Ithra hosts Q&A with Idris Elba for aspiring Saudi actors, filmmakers

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Updated 14 June 2020

Ithra hosts Q&A with Idris Elba for aspiring Saudi actors, filmmakers

  • Award-winning British actor promises to return to Saudi Arabia as soon as possible

RIYADH: Award-winning British actor Idris Elba shared his experiences and advice in a Q&A session with Saudi actors and filmmakers trying to make their way into the growing field.
The King Abdul Aziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) held the first of its digital speaker series, “Ithra Talks,” broadcast live on the center’s YouTube page.
Moderated by Saudi film director Ali Al-Sumayin, the hour-long talk saw Elba speak at length about his experience in the fields of acting and directing.
He also shared his advice for aspiring actors and directors and expressed his gratitude for the fanbase he had in the Kingdom.
“I was very surprised to understand that I have a following in Saudi. I’m very proud that I had this moment with you at this time. I think our world needs to talk to each other a bit more, and for you guys to invite me here at this point is special to me,” he said.
Elba shared his definition of success as it relates to acting.
“You can have a very successful performance in a very small film or show. You can have a successful career where everyone knows who you are, and that version of it is no different from the smaller version in terms … of how much you need to apply yourself as an actor. I felt like I was successful in the first play I ever did because everyone said it was great. To me that was success. That feeling of success is replicated at the highest level, but it is the same feeling,” he said.
He also shared tips on how to make it in the field, emphasizing the importance in believing in one’s capabilities and talent.
“Anything you do, you have to apply yourself. You have to do well. You have to do it with conviction …Disappear into another character, another psyche. If you do that time and time again, in different characters, in my opinion, that’s successful,” he said.

FASTFACT

The series will continue next Saturday, June 20, with an appearance by renowned American astrophysicist and author Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Elba also touched on his previous visit to Saudi Arabia in May 2018 as part of the Quality of Life program, when he announced his intention for his next movie to be “Saudi-made.”
“I didn’t have enough time to visit, but I found that Saudi was incredibly warm and welcoming to me, in a surprising way, if I’m honest. I wasn’t sure if
my work had ever resonated in Saudi. My trip was very quick and brief, but I found it very warm and welcoming,” he said.
“One day I will come to Saudi again and see everyone,” he added.

I was very surprised to understand that I have a following in Saudi. I’m very proud that I had this moment with you at this time.

Idris Elba

Elba ended the talk by thanking Ithra for hosting him and the audience for tuning in. He promised to return to Saudi Arabia as soon as possible.
The talk in its entirety can be found on Ithra’s YouTube channel, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wRbnaWDvIOs
Ithra Talks are designed to provoke insightful conversations and provide learning opportunities by connecting home-bound audiences with experts from around the world.
The series will continue next Saturday, June 20, with an appearance by renowned American astrophysicist and author Neil deGrasse Tyson.
The third session of the month, on June 27, will welcome leading international architect and Snøhetta Founding Partner Kjetil Trædal Thorsen, who will be joined by Head of the Ithra Advisory Group Fatmah Alrashid.


$800bn plan to turn Riyadh into cultural hub for the Middle East

Updated 23 min 48 sec ago

$800bn plan to turn Riyadh into cultural hub for the Middle East

  • Saudi capital’s planning chief unveils ambitious strategy ahead of G20 urban development summit

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia is launching a SR3 trillion ($800 billion) plan to double the size of Riyadh in the next decade and transform it into an economic, social and cultural hub for the region.

The ambitious strategy for the capital city was unveiled by Fahd Al-Rasheed, president of the Royal Commission for the City of Riyadh, ahead of key meetings of the U20, the arm of the G20 leaders’ summit that deals with urban development and strategy.

“Riyadh is already a very important economic engine for the Kingdom, and although it’s already very successful, the plan now, under Vision 2030, is to actually take that way further, to double the population to 15 million people,” he told Arab News.

“We’ve already launched 18 megaprojects in the city, worth over SR1 trillion, over $250 billion, to both improve livability and deliver much higher economic growth so we can create jobs and double the population in 10 years. It’s a significant plan and the whole city is working to make sure this happens.”

About $250 billion in investment is expected from the private sector, with the same amount generated by increased economic activity from population growth, finance and banking, cultural and desert tourism, and leisure events.

“We must also ensure the growth is managed properly, so there will be a focus on transport and logistics, including the Riyadh metro which will open at the beginning of next year. The aim is to increase productivity,” Al-Rasheed said.

The plan involves the creation of a “mega industrial zone” focusing on advanced technology such as renewables and automation, and biotechnology and aquaponics. Another key feature is sustainability, with energy conservation, the circular carbon economy with its emphasis on reducing emissions, and water management, all priorities.

“You will see 7 million trees planted in Riyadh in the next few years, and King Salman Park will be bigger than Hyde Park in London,” Al-Rasheed said.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 18 megaprojects have already been launched worth over $250 billion.
  • 7 million trees planted in Riyadh in the next few years.
  • King Salman Park will be bigger than Hyde Park in London.

The city also aims to be a Middle East artistic and cultural hub. An opera house is being considered, as well as public art shows with 1,000 works commissioned from around the world. “We have not seen anything like it since Renaissance Florence,” Al-Rasheed said.

The plans will be discussed this week during online meetings of the U20 linking Riyadh with Houston. The Texas oil capital is suffering a new spike in coronavirus cases and pandemics will be on the agenda. “We want to deal with this one, but also be ready for the next one,” Al-Rasheed said.