would help ease entry procedures and reduce waiting periods. Registration will apply to all citizens from Gulf Cooperation Council countries, holders of new visas, residents, and their companions whether vaccinated or not.

INNUMBERS

471,959 Total cases

453,259 Recoveries

7,650 Deaths

The authority noted that the move was, “in line with efforts made by the Kingdom to limit the spread of COVID-19 while ensuring the safety of citizens and residents.”
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia on Friday reported 15 more COVID-19-related deaths, taking the overall toll to 7,650.
There were 1,236 new cases, meaning that 471,959 people in the country had now contracted the disease. A total of 11,050 cases remained active, of which 1,496 patients were in critical condition.
Of the newly recorded cases, 372 were in Makkah, 240 in Riyadh, 213 in the Eastern Province, and 65 in Madinah.
In addition, the ministry said 1,050 patients had recovered from the disease, increasing the total number of recoveries in the Kingdom to 453,259.
Saudi Arabia had so far conducted 20,799,293 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests, with 86,695 carried out in the past 24 hours.
Testing hubs and treatment centers set up throughout the country have dealt with hundreds of thousands of people since the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak.
Among them, Taakad (make sure) centers provide COVID-19 testing for those who show no or only mild symptoms or believe they have come into contact with an infected individual. Tetamman (rest assured) clinics offer treatment and advice to those with virus symptoms such as fever, loss of taste and smell, and breathing difficulties.
Appointments for both services can be made via the ministry’s Sehhaty app. Meanwhile, 16,387,147 people in the country had to date received a jab against COVID-19.


Nasana wooden dolls: Preserving Saudi heritage through artisanship

Nasana wooden dolls: Preserving Saudi heritage through artisanship
Saudi designer Malak Masallati chooses to preserve the traditional costumes of her country through a collection of wooden dolls called Nasana. (Supplied)
Updated 19 June 2021

Nasana wooden dolls: Preserving Saudi heritage through artisanship

Nasana wooden dolls: Preserving Saudi heritage through artisanship
  • The collection was launched in November 2020 and is currently on display at the Assila Hotel in Jeddah

JEDDAH: Every culture has a special way to tell the story of its people. Saudi designer Malak Masallati chooses to preserve the traditional costumes of her country through a collection of wooden dolls called Nasana (which translates to “our people”).
“Nasana is there to highlight the diverse individuals of Saudi Arabia, with their different backgrounds, ages, stories, traditions, and customs,” Masallati told Arab News, adding that it also reflects the pride Saudis feel for their Kingdom.
The collection was launched in November 2020 and is currently on display at the Assila Hotel in Jeddah. It has previously been exhibited at Shara Art Fair by the Saudi Art Council.

Saudi designer Malak Masallati chooses to preserve the traditional costumes of her country through a collection of wooden dolls called Nasana. (Supplied)

It consists of 15 dolls, each representing a different region of Saudi Arabia. Each character has a name inspired by traditional names from each region, including Saud, Al-Joharah, Nourah, Sitah, Abdulaziz, Itra, Hajjar, Zahra, Haylah, Obaid, Saeed, Amnah, Fatou, Fouad, and Shifa.
“I believe that Saudi Arabia has a vast heritage yet to be discovered (by many). The younger generation possesses the knowledge and creativity that is required to (promote that heritage),” she said, citing the Saudi fashion brand Sleysla, with whom she has previously worked, as a good example.

HIGHLIGHTS

• ‘Nasana’ is a collection of 15 hand-painted wooden dolls representing the traditional costumes of different regions of Saudi Arabia.

• The collection is currently on display in Jeddah and the dolls are also available to buy.

• Most of the collection’s costumes are based on information found in the book ‘Traditional Costumes of Saudi Arabia’ by The Mansoojat Foundation.

Masallati, who has more than 15 years of experience in interior design and residential renovation, is the founder of Dar Malak, a makers’ space in Jeddah dedicated to producing other unique Saudi products. The Nasana collection was itself produced there. The dolls are hand-painted by emerging artists from different Saudi communities working in Dar Malak.
“The collection went through a long design process, trying different techniques with various materials such as paint, gesso, as well as gold and silver leafing,” Masallati explained.
The dolls are based on research carried out online and in the field. “(We) captured stories and researched the facts,” Masallati said. “We traveled to most of these areas and incorporated details we found in Abdul Raouf Khalil Museum in Jeddah, where they showcase beautiful traditional costumes.”
She also mentioned that “Traditional Costumes of Saudi Arabia” — a book produced by the Mansoojat Foundation Collection, a charity dedicated to the preservation of ethnic textiles and designs — was of invaluable assistance to the project.
The Nasana dolls — some of which stand 59 centimeters tall — are also on sale for between SR9,000 and SR11,000 ($2,400-2,933).
Masallati said she and her team intend to expand the collection in the future, and to work with art college graduates. They will also produce a new collection this year, she said.


Saudi Arabia distributes food baskets, provides medical services to refugees

Saudi Arabia distributes food baskets, provides medical services to refugees
KSrelief distributes food baskets, provides medical services to refugees. (SPA)
Updated 19 June 2021

Saudi Arabia distributes food baskets, provides medical services to refugees

Saudi Arabia distributes food baskets, provides medical services to refugees
  • The general medicine clinics received 192 patients, pediatric clinics received 59 patients, the emergency department received 37 patients, and dental clinics received 22 patients

DHAKA: The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief) continued distributing food baskets to Rohingya refugees and needy families in Bangladesh, in collaboration with the Muslim World League.
KSrelief has recently distributed 1,000 food baskets in Gazipur City in Dhaka district, benefiting 5,000 people, the Saudi press Agency reported on Friday.
The center is aiming to distribute 80,000 food baskets to 500,000 Rohingya refugees from the poorest families in Bangladesh, in support of the quick response action plan to alleviate their suffering.
Meanwhile, KSrelief clinics offered their medical services to 436 patients in the Zaatari Syrian refugees’ camp in Jordan.
The general medicine clinics received 192 patients, pediatric clinics received 59 patients, the emergency department received 37 patients, and dental clinics received 22 patients.
In addition, the child rescue clinic rescued 10 patient children, while a total of 316 prescriptions were registered at the pharmacy.
KSrelief mobile clinics have treated 2,925 people in Al-Khoukha in the last week. The clinics responded to emergencies and provided services related to pediatrics, reproductivity, nutrition, education and awareness raising, plus surgeries and medical referrals.
In addition, 1,475 lab examinations have been made and 2,449 patients have received medicines, with 861 patients examined at the medical care units. Ten received blood transfusions and 11 patients visited obstetrics.


Driving the future of Saudi fashion toward sustainability, diversity, innovation

Driving the future of Saudi fashion toward sustainability, diversity, innovation
The Fashion Commission launched the Fashion Future Initiative in 2019 as the first event dedicated to fashion in Saudi Arabia. (Shutterstock)
Updated 19 June 2021

Driving the future of Saudi fashion toward sustainability, diversity, innovation

Driving the future of Saudi fashion toward sustainability, diversity, innovation
  • Industry leaders at studios in Riyadh, NY virtually meet to discuss ways to build right ecosystem

JEDDAH: Sustainability, diversity and inclusion, entrepreneurship, and innovative solutions in the global fashion industry were the highlights of the second Fashion Futures initiative by the Saudi Ministry of Culture.

The Culture Ministry’s Commission of Fashion hosted a digital event on Thursday through a hybrid model that gathered leaders from the global and regional fashion world at studios in Riyadh and New York, and virtually from around the world to discuss issues related to the future of the industry and ways to build the right ecosystem for it.
“Our mission is to enable the development of (the) thriving Saudi fashion industry, (make it) sustainable and inclusive, maximizing local talent, experiences and competencies. This will be realized through initiatives and our flagship event, Fashion Futures is part of this process,” Princess Noura bint Faisal Al-Saud, sector development director at the Fashion Commission, said in her opening speech.

Princess Reema Bandar Al-Saud, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the US, highlighted how KSA could be the leader of sustainable fashion. (Supplied)

The program “Fashion Futures: Moving Towards Sustainability, Diversity & Innovation” is the result of a collaboration with US-based Fashinnovation, a multimedia platform focused on sustainability innovation and entrepreneurship led by Jordana Guimaraes.
Chantal Line Carpentier, chief of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), said that the creative industries, such as the fashion business, were worth more than its $2.5 trillion globally. The market in fashion products could lead to significant employment gains in developing countries and for small and medium enterprises, and for many women and young entrepreneurs.
However large environmental footprints were created as the industry was responsible for 8 to 10 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions and 20 percent of industrial wastewater pollution worldwide.

Saudi entrepreneur and runway supermodel Bandar Hawsawi, US-based fashion designer Elle B. Mambetov and Saudi designer Yousef Akbar attend the meeting.

Carpentier discussed the potential of fashion for sustainable development and economic growth. She said the declaration of 2021 as the International Year of Creative Economy for Sustainable Development was an opportunity to raise awareness and promote cooperation and networking. It would encourage the sharing of best practices and experiences to enhance human resource capacity and promote an enabling environment to tackle challenges and take advantage of creative economy opportunities.
The conference’s content was divided into four parts; entrepreneurship and experimentation, diversity in culture and style, investment in new business models and innovation solutions, and sustainable development goals. Each part of the event had four different sessions, including keynote speeches and panel discussions.
Notable international speakers included Susan Rockefeller, the president and trustee of Oceana, a nonprofit marine conservation foundation; Rebecca Minkoff, a fashion designer and author of “Fearless: The New Rules for Unlocking Creativity, Courage, and Success;” Oskar Metsavaht, an environmental activist and founder of fashion brand Osklen; Helen Aboah, the CEO of luxury lifestyle brand Urban Zen; and Abrima Erwiah, co-founder of Studio One Eighty-Nine, a social enterprise that promotes and curates African fashion.

BACKGROUND

The program ‘Fashion Futures: Moving Towards Sustainability, Diversity & Innovation’ is the result of a collaboration with US-based Fashinnovation, a multimedia platform focused on sustainability innovation and entrepreneurship led by Jordana Guimaraes.

Morten Lehmann, chief sustainability officer at the Global Fashion Agenda, highlighted the need to embrace and encourage change in the global fashion industry to be more sustainable and overcome the challenges it faced environmentally, socially and from a human rights perspective.
“If we can change fashion, which is so complex and so fragmented, we can change everything,” Lehmann said. “We can inspire other industries to do the same, and we can inspire citizens also to be part of that movement.”

Yousef Akbar

The event featured leading Saudi fashion leaders such as designer and entrepreneur Arwa Al-Ammari, designer Youssef Akbar, entrepreneur and runway supermodel Bandar Hawsawi, and fashion designer and head of womenswear at Les Benjamins, Lamia Al-Otaishan Aydin.
In addition to addressing issues related to education, business models, fashion design, transparency and women’s empowerment, the diversity and inclusion discussion was a major highlight of almost every talk throughout the conference.
For Youssef Akbar, being a Saudi fashion designer was a unique selling point; however, starting his business and establishing his name was very challenging. Nonetheless, for players that belong to a minority in the global fashion industry such as Akbar, diversity and inclusivity happened out of instinct.
Akbar was critical of shallow presentations of diversity. “The entire company culture needs to reflect these values, not just campaigns, photoshoots and runways. Companies should start with diversity from within, not from the outside,” he said.

Bandar Hawsawi

The conference ended with an interview with Princess Reema Bandar Al-Saud, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the US, in which she highlighted how Saudi Arabia could be the leader of sustainable fashion in the coming years.
“Today, the work of our Fashion Commission, we are really proud to have Burak Cakmak as our CEO because he brings not only the background and education of fashion, but also the fashion sustainability,” she said. “And what he’s allowing us to do is enter our pathway through sustainability and leapfrogging essentially, where everybody else has started because we have no historic fashion industry.”
Concepts of sustainability, reusing and recycling were critical foundations of the commission’s mindset; however, it was also built based on Saudi culture and heritage, Princess Reema said.
The Fashion Commission launched the Fashion Future Initiative in 2019 as the first event dedicated to fashion in the Kingdom, and redesigned it in 2021 as a leading digital platform in the field of fashion accessible from all over the world at https://fashionfutures.com/en/home
A main goal of the initiative is to support the creation of a fashion ecosystem in the Kingdom, while also leading the way in achieving a more globally sustainable fashion sector.
The Fashion Commission is one of 11 Saudi cultural bodies established in February last year by the Ministry of Culture to oversee the development and success of cultural subsectors.