Date with destiny: Saudi animation looks set to become international hit

Date with destiny: Saudi animation looks set to become international hit
The plot shows the different dramatic and romantic relationships between the characters, as dates have the ability to talk to humans in the movie. (Social media)
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Updated 22 February 2021

Date with destiny: Saudi animation looks set to become international hit

Date with destiny: Saudi animation looks set to become international hit
  • Emperor Sukari cares for all other dates and tries to protect them from an enemy that spreads diseases, promotes pesticides

JEDDAH: What began as a Saudi businessman’s project to provide information about the family business to his children has turned into a 3D animation series on dates.
Ibrahim Al-Qidah, owner of the Dates Basket company, said that the events of the three-part series, “Dates Empire,” revolve around the story of an imaginary emperor, Emperor Sukari. Sukari is a date who cares for all other dates and tries to protect them from an enemy that spreads diseases and promotes pesticides.
All dates in the world form alliances with the emperor to confront their mutual enemy. The plot shows the different dramatic and romantic relationships between the characters, as dates have the ability to talk to humans in the movie.
The promo of the movie has spread like wildfire, attracting international advertisement companies wanting to obtain the rights to use some of the characters in their promotion businesses. However, the copyright holders prefer local partners.
As well as owning the Dates Basket company, Al-Qidah is an economic and financial adviser who has lived part of his life in Denver, Colorado, US. He told Arab News that the movie targets children and adults alike, and is meant to introduce as much information about dates as possible.
“Despite the fact that I belong to Qassim, a Saudi agricultural region where palm trees are widely grown, I thought I had enough knowledge about dates,” he said. “However, after deep research, I was astonished to realize that my background in dates was really limited. There are many things about dates that my parents and even grandparents have not known about.”
Al-Qidah said that the idea of the series began with his desire to share helpful information about dates, a fruit that has a special place in the hearts and minds of many people.
Al-Qidah said that it all began with a contest that the National Center for Palms and Dates (NCPD) organized for the best advertisement for dates.
“We took part in the contest like many others, and we won first place for the best creative promotion ad for dates. We were awarded a cash prize and a shield. This encouraged us to go on promoting this agricultural product, of which Saudi Arabia annually produces more than 1,150,000 tons,” he said.
Explaining why he chose animation as a way to tell the story, Al-Qidah said that children love this type of movie.

HIGHLIGHT

The promo of the movie has spread like wildfire, attracting international advertisement companies wanting to obtain the rights to use some of the characters in their promotion businesses.

“The 3D technology can help in depicting real objects. Unlike the cartoon method, the 3D can, for instance, show what the prophetic saa, an Islamic weight measurement, looks like.”
Al-Qidah said that the palm tree was considered a cultural symbol in countries such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Tunisia and Iraq.
He said that there were more than 28,000,000 palm trees in Saudi Arabia with more than 400 different types of dates, and nearly 70 types were famous.
Each type represents a city: Ajwah is found in Madinah, Sukari is grown in Qassim, Khilas is known in Al-Ahsa, Al-Kharj farmers grow a type called Saq’e, while trees producing Sifri are planted in Bisha, he said.
These names were used for the 10 main characters in the animation, in addition to Salma, Hilwut Al-Jouf, Barni, and Al-Siri.
In the story, Al-Qidah presented different places around the world where palm trees are planted, and used voiceover performers from the same region or city where a particular type of date is grown.
“Iraqi and Egyptian voice-over performers, for instance, were hired to perform voice acting for the characters embodying the type of dates grown in their countries,” he said.
One of the characters in the movies is called Salma. Salma is the name of a type of date grown in Hail, he said. The fruit of this type of date is as large as a mango.
In the comedy plot of the movie, Salma enriches the viewers with information about this fruit. Through the narrative, the size, class, weight, nutritional values, and how they should be stored are presented by the character in less than a minute.

With headquarters in the Kingdom’s capital, Dates Basket, established in 2018, is a Saudi company with the first female administration in the domestic agricultural sector.

Amal Al-Dahmashi, executive director of the company, said that she was keen to ensure that her company followed the best international practices in producing fine-quality dates and date-based produce.

“We test the soil, the farms we import dates from to make sure they are free of harmful pesticides and chemicals to ensure that we produce high-quality dates to our local, regional, and global customers,” she told Arab News.

She said that the movie consists of three parts. Each episode is 15 minutes long and the series will to be shown in three languages. “The main character is Sukari, the emperor who wages wars against an enemy, and prince Galaxy is his naughty boy who refuses to marry Salma.”

The idea of the project had succeeded before the movie could be screened, Al-Dahmashi said.

“Winning a prize from a government entity, NCPD, proved that the idea and the movie were a success,” she said. “We have received many calls and messages of appreciation from inside and outside the Kingdom.”

She said that the film is a large national project that sheds light on an important element of the country’s tangible cultural heritage.

Saudi Arabia is the second leading date producer in the world, making up 17 percent of global production.


DiplomaticQuarter: Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan discuss strengthening ties

DiplomaticQuarter: Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan discuss strengthening ties
Updated 50 min 52 sec ago

DiplomaticQuarter: Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan discuss strengthening ties

DiplomaticQuarter: Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan discuss strengthening ties

RIYADH: Azerbaijan’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Shahin Abdullayev recently held a meeting with the joint Saudi-Azerbaijani Parliamentary Friendship Committee of the Shoura Council in Riyadh, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
The meeting was held under the co-chairmanship of Dr. Faiz Al-Shehri, member of the Shoura Council and head of the committee, and examined various ways to strengthen cooperation between the two countries in various fields, especially at the level of parliamentary relations between the Shoura Council and the Azerbaijani parliament.
Abdullayev wished the council success in its new session and expressed his appreciation for the Kingdom’s policies to enhance security, peace and stability in the Gulf region and beyond.
Al-Shehri ran through the Shoura Council’s organizational structure, and highlighted the importance of the diplomatic role played by parliamentary friendship committees.
Saudi Arabia and Azerbaijan celebrated the 25th anniversary of their diplomatic relations in February 2017.
The then-Azeri Ambassador in Riyadh Rasim Rzayev said at the time: “Azerbaijan and the Kingdom, two brotherly Muslim countries, have unique commonalities of a historical, religious and political nature.”
 


Eastern Province governor receives Netherlands ambassador to Saudi Arabia

Eastern Province governor receives Netherlands ambassador to Saudi Arabia
Updated 25 February 2021

Eastern Province governor receives Netherlands ambassador to Saudi Arabia

Eastern Province governor receives Netherlands ambassador to Saudi Arabia

Eastern Province Gov. Prince Saud bin Naif met Janet Alberda, ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Saudi Arabia, in Dammam on Wednesday.
During the meeting, they discussed bilateral relations between the two countries and issues of common interest, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
Alberda highlighted the development that the Eastern Province has been witnessing, and wished further progress and prosperity for the Kingdom.
The meeting was attended by the Saudi Honorary Consul to the Kingdom of the Netherlands Sulaiman Al-Suhaimi.
Also on Wednesday, Prince Saud received the regional director of Al Arabiya channel, Mohammed Al-Hekmi, accompanied by a number of employees.
Prince Saud praised the role of the media in highlighting the societal and development accomplishments of the Kingdom in general and the Eastern Province in particular.
The media played an influential role and was an important means of communication, he said.
Earlier, Prince Saud met the US consul general in Dhahran, Nicholle Manz-Baazaoui. Issues of common interest and ways to promote relationships between the two countries were discussed.
Prince Saud stressed the solid ties between the two countries and their common vision on various topics.
He also highlighted the two countries’ joint work toward achieving security and peace in the region and the world, as well as their economic and cultural cooperation.
 


Who’s Who: Tareq Al-Sadhan, CEO of Riyad Bank

Who’s Who: Tareq Al-Sadhan, CEO of Riyad Bank
Updated 25 February 2021

Who’s Who: Tareq Al-Sadhan, CEO of Riyad Bank

Who’s Who: Tareq Al-Sadhan, CEO of Riyad Bank

Tareq Al-Sadhan has been president and CEO of Riyad Bank since April 2019. Before that, he served as the bank’s senior executive vice president from January 2018 to March 2019.
Al-Sadhan worked with KPMG Saudi Arabia, where he spent 18 years rising through the ranks to become one of the youngest partners in the firm’s history.
He was CEO/managing partner and chairman of the advisory committee during his last five years at the company.
Before his current position, Al-Sadhan worked in the Kingdom’s public sector in roles such as adviser to the chairman in the Saudi Fund for Development, acting director general at the General Authority for Zakat and Tax, and deputy governor for supervision at the Saudi Central Bank.
Al-Sadhan holds a bachelor’s degree in administration science from King Saud University, majoring in accounting (1997), and a master’s degree in business management from Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussees, France (2007).
He gained a diploma in international business from the University of Edinburgh in 2006, and a diploma in leadership development and strategy from INSEAD in 2010.
Al-Sadhan is a member of the 2020 World Economic Forum’s Stewardship Board for the Middle East and North Africa, and a fellow of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Saudi Organization for Certified Public Accountants.
He has been an audit committee member at the Public Investment Fund since March 2019, and an advisory board member at Mastercard since March 2018.


Saudi Prince Khalid bin Salman discusses defense relations with UK

Saudi Prince Khalid bin Salman discusses defense relations with UK
Updated 25 February 2021

Saudi Prince Khalid bin Salman discusses defense relations with UK

Saudi Prince Khalid bin Salman discusses defense relations with UK
  • Prince Khalid bin Salman held a phone call with British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace

RIYADH: Saudi Deputy Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman held a phone call with British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace to discuss defense relations between both countries. 

“Had a good call with the United Kingdom Defense Secretary Ben Wallace to discuss defense relations between our two friendly countries, and our common interests in achieving regional and international stability,” Prince Khalid tweeted Wednesday.

In an interview last year with Al Arabiya, Wallace said the UK’s relations with Saudi Arabia are not restricted to selling weapons, but a strong defense partnership.


KSrelief launches medical campaign in Djibouti

KSrelief launches medical campaign in Djibouti
Updated 25 February 2021

KSrelief launches medical campaign in Djibouti

KSrelief launches medical campaign in Djibouti

DJIBOUTI: The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief) has launched a voluntary medical campaign for specialized surgeries in Djibouti.

The center’s medical team has to date performed 41 urinary tract operations on children in the east African country and provided the necessary treatment for 60 other cases.

The health initiative is part of Saudi Arabia’s relief and humanitarian efforts, through the center, to help crisis-hit countries and the suffering of people around the world.