Saudi, Arab winners of $500k film production grants revealed

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Updated 26 September 2020

Saudi, Arab winners of $500k film production grants revealed

  • The award for an Arab project was given to Hammad’s “Bullets and Bread,” produced by Kholoud Saad and Mohamed Hefzy

JEDDAH: Saudi film festival judges have revealed the winners of two $500,000 production grants.

“Sharshaf,” directed by Saudi filmmaker Hind Al-Fahhad, and Egyptian producer Mohammed Hammad’s “Bullets and Bread” scooped the Red Sea International Film Festival awards.

They were among 12 movie projects selected to take part in the first edition of the Red Sea Lodge script and feature development lab.

A jury composed of Russian producer and actress Nadia Turincev, German director, writer, and production manager Meinolf Zurhorst, and Egyptian filmmaker Yousry Nasrallah picked the winners.

The Red Sea Lodge grant for a Saudi project went to Al-Fahhad’s “Sharshaf,” which was written by Saudi film director Hana Alomair and produced by Talal Ayel.

Jury members said they had been enamored by the “touching and strong female character, and the bonds in a relationship that can bring us together and tear us apart,” adding that it had been intriguingly set in “a period (1978) of Saudi Arabia’s history the world knows so little about, unveiled to us by Hind Al-Fahhad.”

The romantic drama tells the story of Haila, the daughter of a conservative imam who marries Mosa’ed, the son of a rich and well-known fabric-store owner. The young couple spend their honeymoon in Cairo and the film focuses on Haila as she discovers the magic of cinema only to see it challenged by extremism.

The award for an Arab project was given to Hammad’s “Bullets and Bread,” produced by Kholoud Saad and Mohamed Hefzy.

The movie follows Youssef, a conscript serving his compulsory military service on the Egyptian eastern desert border, who dreams of becoming a writer. When by chance he meets Awad, a dangerous bandit from a nomadic desert tribe looking to find a better life for his family in Cairo, an unlikely friendship develops between them.

The jury enjoyed the dynamic at the film’s heart which it described as, “soldier and gypsy; Laurel and Hardy; friendship and adversity. We can’t wait to be part of this road trip, this cinematic voyage.”

Special mention was made to the Saudi project “Four Acts of Disruption” directed by Hussam Al-Hulwah and produced by Mohammed Al-Hamoud, which will receive $25,000 for further development.

The story is set in the 1930s as the newly formed Kingdom of Saudi Arabia adjusts to the arrival of American oil prospectors. “The film has huge potential and we hope that Hussam Al-Hulwah and Mohammed Al-Hamoud can continue to develop the project and bring it to fruition,” the judges said.

The six Saudi projects selected for the inaugural Red Sea Lodge were “Basma” written by Fatima Al-Banawi and directed by Ali Al-Sumayin, “Practicing Polygamy” directed by Malak Qouta, “When the Star Goes Down” directed by Mohammed Salman, “Hejj to Disney” directed by Maha Al-Saati, “Sharshaf,” and “Four Acts of Disruption.”

The six Arab projects were “Scheherazade Goes Silent” directed by Amira Diab, “Inshallah It’s A Boy” directed by Amjad Al-Rasheed, “The Arabic Interpreter” directed by Ali Kareem, “The Basement Notes” directed by Hadi Ghandour, “I Am Arze” directed by Mira Shaib, and “Bullets and Bread.”

In collaboration with the TorinoFilmLab, the Red Sea Lodge hand-picked 12 emerging filmmakers, pairing each with an experienced mentor to support and enhance their work throughout the creative process.

The program was aimed at honing the visions of directors and producers, along with scriptwriters. Every stage of filmmaking was explored, from script consultations to working with experts in the fields of directing, cinematography, and sound, through to post-production as well as a commercial focus on financing, sales, and audience engagement.

Meanwhile, director Al-Saati’s “Hejj to Disney” was selected for the TIFF Filmmaker Lab talent development scheme, and for similar upcoming programs at the Malmo Arab Film Festival and El-Gouna Film Festival. Saudi director Al-Saati will also participate in the Hollywood Foreign Press Association residency program in 2021.

 

 


Houthis, Iran condemned over new drone attacks on KSA

Updated 26 October 2020

Houthis, Iran condemned over new drone attacks on KSA

  • One civilian injured by shrapnel after Saudi-led coalition intercepts four flying bombs launched from Yemen

JEDDAH: Houthi militias and their Iranian backers were condemned on Sunday after the Saudi-led coalition intercepted four explosive-laden drones in two attacks launched from Yemen targeting the south of the Kingdom.

Three of the drones were destroyed early on Saturday and a fourth on Sunday. Shrapnel that fell in Sarat Abidah governorate injured a civilian, and damaged five homes and three vehicles, said civil defense spokesman Capt. Mohammed Abdu Al-Sayed.

Iran was increasing its support to the Houthis to undermine efforts for peace, Dr. Hamdan Al-Shehri, the political analyst and international relations scholar, told Arab News.

“They want the Houthis to sabotage all they can in Saudi Arabia, regardless of whether their target is a populated area, oil facilities or even a sacred place. This adds tension to the area, and that is what Iran is working on.”

Iranians want the Houthis to sabotage all they can in Saudi Arabia, regardless of whether their target is a populated area, oil facilities or even a sacred place. This adds tension to the area, and that is what Iran is working on.

Dr. Hamdan Al-Shehri, political analyst and international relations scholar

Al-Shehri said the situation in Yemen would remain the same unless the legitimate government was returned to Yemen, Security Council Resolution 2216 was put into practice and the Houthi militia were removed.

“Without these things, the Yemen crisis will not end and the whole region will remain in tension.”

The Houthis did not differentiate between military sites and civilian locations, he said.

“Their objective is to damage all places they can reach in Saudi Arabia, and their latest attempts to attack a populated area are nothing new.

“They have also targeted airports and some Aramco oil facilities. If the Aramco attack had not been contained, the damage would have affected the whole Eastern region. They have also attempted to target Makkah, where pilgrims and worshippers were performing their rituals.

“They don’t care. If you look back at what the Revolutionary Guards did at the Grand Mosque, you will realize it is not strange that the Houthis are trying to destroy everything in Saudi Arabia. The strange thing is the silence of the world toward what is happening.”