SAFAR Film Festival spotlights Arab cinema with return to London

SAFAR Film Festival spotlights Arab cinema with return to London
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Updated 01 June 2021

SAFAR Film Festival spotlights Arab cinema with return to London

SAFAR Film Festival spotlights Arab cinema with return to London
  • Event will feature 3 premiers, 20 films, talks, events
  • This year’s edition comes at critical time for UK cultural industry battered by pandemic

LONDON: A film festival dedicated to showcasing creative talents from the Arab world is set to return to London from July 1 for its sixth instalment.

The SAFAR Film Festival, launched by the Arab British Centre, is the only UK festival dedicated to showcasing films from the Arab world.

Featuring three premiers, 20 films and a host of talks and events, this year’s edition will be the biggest iteration yet, and will utilize a hybrid model of online and in-person events spread across London’s cinemas.

Also new to the festival, this year’s event will be presented in partnership with the Shubbak Festival of Contemporary Arab Culture, which showcases and supports the diversity of Arab artists’ creativity and innovation.

Curated by Lebanese film guru Rabih El-Khoury, this year’s festival will revolve around the theme of “Generational Encounters in Arab Cinema,” showcasing contemporary and classic films with emergent youth, familial disparities and societal tensions at their center. 

READ MORE

Five Arab movies are set to screen at the US’s Tribeca Film Festival this month among hundreds of international films. Click here to find out more.

“It is my absolute pleasure to be curating the sixth edition of the SAFAR Film Festival,” said El-Khoury. “We are raring to get back into cinemas with the festival’s largest program to date, and have a fantastic line-up of screenings exploring our theme of generational encounters.”

Theaters and other venues across the UK have suffered from a sustained period of restrictions to social gatherings due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The blow that Britain’s cultural sector has taken means this year’s SAFAR Film Festival is all the more important, said Amani Hassan, program director at the Arab British Centre.

“This year’s SAFAR Film Festival marks our first time partnering with our friends at the Shubbak Festival, which, after a difficult year for the cultural sector, offers both our organizations the opportunity to join forces and amplify the voices of Arab artists and filmmakers across the UK,” Hassan added.

SAFAR will open at London’s iconic Barbican cultural center with a premier of Egyptian Director Ayten Amin’s new film “Souad.”


What We Are Reading Today: The Mechanization of the Mind by Jean-Pierre Dupuy

What We Are Reading Today: The Mechanization of the Mind by Jean-Pierre Dupuy
Updated 18 October 2021

What We Are Reading Today: The Mechanization of the Mind by Jean-Pierre Dupuy

What We Are Reading Today: The Mechanization of the Mind by Jean-Pierre Dupuy

In March 1946, some of the greatest minds of the 20th century — among them John von Neumann, Norbert Wiener, Warren McCulloch, and Walter Pitts — gathered at the Beekman Hotel in New York City with the aim of constructing a science of mental behavior that would resolve at last the ancient philosophical problem of mind and matter. The legacy of their collaboration is known today as cognitive science.
Jean-Pierre Dupuy, one of the principal architects of cognitive science in France, reconstructs the early days of the field here in a provocative and engaging combination of philosophy, science, and historical detective work.
He shows us how the ambitious and innovative ideas developed in the wake of that New York meeting prefigured some of the most important developments of late-20th-century thought. Many scholars, however, shunned the ideas as crude and resented them for being overpromoted.
This rejection, Dupuy reveals, was a tragic mistake and a lost opportunity.


More Middle East personalities could be next Madame Tussauds Dubai wax models

More Middle East personalities could be next Madame Tussauds Dubai wax models
Updated 19 October 2021

More Middle East personalities could be next Madame Tussauds Dubai wax models

More Middle East personalities could be next Madame Tussauds Dubai wax models
  • The museum opened its 25th branch in Dubai last week

DUBAI: Additional Middle East personalities could join the list of famous Arab figures on display at Madame Tussauds Dubai.

“We listen to our customers; we listen to their feedback. So, we will always be updating the figures and enhancing the products,” Sanaz Kollsrud, general manager of Madame Tussauds Dubai, told Arab News.

The museum opened its 25th wax attraction in the city on Oct.14, making it the brand’s first branch in the Middle East. 

Maya Diab at Madame Tussauds Dubai. (AN_Photo)

The famous attraction has a total of 16 figures from the Middle East region. These include talents from the music industry — such as Lebanese singers Nancy Ajram and Maya Diab — and athletes that were made exclusively for the branch in Dubai.

“At the moment, Madame Tussauds has 25 wax attractions around the world, including the US, Europe, and Asia. I’m sure that the brand will look at opportunities to expand at a later stage,” Kollsrud said.

Dubai has been a perfect choice for the Middle East branch, as it is a global tourist destination. The general manager said the museum is also located near a major attraction in the city, Ain Dubai, and is surrounded by a variety of retail and dining options.

Donald and Melania Trump at Madame Tussauds Dubai. (AN_Photo)

When asked how the museum chooses the figures it wants to display, Kollsrud said there is a lot of research behind figure selection, including customer research.

“It took about 18 months to put together a figure list, during which we looked at the popularity of the celebrities regionally and globally, especially within the UAE,” she said.

To keep the figures clean and protected, a team of artists works daily to make sure the statues are in perfect shape, the general manager said.

Lewis Hamilton at Madame Tussauds Dubai. (AN_Photo)

She added that a team of 20 artists completes one wax figure within four to seven months. 

They even insert real hair strands, which can cost $190,605.

"There is a sitting involved with the talent, where they come and we do around 500 measurements, including head to toe," Kollsrud said.

The tourist destination consists of seven themed rooms and includes over 60 lifelike wax figures.

Chinese President Xi Jinping at Madame Tussauds Dubai. (AN_Photo)

 


Bill Gates’ daughter Jennifer weds Egyptian equestrian Nayel Nasser

Bill Gates’ daughter Jennifer weds Egyptian equestrian Nayel Nasser
Nassar proposed to Gates last January. Instagram
Updated 18 October 2021

Bill Gates’ daughter Jennifer weds Egyptian equestrian Nayel Nasser

Bill Gates’ daughter Jennifer weds Egyptian equestrian Nayel Nasser

DUBAI: Jennifer Gates, the daughter of Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, has married Egyptian equestrian Nayel Nasser, it has been reported.

The two tied the knot at her farm in North Salem, New York.

The 25-year-old wore a custom Vera Wang gown, as per reports. Media outlets also reported that the newlyweds held a private Muslim ceremony the night before Saturday’s 300-guest celebration.

Nassar, 29, proposed to Gates, who has a degree in human biology, in January during a ski trip.

In September, Gates posted a picture on her Instagram of the two in a sweet embrace.

Nayel commented on the post, “Can't wait for forever with you.”

She also shared another photo in May from what appears to be their engagement photo shoot, writing, “I can hardly wait to marry you!”

The two have been together since January 2017, bonding over their passion for equestrian sports, with Gates also being an equestrian athlete who competes frequently, but not on a professional level like Nassar. Both belong to the Paris Panthers, a riding club which competes in different forms of equestrian sporting events.

In an interview with equestrian-focused publication Sidelines Magazine, the 23-year-old Stanford graduate said: “Nayel always reminds me to believe in myself, which is so important. I’m so lucky to have him as a partner.”

He’s incredibly supportive, humble and loyal, and someone that I look forward to building a life with.”

Nassar was born to millionaire parents in Chicago in the US, but was raised in Kuwait.

His parents run an architecture and design firm which relocated to the US in 2009.

Nassar, who graduated from Stanford University with a degree in economics, began riding when he was five, and was jumping by the age of 10. He first qualified in 2013 for the FEI World Cup Finals, an annual international competition which includes the most skilled and talented show jumping horses and riders.


Mideast films win big at BFI London Film Festival 

Mideast films win big at BFI London Film Festival 
Updated 18 October 2021

Mideast films win big at BFI London Film Festival 

Mideast films win big at BFI London Film Festival 

DUBAI: The BFI London Film Festival unveiled its winners for the 2021 edition on Sunday, and two regional films made the cut —“Hit the Road” and “Costa Brava, Lebanon.”

“Hit the Road” won the Best Film award. 

Iranian director Panah Panahi’s drama, which showed at the Cannes Film Festival, is all about the journey. It follows a chaotic family-of-four that goes on a road trip in a borrowed car.

“Costa Brava, Lebanon” stars Saleh Bakri and Nadine Labaki. (Supplied)

“Costa Brava, Lebanon,” which stars Palestinian actor Saleh Bakri and Lebanese actress Nadine Labaki, won the Audience Award.  

Lebanese director Mounia Akl’s impassioned feature film debut is an eerie family drama set amid a raging climate crisis in near-future Lebanon.

Read on for the full list of awards:

“Hit the Road,” Panah Panahi, Official Competition (Best Film Award)

“Playground,” Laura Wandel, First Feature Competition (Sutherland Award)

“Becoming Cousteau,” Liz Garbus, Documentary Competition (Grierson Award)

“Only Expansion,” Duncan Speakman, Immersive Art and XR Competition

“Love, Dad,” Diana Cam Van Nguyen, Short Film Competition (Short Film Award)

“Costa Brava, Lebanon,” Mounia Akl, Audience Award


Actress Jamie Lee Curtis talks ‘Halloween Kills’ and the franchise’s legacy of horror

Actress Jamie Lee Curtis talks ‘Halloween Kills’ and the franchise’s legacy of horror
Updated 18 October 2021

Actress Jamie Lee Curtis talks ‘Halloween Kills’ and the franchise’s legacy of horror

Actress Jamie Lee Curtis talks ‘Halloween Kills’ and the franchise’s legacy of horror

LOS ANGELES: Iconic horror villain Michael Myers has returned once again in “Halloween Kills,” but this time the town of Haddonfield is fighting back, led by the protagonist of the original Halloween film played by actress Jamie Lee Curtis.

“It’s a much more brutal telling but it feels like it’s also synonymous with the times,” said Jamie Lee Curtis, returning once again as protagonist Laurie Strode. “The times are really violent right now and it’s just sort of a mirror image of what’s going on around the world.”

Curtis made her film debut in 1978’s “Halloween” when she was only 19 and was surprised to be cast as the shy, bookish main character. “I was perfect for the cheerleader and perfect for the smart alec because that’s who I’ve been my whole life. So, it really gave me an opportunity to be an actor,” shared Curtis.

But as she’s continued in her life and career, Curtis has found more in common with her star making character.

“She is a mother and a grandmother and David Gordon Green wrote a family into the 2018 movie,” Curtis said. “I am a devoted mother, not a grandmother yet but I am a devoted mother and so I do feel like giving Laurie a family was crucial.”

The “Halloween” franchise has gone in a lot of directions over the years, but the modern films are focusing on legacy, with Laure’s daughter Karen stepping up to deal with the threat of Michael Myers even as the town turns into an angry mob.

The film is directed by David Gordon Green. (YouTube)

“Being a voice of reason in that hospital where everyone is losing their mind and it’s frustrating. I think she is playing catch-up really quickly,” said Judy Greer, making her second appearance as Karen Strode, after the 2018 film.

“But she’s also become the warrior. The roles have been replaced,” Curtis added. “Karen and Allyson are the warriors now. Laurie is the one being taken care of.”