Effat film festival to feature leading media figures

Effat University’s Showreel program is the university’s celebration of movies made by its female students and graduates.
Updated 03 April 2019

Effat film festival to feature leading media figures

As part of its 20th anniversary celebrations, Effat University has launched its sixth annual Showreel program. With the slogan “The World Through Their Eyes,” Showreel is the university’s celebration of movies made by its female students and graduates from the Visual and Digital Production (VDP) Department, which is the first in the Kingdom to teach filmmaking.

The opening ceremony will be held on Thursday (April 4) under the patronage of Princess Lolowah Al-Faisal, vice president of the board of trustees and general supervisor of Effat University.

Dr. Haifa Jamal Al-Lail, president of Effat University, said: “We began working in this area six years ago and made efforts at the highest standards in order to become pioneers in teaching filmmaking in the Kingdom. We thank God that our efforts have been productive and that Saudi society has reacted positively to Saudi filmmaking.”

Osama Haykal, former Egyptian media minister and president of the Egyptian Media Production City, will be the keynote speaker at the event, which will be opened by actress Fatima Al-Banawi, an Effat graduate.

The guests of honor will be actress Maryam Al-Ghamdi from Saudi Arabia, film director Nawaf Al-Janahi from the UAE, Fatima Al-Husainan from the National Council for Culture, Arts and Literature in Kuwait, producer Sam Lahoud from Lebanon, Egyptian film critic Tarek Al-Shinnawi, Egyptian producer Mohamed Hefzi, and Abdulrahman Lahi, a Mauritanian producer and president of the council of the Cultural Resource Institution. 

The event will come at the conclusion of a week packed with public workshops presented by Effat University students at the Effat Library. 

The festival will begin with workshops by Richard Litvin, American producer and professor at New York University’s Tisch School of Arts, which has been in academic partnership with Effat University since 2016. 

The following workshops will be held: Screenwriting by Bahraini producer Bassam Al-Thawadi; Production, Financing and Distribution in Film Making by Sam Lahoud; and Cultural Management and Innovative Marketing by Abdulrahman Lahi.

A seminar entitled ‘The Art of Watching Films’ will be presented by Tarek Al-Shinnawi, in addition to a lecture on Kuwaiti cinema by Fatima Al-Husainan as well as a workshop on producing a creative vision by Nawaf Al-Janahi.

The festival will also include a seminar for his new book “From Makkah to Cannes” by Lebanese critic Ibrahim Al-Aris. The book deals with the movies of Saudi producer Abdullah Al-Mohaisen.

The Visual and Digital Production Department at Effat University was established in 2013 and became the first and only one in the Kingdom after being approved by the Ministry of Higher Education. The program is in collaboration with the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts, and was further developed with the support of the New York Arts and Film School. 

The visual and digital production department at Effat University includes film production, animation, screenwriting, and interactive media.


Whale shark hot spot in Red Sea offers new insights

An international team of KAUST researchers studied whale shark movement patterns near the Shib Habil reef (Arabic for ‘Rope Reef’), a known whale shark hotspot in the Red Sea on the Saudi Arabian coast.
Updated 18 November 2019

Whale shark hot spot in Red Sea offers new insights

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), whale sharks are considered endangered, which means the species has suffered a population decline of more than 50 percent in the past three generations. The whale shark is only two classifications from being extinct. Improvements and conservation efforts are in place, but there is still a long way to
go to protect these gentle underwater giants.
An international team of researchers, led by marine scientists at King Abdullah University for Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia and including researchers from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in the US, has performed an extensive study of whale shark movement and residency using a combination of three scientific techniques: Visual census, acoustic monitoring and satellite telemetry.
Their six-year study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, tracked long-term whale shark movement patterns near the Shib Habil reef (Arabic for “Rope Reef”), a known whale shark hotspot in the Red Sea. The team monitored a total of 84 different sharks over a six-year period, and their results shed light on whale shark behaviors,
which could help to inform conservation efforts.
“The study takes years of passive acoustic monitoring data and combines it with previously published visual census and satellite telemetry data from the same individual sharks. The combined dataset is used to characterize the aggregation’s seasonality, spatial distribution, and patterns of dispersal,” said Dr. Michael Berumen, director of the Red Sea Research Center and professor of marine science at KAUST.

HIGHLIGHT

An international team of researchers, led by marine scientists at King Abdullah University for Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia and including researchers from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in the US, has performed an extensive study of whale shark movement and residency.

They found the aggregation to be highly seasonal, with sharks being most abundant in April and May, and that many of the sharks returned to the hot spot regularly year after year. The study also shows roughly equal numbers of male and female sharks using the site, something that could be unique to Shib Habil. These characteristics indicate that this site may serve an important function for the wider Indian Ocean population of this rare and endangered species.
“Using the combined dataset, we can show somewhat conclusively that the aggregation meets all of the criteria of a shark nursery. This is particularly relevant given that Shib Habil is the only site in the Indian Ocean to regularly attract large numbers of juvenile females. Growing late-stage adolescents of both sexes into full adulthood is critical for sustaining a species. Management of critical habitats like Shib Habil and other aggregations will likely be vital for future whale shark conservation,” said KAUST graduate Dr. Jesse Cochran, lead author of the study.
There is a combination of factors contributing to the decrease of whale shark populations world-wide, including targeted fishing, bycatch losses due to fisheries, vessel strikes from boat traffic, marine debris, and pollution.