Saudi arts institute to highlight national identity, support talent

Saudi Arabia's Royal Institute for Traditional Arts aims to highlight national identity and encourage and train talent. (Screengrab from TRITA video)
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Saudi Arabia's Royal Institute for Traditional Arts aims to highlight national identity and encourage and train talent. (Screengrab from TRITA video)
Saudi Arabia's Royal Institute for Traditional Arts aims to highlight national identity and encourage and train talent. (Screengrab from TRITA video)
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Saudi Arabia's Royal Institute for Traditional Arts aims to highlight national identity and encourage and train talent. (Screengrab from TRITA video)
Saudi Arabia's Royal Institute for Traditional Arts aims to highlight national identity and encourage and train talent. (Screengrab from TRITA video)
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Saudi Arabia's Royal Institute for Traditional Arts aims to highlight national identity and encourage and train talent. (Screengrab from TRITA video)
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Updated 01 October 2021

Saudi arts institute to highlight national identity, support talent

Saudi arts institute to highlight national identity, support talent

RIYADH: A new institute will enrich traditional arts in the Kingdom, according to an official, the Saudi Press Agency reported. 

Khalid Al-Baker, who is the chief delivery support officer and acting chief marketing and communication officer at the Quality of Life Program, said the Royal Institute for Traditional Arts would highlight national identity and encourage and train talent.

“The institute is part of the Quality of Life Program initiatives and will act as a connection between our prosperous present and glorious past,” he said. “The institute will provide courses in the museum sector, traditional performing arts, and studies of the traditional visual arts.”

He said the support of Culture Minister Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan would revive and enhance national identity and work on heritage in an institutional way.

The institute’s inauguration ceremony was held recently in the presence of Deputy Minister of Culture Hamed Fayez, institute director Suzan Al-Yahya, and the Quality of Life Program CEO Ahmed bin Hassan Badhris.


Saudis are natural-born storytellers, says Saudi Film Commission CEO

Saudi Film Commission CEO Abdullah Al-Eyaf held several discussions with international industry professionals. (Supplied)
Saudi Film Commission CEO Abdullah Al-Eyaf held several discussions with international industry professionals. (Supplied)
Updated 22 May 2022

Saudis are natural-born storytellers, says Saudi Film Commission CEO

Saudi Film Commission CEO Abdullah Al-Eyaf held several discussions with international industry professionals. (Supplied)
  • Abdullah Al-Eyaf discusses the importance of Saudi talent during the 75th Cannes Film Festival

CANNES: Abdullah Al-Eyaf, the CEO of the Saudi Film Commission, aims to drive the Saudi film industry by fostering an environment for young Saudi filmmakers to develop their passions and talents.

During a panel discussion hosted on Sunday in the March du Film pavilion in Cannes, Al-Eyaf expressed his vision for Saudi youth filmmakers and the important role they play in the industry.

“We in the commission strongly believe in the filmmakers in Saudi, actually they are the reason behind all that we do,” Al-Eyaf said.

The Kingdom’s film industry is bursting with talent and passion from Saudi filmmakers, writers, and artisans. What is needed now is the strong support from an entity to facilitate that growth. This is where the Saudi Film Commission plans to come into play.

The Saudi Film Commission, under the Ministry of Culture, has conducted numerous outreach and education programs to help Saudi filmmakers in the industry through masterclasses, workshops and training.

According to the CEO, Saudis play a pivotal role in the industry’s growth on a global and local level.

“These young filmmakers started before the commission was established and they will continue with or without the film commission that’s why we think the industry will not be built in Saudi without these filmmakers,” Al-Eyaf said.

HIGHLIGHT

With many blockbusters films showing an interest in shooting in the Kingdom, doors are opening for Saudi production teams, special effects artists, actors and many more talents to contribute to the industry.

Therefore the commission is striving to establish a wider creative opportunity for Saudi talent through partnerships and representation in global film festivals such as the Cannes festival.

Through the organizations and initiatives of the Saudi Film Commission, the Saudi presence during the Cannes Film Festival has only grown stronger since the 74th Cannes film festival held in 2021.

It is known that Saudi Arabia has a wealth of locations through its 13 diverse provinces. During the initial days of the festival, this is what attracted many producers and filmmakers to the Saudi pavilion to learn more.

With many blockbusters films showing an interest in shooting in the Kingdom, doors are opening for Saudi production teams, special effects artists, actors and many more talents to contribute to the industry.

Al-Eyaf said that Saudis are natural-born storytellers; what is needed now is to support and empower them throughout the film sector.

“We really appreciate what they are doing and our only role is to support them and to have Saudi Arabia as a friendly environment for filmmakers to create their films and tell their stories to the world and to Saudi,” Al-Eyaf said.

The Saudi Film Commission aims to expand and strengthen the Saudi film industry on a local and global level through partnerships, investment and educational empowerment.

During the 75th Cannes Film Festival, the Saudi pavilion welcomed some of the biggest global names in the film industry — producers, directors and actors — to partner on Saudi film projects.

The commission’s role isn’t only to support Saudi talents but it’s also to foster a community where directors explore collaborative initiatives from filming in Saudi to creating films with some of the many Saudi talents in the sector.

In January the commission launched the third phase of the “Film Makers” program that took students through sets of comprehensive training workshops that were spread throughout the Kingdom.

“We have already contacted hundreds (of Saudi filmmakers) via either training programs, grants or the fund that we launched a couple of years ago,” the CEO said.

The commission has developed an incentive package for local and international filmmakers to establish the Kingdom as a global hub for film, creative production and industry talent.


Cannes filmmakers urge France to face colonial past in Algeria, Africa

Cannes filmmakers urge France to face colonial past in Algeria, Africa
Updated 22 May 2022

Cannes filmmakers urge France to face colonial past in Algeria, Africa

Cannes filmmakers urge France to face colonial past in Algeria, Africa

CANNES: Film-makers are holding up a mirror to France over its colonial past at the Cannes festival, helped by star power and a growing French readiness to face up to injustices committed notably in Africa.

The colonization of Algeria and the horrors of the Algerian war of independence (1954-1962) deeply scarred both nations and continues to mar relations, but was hardly discussed in France in public for decades.

Although President Emmanuel Macron has acknowledged crimes committed — including a massacre by police of Algerians in Paris in 1961 which he called “inexcusable” — his government has ruled out “presenting an apology” for France’s colonial past.

French director Philippe Faucon was born in Algeria. File/AFP

“I think you could say that I’m obsessed by the Algerian war,” French director Philippe Faucon told AFP at the Cannes festival.

His film “Les Harkis” tells the story of Algerians who fought alongside French troops against the independence movement, only to be left behind for the most part when France pulled out of Algeria, and facing the vengeance of the victorious Algerians.

The movie places the responsibility for this “criminal betrayal” and the subsequent massacres of Harkis firmly at the doorstep of then-president Charles de Gaulle.

“Les Harkis” tells the story of Algerians who fought alongside French troops against the independence movement. Supplied

“It is necessary to recall this story and look the truth in the eyes,” said Algerian-born Faucon, although historical “complexities” make easy judgments impossible.

Fellow director Mathieu Vadepied also warned against facile conclusions about France’s forced recruitment of Senegalese soldiers for its World War I war effort, the subject of his film “Tirailleurs” (“Father and Soldier”).

French superstar Omar Sy — who has won a huge international following with his roles in “Untouchable” and the Netflix smash hit “Lupin” — plays the lead in the story about a father and a son who are both forced into the trenches.

“My idea is to put things into question,” Vadepied told AFP. “Question France’s historical relationship with its former colonies, what do we have to say about that today, do we even know what we did?”

France’s forced recruitment of Senegalese soldiers for its World War I war effort is the subject of the film “Tirailleurs”. Supplied

While rejecting any “frontally political” approach, he said that “if we deny the facts we can never move on, we need to tell these stories, everybody needs to know them.”

The idea was however “not to guilt-trip people, but to recognize the painful history and free ourselves.”

Sy, the France-born son of west African immigrants, told the audience at the film’s opening night: “We have the same story, but we don’t have the same memories.”

The second Cannes week will see the screening of “Nos Frangins” (“Our Brothers”) by French director Rachid Bouchareb who in 2006 sparked a nationwide debate with “Indigenes” (“Days of Glory”), a film about the contribution of North African soldiers to the French Free Forces during World War II.

 A still from ‘Nos Frangins’. Supplied

In his latest movie, he tells the story of Malik Oussekine, a student killed in 1986 and whose name resonates deeply among French minorities.

On the night of December 6, 1986, two police officers beat to death the 22-year-old French-Algerian on the sidelines of a student protest in Paris.

He had not been involved in the demonstration, and his killing became a turning point — triggering weeks of unrest and leading to the unprecedented conviction of the officers involved.

It took 35 years for the death of Malik Oussekine to be recounted on-screen.


City Walk zone a big hit among Jeddah Season visitors

Anime Village zone of City Walk is hosting more than 300 events, including concerts featuring Japanese bands. (Supplied)
Anime Village zone of City Walk is hosting more than 300 events, including concerts featuring Japanese bands. (Supplied)
Updated 22 May 2022

City Walk zone a big hit among Jeddah Season visitors

Anime Village zone of City Walk is hosting more than 300 events, including concerts featuring Japanese bands. (Supplied)
  • The Fashion Village carries international and local brands, as well as a live graffiti station where artists can paint on the wall together

JEDDAH: Jeddah Season visitors are excited for the City Walk zone, which is open with nine villages to suit all tastes and age groups: The Entry Village, Food Hall, Fashion Village, Splash, Horror Village, Jeddah Live, Adventure, Waterfall and the Anime Village.

The Entry Village and most of the City Walk are steampunk-themed.

The Food Hall offers international fare from Los Angeles-based Top Round and Italy-themed Prince of Venice Pasta and Pizza to Hong Kong cake shop Butter.

The Fashion Village carries international and local brands, as well as a live graffiti station where artists can paint on the wall together. It also features a DJ station with famous DJs playing music on a top-quality sound system for an unforgettable experience.

World-renowned artist Sara Shakeel’s work “Majlistic,” exhibiting historical Saudi culture and traditions, will also be featured at the Fashion Village.

Saudi visitor Abdullah Al-Thumani, 22, said that the zone was a completely new experience for the people of Jeddah.

“It’s a very special experience. I attended Riyadh Season, and this is really matching up to what I experienced in Riyadh,” he told Arab News.

“I liked the Fashion Village the most because they feature items you can’t find in regular stores,” he added.

Russian performer Uliana Averina said: “I came with a group from Russia, and we perform here at this festival in Jeddah. We are happy to be here and to participate in such a great event because everything here is really well done and gorgeous

“I see how happy people are here, and we like to interact with them,” she added.

The performer said she enjoyed the Saudi audience’s warm interaction.

“People here are very open, and they approach you first to interact with you. Even the kids come up to us and want to give us a high five. It’s so nice,” she said.

Splash is an aquatic village that has everything from water guns and a water drum show to rides and river rafting.

The Horror Village is for lovers of all things spooky. Brave visitors can enjoy abandoned houses, escape rooms, interactive ghost-themed exhibitions and more.

Jeddah Live takes visitors into the world of performances, with international and Arab theater shows such as “Bikhosoos Ba’ad Al-Nas” (“About Some People”), starring some of the Kingdom’s biggest television names, such as Nasser Al-Qassabi.

It also features a karaoke cube, the car and motorcycle show “Hot Wheels,” and Slime Planet for kids to enjoy.

Adventure is for adrenaline junkies, featuring a 150-meter-high hot air balloon ride, bungee jumping, a Ferris wheel and more, while the Anime Village is hosting more than 300 events, including concerts featuring Japanese bands.

The annual Jeddah Season festival aims to highlight the city’s rich heritage and culture through a total of 2,800 activities in nine zones over the event period.

Held under the slogan “Our Lovely Days,” the second Jeddah Season follows on from the success of Riyadh Season, which recorded more than 15 million visits over five months.

The festival season offers 70 interactive experiences, more than 60 recreational activities, seven Arab and two international plays, marine events, a circus, four international exhibitions and a host of other services for families.

 


Part-Palestinian model Bella Hadid to drop NFTs

Part-Palestinian model Bella Hadid to drop NFTs
Updated 21 May 2022

Part-Palestinian model Bella Hadid to drop NFTs

Part-Palestinian model Bella Hadid to drop NFTs

DUBAI: Palestinian-Dutch supermodel Bella Hadid is entering the metaverse world.

The catwalk star announced this week on Instagram that she will be selling non-fungible tokens called CY-B3LLA that “serve as a passport to this new world.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Bella (@bellahadid)

An NFT is a digital asset that represents real-world objects like art, music and more. They are bought and sold online, usually with cryptocurrency.

Hadid told her 52.1 million followers that each NFT features “different and unique 3D scans of me, thought up with you in mind, that will be utilized around the world; designed to encourage travel, community, growth, fantasy and human interactions.”

The model said that in the coming months, the project will allow collectors to go to real locations and events around the world, where they can meet her.


Special fun-filled activities lined up for young Jeddah Season visitors

The Blippi- branded activity corner allows kids to learn and explore new concepts followed by a photo session. (Supplied)
The Blippi- branded activity corner allows kids to learn and explore new concepts followed by a photo session. (Supplied)
Updated 21 May 2022

Special fun-filled activities lined up for young Jeddah Season visitors

The Blippi- branded activity corner allows kids to learn and explore new concepts followed by a photo session. (Supplied)
  • Little Village zones feature favorite characters Peppa Pig, Blippi, L.O.L Surprise!

JEDDAH: A fun-filled agenda awaits children at the Jeddah Pier amusement park, one of the entertainment attractions at this year’s Jeddah Season festival of activities.

The specially created Little Village large play area offers games and events for youngsters through to June 28 in three activity zones featuring children’s characters Peppa Pig, Blippi, and L.O.L Surprise!

The Blippi-branded activity corner allows kids to learn and explore new concepts, and the iconic Blippi appeared for a soft opening of the Little Village during which visitors took part in a meet and greet, followed by a photo session.

The L.O.L Surprise! activity corner gives girls the opportunity to wear their favorite dresses, enjoy hair and makeup sessions, and try out cooking, singing, and dancing, and special fashion shows let little fashionistas take a ramp walk.

Meanwhile, the Peppa Pig activity corner has a range of activities including painting classes and the chance to play in the cartoon character’s grocery store.

Fadi Yousuf, site manager of Hwadi Events, Jeddah Pier’s organizing company, said: “Packed with wonderful and imaginative activities, we aim to create memories that will turn the Jeddah Season into a world of unforgettable stories for children.

HIGHLIGHTS

• The specially created Little Village large play area offers games and events for youngsters through to June 28 in three activity zones featuring children’s characters Peppa Pig, Blippi, and L.O.L Surprise!

• Jeddah Pier, open daily from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m., offers 39 entertainment attractions, seven diverse international experiences, and a roller coaster, among a host of other events. And musical parades including acrobats, and people dressed as trees, zombies, and track-suited monkeys are an integral part of the zone’s events.

“With the help of Spacetoon, we were delighted to bring the much-loved character Blippi to Jeddah and receive an amazing response from the fans.

“Apart from enjoying the activities, kids will be able to purchase Blippi, L.O.L Surprise!, and Peppa Pig products onsite.”

Jeddah Pier, open daily from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m., offers 39 entertainment attractions, seven diverse international experiences, and a roller coaster, among a host of other events.

And musical parades including acrobats, and people dressed as trees, zombies, and track-suited monkeys are an integral part of the zone’s events.

Jeddah Season will also be hosting a toy festival running until May 23 at Jeddah Superdome, the world’s largest geodesic dome without pillars, and kids who missed meeting Blippi at Jeddah Pier will get another chance at the festival.

More than 40 international toy brands are attending the event that will include stands and exhibitions, live shows, and performances of the Smurfs, Sonic, Peppa Pig, and other character favorites.

The annual Jeddah Season festival aims to highlight the city’s rich heritage and culture through a total of 2,800 activities in nine zones over the event period.

Being held under the slogan, Our Lovely Days, the second Jeddah Season follows on from the success of Riyadh Season that recorded more than 15 million visits over five months.

The festival season offers 70 interactive experiences, more than 60 recreational activities, seven Arab and two international plays, marine events, a circus, four international exhibitions, and a host of other services for families.

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