Celebrating Palestinian heritage on the UAE's big screen

Celebrating Palestinian heritage on the UAE's big screen
‘Soufra’ (2017). Supplied
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Updated 28 December 2019

Celebrating Palestinian heritage on the UAE's big screen

Celebrating Palestinian heritage on the UAE's big screen
  • Reel Palestine is returning for its sixth edition next month
  • The festival will be screening independent Palestinian films in venues across three emirates

DUBAI: Reel Palestine, a UAE-based film event dedicated to Palestinian movies, is returning for its sixth edition next month. Set to kick off from Jan. 17-25, The weeklong festival will be screening independent Palestinian films at Alserkal Avenue in Dubai.

The pop-up festival, which debuted in 2015, is held in collaboration with independent arthouse theater Cinema Akil in an effort to present Palestinian culture and heritage in an authentic way through a handpicked selection of short films, features and documentaries.

In addition to film screenings, the sixth edition of the film fest will also bring together some of the inspiring film makers responsible for the featured works for Q&A sessions to discuss some of the pressing issues facing Palestinian people.

Among the films set to showcase during the event is the Elia Sulaiman-directed “It Must Be Heaven.” The satirical-comedy film tells the story of a Palestinian man, played by Sulaiman himself, who travels the world but faces the same problems as he would in his hometown. Notably, it won the Jury Special Mention award at the 2019 edition of the Cannes International Film Festival.

Also showing is the 2017 documentary entitled “Soufra.” The production, which was directed by filmmaker Thomas A. Morgan, follows the inspirational story of a generational refugee named Mariam, who, after spending her entire life in the Burl El-Barajneh refugee camp situated south of Beirut, sets out to change her fate by launching her own catering company, Soufra.

Meanwhile, in addition to discovering Palestinian films, guests will also be able to explore a carefully curated collection of unique crafts, souvenirs and items made and inspired by Palestinian traditions at the RP Souk. The week-long marketplace will be open during film screening hours at Cinema Akil in Dubai.

Among the vendors who will be selling their made-in-Palestine products are Rimal Books, an independent publishing house founded by Nora Shawwa and Ayadi by Widad, a Dubai-based platform that sells art, accessories and apparel that is all handmade by Palestinian women. 


Egyptian actress Amina Khalil announced as United Nations Population Fund honorary ambassador

Egyptian actress Amina Khalil announced as United Nations Population Fund honorary ambassador
Updated 16 June 2021

Egyptian actress Amina Khalil announced as United Nations Population Fund honorary ambassador

Egyptian actress Amina Khalil announced as United Nations Population Fund honorary ambassador

DUBAI: Egyptian actress Amina Khalil has been named an honorary goodwill ambassador by the United Nations Population Fund, the star announced on Wednesday. 

Khalil gave an acceptance speech at an an event that took place this week in Cairo, saying: “Now it is time to act for women and girls everywhere.

“Bold steps to improve the lives of women mean a better future for children and families,” she added.

In a lengthy Instagram post, which she shared alongside images from the event, Khalil wrote: “It is truly an honor to be a UNFPA Honorary Goodwill Ambassador. I hope I make my family proud. I hope I make my loved ones and friends proud. And I hope to make my country proud.”

The actress has been an active advocate of women and their health in Egypt.  

“I promise to do all I can on this journey to bring positive change to my country,” her post read. “I promise to wholeheartedly put all the effort I can to show women and girls, that yes we have a voice, yes we have rights, and yes we all stand united.” 

The announcement came after UNFPA’s open-air ceremony held on Monday. The event was attended by international co-operation minister Rania Al-Mashat, president of the National Council for Women Maya Morsy and more. 


US actress Tracee Ellis Ross sparkles in Ana Khouri earrings

US actress Tracee Ellis Ross sparkles in Ana Khouri earrings
Tracee Ellis Ross wearing Ana Khouri earrings. Instagram
Updated 16 June 2021

US actress Tracee Ellis Ross sparkles in Ana Khouri earrings

US actress Tracee Ellis Ross sparkles in Ana Khouri earrings

DUBAI: US actress Tracee Ellis Ross was spotted wearing a pair of gold earrings from Brazilian-Lebanese fine jewelry label Ana Khouri this week. 

Ross, who is known for her role in sitcom “Black-ish,” posted a photo on Instagram on Wednesday championing the Lebanese brand, beloved by A-listers Angelina Jolie, Jessica Alba and Charlize Theron. 

In the photo, the 48-year-old can be seen wearing a mustard-colored Valentino skirt with cut-out floral motifs, a sleeveless, sequined turtleneck, rose pointed-toe pumps and Ana Khouri’s thick gold hoops. 

It’s not her first time championing the part-Arab jeweler’s designs either. The actress and producer also donned a pair of Ana Khouri earrings to complement her black Schiaparelli gown at the 2020 NAACP Image Awards. 


London Fashion Week: Designer Dahlia Razzook hones in on dresses for Fall 2021

London Fashion Week: Designer Dahlia Razzook hones in on dresses for Fall 2021
Dahlia Razzook Fall 2021 ready-to-wear. Supplied
Updated 16 June 2021

London Fashion Week: Designer Dahlia Razzook hones in on dresses for Fall 2021

London Fashion Week: Designer Dahlia Razzook hones in on dresses for Fall 2021

DUBAI: Dahlia Razzook is an US-Lebanese luxury womenswear designer who was born and raised in Houston, Texas, before moving to London to pursue her studies in fashion design.

During her first year at the London College of Fashion, she was offered an internship at Alexander McQueen. She would go on to cut her teeth at prestigious labels such as Ralph & Russo and Marchesa.

After honing her skills at other design houses, she decided it was time to launch her own namesake contemporary ready-to-wear label shortly after obtaining  her Bachelor’s in “Fashion Design Technology: Surface Textiles.” Thus the label Dahlia Razzook was born.

Dahlia Razzook Fall 2021 ready-to-wear. Supplied

For her Fall 2021 collection, which she showcased digitally during London Fashion Week — which took place between June 12-14 — the designer decided to churn out a perfectly timed lineup of dresses as COVID-19 restrictions ease and we’re able to enjoy a night out again.

Featuring just five pieces, Razzook focuses on stylish, fashion-forward pieces that can transition from day to night with ease. 

The babydoll looks are relatively pared back, sans any kind of embellishment or intricate handiwork, save for a sleeveless black dress with a lace bodice. 

Dahlia Razzook Fall 2021 ready-to-wear. Supplied

The designer relied on comfortable, luxurious materials such as satin and silk as well as feminine colors like red and peach to uplift the offering.

In addition to these ready-to-wear pieces, the designer also offers custom haute couture pieces tailored specifically for her clients.

Razzook first made a name for herself with her Spring 2018 ready-to-wear collection, which was inspired by the Epic of Gilgamesh – a poem from ancient Mesopotamia.

Dahlia Razzook Fall 2021 ready-to-wear. Supplied

According to the designer, the collection was also a tribute to her Arab roots: “It’s also the same place where my ancestors are from,” she said.

The made-in-England collection featured trousers, tops, dresses, cocktail and evening dresses, scarves and accessories that were all either digitally printed and/or exquisitely hand-embroidered from silk, down to the lining.

She showcased the collection during New York Fashion Week, and received praise from prestigious fashion publications such as British Vogue.


Part-Tunisian star Sonia Ben Ammar poised to make her Hollywood debut sooner than you think

Part-Tunisian star Sonia Ben Ammar poised to make her Hollywood debut sooner than you think
Sonia Ben Ammar is almost ready to make her Hollywood debut in 'Scream 5.' File/ Getty Images
Updated 16 June 2021

Part-Tunisian star Sonia Ben Ammar poised to make her Hollywood debut sooner than you think

Part-Tunisian star Sonia Ben Ammar poised to make her Hollywood debut sooner than you think

DUBAI:  It appears that Sonia Ben Ammar is almost ready to make her Hollywood debut. “Scream 5,” starring the part-Tunisian actress, model and singer, has completely finished production, meaning that the hotly-anticipated sequel in the beloved horror franchise is one step closer to hitting the big screen.

This week, co-director Tyler Gillett took to Instagram to reveal that the film is “picture locked.” To the film uninitiated, this means that the edit of the movie is now set as it moves into other stages of post-production. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by tylergillett (@tylergillett)

The post included a photo of Fox’s famed Newman Scoring Stage, where the movie’s score was being recorded, prompting Ben Ammar to comment: “All the feeeels right now (sic),” alongside the pleading face emoji.

In a similar post, the film’s other co-director, Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, announced that the score is also complete, showing a closeup of sheet music.

“Picture is locked and we just finished scoring on the Newman Stage! Thank you so much to all of the amazing artists who have worked so tirelessly on this movie,” the filmmaker captioned the post.

The posts offer a rare glimpse behind the scenes of a project whose details have been kept under lock and key. In fact, the co-directors worked on multiple cuts of the film simultaneously to prevent leaks.

The plot details of the film have also been kept completely under wraps, so it is not yet known what role Ben Ammar will be taking on in the upcoming relaunch of the horror film franchise set to debut on Jan. 14, 2022. 

Paris-born Ben Ammar, along with other young franchise newcomers, joined returning cast members David Arquette, Courteney Cox and Neve Campbell, who are reprising their iconic roles as Dewey Riley, Gale Weathers and Sidney Prescott in the new film. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Sonia Ammar (@itsnotsonia)

It will be Ben Ammar’s first high-profile Hollywood gig as an actress — however, it’s not the multi-hyphenate model’s first foray into the film industry.

Ben Ammar, who is the daughter of Tunisian film director Tarek Ben Ammar and actress Beata, previously starred in Guillaume Canet’s French-language film “Jappeloup,” as well as the stage musical “1789: Les Amants de la Bastille.”


Morocco’s Casablanca to stage physical show at Paris Fashion Week 

Morocco’s Casablanca to stage physical show at Paris Fashion Week 
Updated 15 June 2021

Morocco’s Casablanca to stage physical show at Paris Fashion Week 

Morocco’s Casablanca to stage physical show at Paris Fashion Week 

DUBAI: Moroccan-helmed label Casablanca is among six other fashion houses set to present a physical show during Paris Men’s Fashion Week, the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode – which organizes Paris Fashion Weeks – announced on Monday.

After two seasons of digital presentations, the hybrid event will return with a selected number of brands showcasing their Spring 2022 collections in person and others presenting digitally from June 22-27.

Casablanca was founded by Charaf Tajer. The menswear, Paris-based label is known for its ultra-wearable clothing made out of luxe silks and cashmeres that is inspired by Tajer’s Moroccan roots. 

His debut runway during Paris Men’s Fashion Week in 2018 was a love letter to his parents who met while working side by side in a clothing atelier in the fashion district of Casablanca.

Besides Casablanca, Dior, Hermès, Bluemarable, LGN Louis-Gabriel Nouchi and Officine Générale are also listed to present physical shows. 

Digital presentations will feature runways for Louis Vuitton, Rick Owens, Dries Van Noten, Loewe, Dunhill, and more. 

Just last week, the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode announced that Lebanese designer Zuhair Murad will present his Autumn/ Winter 2021 couture collection in person at Paris Fashion Week, among seven other renowned labels including Dior, Azzaro Couture, Chanel, Giorgio Armani Privé, Balenciaga, Jean Paul Gaultier and Vaishali S. 

A limited number of guests will be allowed to attend the physical shows to help curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.