UAE’s Ras Al-Khaimah Festival spotlights local jewelers, artists and filmmakers

The Ras Al-Khaimah Fine Arts Festival is set to run until March 31, 2020. Instagram
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Updated 12 February 2020

UAE’s Ras Al-Khaimah Festival spotlights local jewelers, artists and filmmakers

DUBAI: The UAE’s Ras Al-Khaimah Fine Arts Festival (RAKFAF) recently kicked off its eighth edition in the Al-Jazirah Al-Hamra Heritage Village — a recently restored pearling village dating back to the 17th century.

The festival brings with it a packed program that includes thought-provoking exhibitions, keynote speeches and more than 100 local and international artists hailing from 33 different countries showcasing works that range from photography to film and visual arts under this year’s theme of “Connected Communities.”

Among the participating artists is Emirati jewelry artist Azza Al-Qubaisi, who is known for her cutting-edge jewelry painstakingly handmade out of precious materials such as white gold, silver and diamonds in addition to sands, leather and palm branches.

Born in Abu Dhabi, Al-Qubaisi shared that her Emirati heritage influences a lot of her work. “Most of the work I’ve created focuses on my environment. I want to capture the stories of the past, traditions and heritage,” she said to Arab News. “I think for me it’s about discovering more about me and my identity,” she added.

Citing the UAE’s founder, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan, as one of her inspirations, the artist is also behind a slew of projects that aim to foster local talent and spotlight traditional crafts. In 2006, she founded the first NGO project to develop and promote local handicrafts through “Made in UAE” shops and Lamst Ibdaa, an Abu Dhabi-based initiative that nurtures the growth of aspiring design talent by offering them the support and resources they need.

Also participating at this year’s festival is Emirati filmmaker Hamad Abdullah Saghran. The filmmaker will be screening his short film “And What’s Next?” on the last Wednesday of February and March.

“Last year’s visit to RAKFAF encouraged me to prepare this film idea because I thought it would be a great opportunity to participate in a homegrown festival in my home Ras Al-Khaimah,” shared Saghran with Arab News.

The filmmaker who directed six short films between 2008 and 2016, will be the 2020 recipient of the Ras Al-Khaimah Fine Arts Festival Film Grant. “Filmmaking is all about telling stories in a visual way. It’s like painting, but with more interactive elements. So, I love to tell stories and this is why I continue to make films,” he states.

The Ras Al-Khaimah Fine Arts Festival is set to run until March 31, 2020. 

French-Tunisian star Sonia Ben Ammar joins the cast of ‘Scream 5’

Updated 20 September 2020

French-Tunisian star Sonia Ben Ammar joins the cast of ‘Scream 5’

DUBAI:Up-and-coming French-Tunisian singer, model and actor Sonia Ben Ammar has joined the cast of “Scream 5,”  it’s been revealed this week.

 According to Variety, production on Spyglass Media and Paramount Pictures’ upcoming relaunch of the  famous horror film franchise is set to begin later this month.

Filmmaking duo Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, who are behind “Ready or Not,” are directing the forthcoming film.

The first “Scream” film was released in 1996, well before Ben Ammar was even born.  A smash hit upon its debut, the movie helped to revive the horror genre, becoming the highest-grossing slasher movie of all-time. 

This will be Paris-born Ammar’s first high-profile Hollywood gig as an actress. She along with other young franchise newcomers will be joining returning cast members David Arquette, Courteney Cox and Neve Campbell, who are all reprising their iconic roles as Dewey Riley, Gale Weathers and Sidney Prescott.

Plot details for the new film, set to debut in theaters on Jan. 14, 2022, are still under wraps,  so it is not yet known what role the French-Arab star will be taking on.

“I’m SCREAMing of excitement!! (sic)” wrote the 21-year-old on Instagram, announcing the news to her 730,000 social media followers. “Incredibly grateful to be part of one of my favorite franchises. 2nd photo is my face when I got the call lol (sic),” she captioned a screenshot of Variety’s article announcing the news and a blurry snap of her clearly overjoyed. 

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.”

She’s also appeared in several music videos, including “Drivin’ Thru the Night” by DJ Petit Biscuit, as well as clips for her own singles, such as “Joyride” from her debut EP.

In addition to music, Ben Ammar is also a rising model, and has worked for many major brands such as Dolce & Gabbana, Miu Miu, Carolina Herrera and Chanel, among other prestigious fashion houses.