Stars shine on the Red Sea International Film Festival red carpet

The event, set to run from Dec. 6-15, will feature world premiers of the films by the Saudi Arabia’s top talent and show 138 films. (Photos/Huda Bashatah)
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The event, set to run from Dec. 6-15, will feature world premiers of the films by the Saudi Arabia’s top talent and show 138 films. (Photos/Huda Bashatah)
Stars shine on the Red Sea International Film Festival red carpet
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The event, set to run from Dec. 6-15, will feature world premiers of the films by the Saudi Arabia’s top talent and show 138 films. (Photos/Huda Bashatah)
Stars shine on the Red Sea International Film Festival red carpet
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The event, set to run from Dec. 6-15, will feature world premiers of the films by the Saudi Arabia’s top talent and show 138 films. (Photos/Huda Bashatah)
Stars shine on the Red Sea International Film Festival red carpet
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The event, set to run from Dec. 6-15, will feature world premiers of the films by the Saudi Arabia’s top talent and show 138 films. (Photos/Huda Bashatah)
Stars shine on the Red Sea International Film Festival red carpet
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The event, set to run from Dec. 6-15, will feature world premiers of the films by the Saudi Arabia’s top talent and show 138 films. (Photos/Huda Bashatah)
Stars shine on the Red Sea International Film Festival red carpet
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The event, set to run from Dec. 6-15, will feature world premiers of the films by the Saudi Arabia’s top talent and show 138 films. (Photos/Huda Bashatah)
Stars shine on the Red Sea International Film Festival red carpet
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The event, set to run from Dec. 6-15, will feature world premiers of the films by the Saudi Arabia’s top talent and show 138 films. (Photos/Huda Bashatah)
Stars shine on the Red Sea International Film Festival red carpet
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The event, set to run from Dec. 6-15, will feature world premiers of the films by the Saudi Arabia’s top talent and show 138 films. (Photos/Huda Bashatah)
Stars shine on the Red Sea International Film Festival red carpet
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The event, set to run from Dec. 6-15, will feature world premiers of the films by the Saudi Arabia’s top talent and show 138 films. (Photos/Huda Bashatah)
Stars shine on the Red Sea International Film Festival red carpet
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The event, set to run from Dec. 6-15, will feature world premiers of the films by the Saudi Arabia’s top talent and show 138 films. (Photos/Huda Bashatah)
Stars shine on the Red Sea International Film Festival red carpet
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The event, set to run from Dec. 6-15, will feature world premiers of the films by the Saudi Arabia’s top talent and show 138 films. (Photos/Huda Bashatah)
Stars shine on the Red Sea International Film Festival red carpet
12 / 12
The event, set to run from Dec. 6-15, will feature world premiers of the films by the Saudi Arabia’s top talent and show 138 films. (Photos/Huda Bashatah)
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Updated 18 December 2021

Stars shine on the Red Sea International Film Festival red carpet

The event, set to run from Dec. 6-15, will feature world premiers of the films by the Saudi Arabia’s top talent and show 138 films. (Photos/Huda Bashatah)
  • Inaugural event features home-grown talent and features alongside international icons and blockbusters

JEDDAH: Cinematic masterpieces and their creators flocked to Jeddah for the long-awaited Red Sea International Film Festival.

After nearly two years on hold, the star-studded event finally rolled out the red carpet in the Kingdom’s beating cultural heart: Jeddah’s historic downtown area known as Al-Balad. With homes dating back at least three centuries in the backdrop, the scene was shining with international, Arab, and Saudi film stars, filmmakers, directors, and producers; a beautiful mix of the old and new as history was being made.

The event, set to run until Dec. 15, will feature world premieres of selected films made by the Kingdom’s up-and-coming talent, with 138 films from over 60 countries in total. The historical event, dubbed “a landmark moment,” by RSIFF Chairman Mohammed Al-Turki, will “serve (as) a launchpad for young Saudi and Arab talent and support the development of our flourishing industry.”




Mohammed Al-Turki

Less than 24 hours ago, residents of the city watched the closing ceremony of the first Saudi Arabian Formula One Grand Prix, another historic moment for the Kingdom and the city of Jeddah as it bore witness to one of the biggest sports events in the world.

The celebrations continue at RSIFF as it aims to bring the global film industry “to network, share knowledge and forge partnerships” and will gather local film lovers, filmmakers, and international industry leaders at one event.

FASTFACTS

• After nearly two years on hold, the star-studded event finally rolled out the red carpet in the Kingdom’s beating cultural heart: Jeddah’s historic downtown area known as Al-Balad.

• With homes dating back at least three centuries in the backdrop, the scene was shining with international, Arab, and Saudi film stars, filmmakers, directors, and producers; a beautiful mix of the old and new as history was being made.

• The celebrations continue at RSIFF as it aims to bring the global film industry ‘to network, share knowledge and forge partnerships.’

The red carpet witnessed some of the Kingdom’s most prominent names in film and television. Speaking to Arab News, Saudi actress Sumaya Rida, who starred in the Saudi film “Rupture,” said how much of an honor it was to represent the Kingdom in the film industry, with “Rupture” the only Saudi feature competing on an international scale as part of the festival.

“I had the opportunity to be part of two films for the festival. ‘Rupture’ is directed by Hamzah Jamjoom and produced by Aymen Khoja. I starred with the American actor Billy Zane. I also had the pleasure to co-star in the feature film ‘Junoon,’ a horror feature appealing to the new wave of Saudi cinema. There are many other great Saudi films and I am honestly very excited to watch these works,” said Rida.

One of the most significant cinematic figures in the Kingdom, Haifaa Al-Mansour, an internationally acclaimed filmmaker, will be honored at the RSIFF and told Arab News that the support filmmakers have received in the past few years had produced great talents with fresh ideas, especially female members of the film industry, who have received unprecedented support.

“This is a beautiful beginning and I’m proud to be at such an event in Saudi Arabia celebrating cinema and celebrating women in cinema. As a Saudi director, this is a big deal and I’m proud to see a film directed and produced by Saudi female directors. This is a major leap for women in the Kingdom,” she told Arab News.  

“I’m so happy to be here in Jeddah. I’m so proud to see all of this happening and I’m so happy to see a festival at this scale in the Arab world, and (am) hoping for many more festivals,” Lebanese fashion entrepreneur and digital influencer Karen Wazen told Arab News.

The festival’s movies are divided into 11 sections: Competition, Short Film Competition, International Spectacular, Arab Spectacular, Festival Favorites, New Saudi/ New Cinema (Feature), New Saudi/ New Cinema (Shorts), Treasures, Next Generation, Immersive and Episodic.

“It’s a great honor because this is the first movie festival here and it’s a symbol, it’s a sign of developing, and I really love this because cinema and all kinds of art open the mind. It’s beautiful,” Italian actor Michele Morrone told Arab News.

The Saudi films that will screen include: “Junoon” by directors Maan B. and Yaser B. Khalid, “Route 10” by Omar Naim, “Quareer” by Ragheed Al-Nahdi, Norah Almowald, Ruba Khafagy, Fatma Alhazmi, and Noor Alameer, “Fay’s Palette” by Anas Ba-Tahaf, “Becoming” by Sara Mesfer, Jawaher Alamri, Noor Alameer, Hind Alfahhad, and Fatima Al-Banawi, “Kayan” by Hakeem Jomaah and “Cinema Al-Hara” by Faizah Ambah.

The lineup is interspersed with high-profile international films such as Maggie Gyllenhaal’s Elena Ferrante adaptation “The Lost Daughter,” “Memory Box” by Beirut-born director duo Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige, “Huda’s Salon” by Palestinian director Hany Abu-Assad, and India’s “Paka” directed by Nithin Lukose.

The festival will host several initiatives aimed at improving the Saudi film industry and enriching the Kingdom’s cinematic scene and talent development, and host a plethora of screenings, talks, workshops, and a masterclass by no other than famous Egyptian actress Yousra, tribute talks with Laila Eloui, and many more activities.

 


Dolce & Gabbana lights up Saudi Arabia’s AlUla with its Alta Moda show

Dolce & Gabbana lights up Saudi Arabia’s AlUla with its Alta Moda show
Updated 28 January 2022

Dolce & Gabbana lights up Saudi Arabia’s AlUla with its Alta Moda show

Dolce & Gabbana lights up Saudi Arabia’s AlUla with its Alta Moda show

RIYADH: Italian luxury fashion house Dolce & Gabbana staged its Alta Moda, Alta Sartoria and Alta Gioielleria collections on Thursday against the backdrop of Saudi Arabia’s AlUla.

The heritage site, situated in the northeast of the Kingdom, played host to the fashion house’s haute couture. 

The models walked the runway in luxurious gowns in almost every color you could think of, from vibrant gold — that blended smoothly with the historical location — to eye-catching hot-pink designs.

The show launched with a voluminous princess-inspired dress. Italian duo Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana embellished rich fabrics such as duchesse satin, velvet, organza and chiffon with sequins and beads. 

The collection also featured glitzy designs for men.   

The fashion show took place alongside the Ikmah Fashion Cavalry Show, which was conceived and produced by Balich Wonder Studio. It wowed guests with a full parade of 12 Arabian horses sporting customized horse accessories and attire.

High-end jewelry is also part of the AlUla Moments festival season.

The event featured fashion bloggers and entrepreneurs from around the region, including Emirati host and actress Mahira Abdel Aziz, Saudi fashion designer Tamaraah Al-Gabaani, Saudi author Marriam Mossalli, fashion stylist Hala Al-Harithy and social media influencer Lama Alakeel.

Each of the celebrities took to Instagram to share clips from the show with their thousands of followers. “What an amazing experience,” wrote Mossalli on the social media app following the event. 

Dolce & Gabbana will also exhibit its one-of-a-kind collection in Maraya, the famed mirrored structure. The exhibition will be open to the public from Jan. 28- 31. Not only will guests have the opportunity to visit the exclusive space but they will also have the chance to be fitted by the Italian label’s master tailer and shop pieces from the collection.

The designer duo presented their label’s Alta Moda, Alta Sartoria and Alta Gioielleria collections in Venice in August. Meanwhile, in 2020, the fashion house unveiled their Alta Moda couture offerings via a digital show due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Egyptian hip-hop artist DB Gad collaborates with Sisters Grimm on new single ‘See Beyond’

Egyptian hip-hop artist DB Gad collaborates with Sisters Grimm on new single ‘See Beyond’
Updated 28 January 2022

Egyptian hip-hop artist DB Gad collaborates with Sisters Grimm on new single ‘See Beyond’

Egyptian hip-hop artist DB Gad collaborates with Sisters Grimm on new single ‘See Beyond’

DUBAI: A haunting piano melody blends seamlessly with rhythmic beats and Arabic rap on the new single “See Beyond” — a collaboration between Egyptian hip-hop artist DB Gad and music and theater production duo Sisters Grimm.

The song, released last week, celebrates diversity and peaceful co-existence, according to its creators.

“Initially the song was supposed to be classical and theatrical, (but then we brought in) the flavor of the Egyptian streets. The rap was in sync with the energy of the diversity we see around us,” says Gad. “It’s been a crazy project, I loved it.”

Sister Grimm — composer and painter Ella Spira and ballerina Pietra De Mello Pittman — are based in the UK and the UAE, and “See Beyond” was recorded in their studio in Dubai. The song, co-written by Gad and Spira, urges people to look beyond cultural boundaries and accept everyone’s individuality.

The accompanying video features excerpts from Sister Grimm’s film “Daughters of the Wind,” in which Pittman portrays a modern Emirati woman in a ballet performance which is the perfect foil to Gad’s high-energy rap.

“Every element of the song happened so organically that it blossomed like a bud,” says Spira. “The recording happened as we wrote it together in our creative studio space. The filming process followed a similar route. I think that is why the piece has that fresh raw edge.”

One of the objectives for the artists was to break down barriers around cultural conflicts and bridge the gap between Western and Arabic music. The video shows the protagonist’s place of work, and how she battles with her colleagues — fighting to gain respect for her ideas.

“We wanted to show that we can find a way to coexist and recognize our differences. Through ‘See Beyond’ we also hope to play a part in (preparing the ground) for more international art to be produced here. There is great potential for artists and art produced across the Middle East to (seep) into the global music and art scenes more prominently,” says Pittman.


Palestinian art: Highlights from Ramallah Art Fair’s second edition 

Palestinian art: Highlights from Ramallah Art Fair’s second edition 
Updated 28 January 2022

Palestinian art: Highlights from Ramallah Art Fair’s second edition 

Palestinian art: Highlights from Ramallah Art Fair’s second edition 
  • Ramallah Art Fair runs until February 15

Saher Nassar — ‘The Eternal’

Nassar worked as an illustrator and graphic designer before starting his career as an artist, and those influences remain clear in his work, particularly in his pop-art pieces. In “The Eternal,” Nassar represents the iconic symbol of Palestine, Handala. Originally created by the late political cartoonist Naji Al-Ali, Handala is a 10-year-old boy, usually pictured from behind, with his arms crossed behind his back. The image has grown to be a widely used representative of Palestine and its people, symbolizing resistance to — and rejection of — the occupation. Nassar, however, tackles it somewhat differently, with a knowing twist.

Alaa Attoun — ‘Scene 1’

In the works he has provided for this show, Attoun moves away from the emotionally charged hyperrealist pencil drawings for which he is arguably best known into performance photography — which seems in many ways like a natural progression. For this series, titled “Scene,” Attoun visited three locations in Jerusalem where Palestinian families have been displaced from their homes to stage his surreal, theatrical shots.

Alaa Albaba — ‘The Camp III’

Albaba is well-known for works depicting the lives of refugees and refugee camps. For example, the show brochure explains: “During his residency in Borj Alshamali Refugee Camp in Lebanon, he produced sketches and murals about the Houla massacre in Syria based on real stories.” And his Fish Path project consisted of 18 murals in Palestine, Lebanon and Jordan which used fish “as a representation of Palestinian refugees who are longing to return to their villages next to the sea.” Albaba resides in the Alamari Refugee Camp in Ramallah, where he has established an artist’s studio. His work for this show focuses on that camp’s sprawl, and contrasts it with the modern residential and commercial areas that surround it.

Fouad Agbaria — ‘Resisting Decomposition III’

The Palestinian landscape is “the most prominent theme in this show,” according to organizers Zawyeh Gallery. Fouad Agbaria’s impressionistic series “Resisting Decomposition” is just one example, and the works also tackle another prominent theme, resistance, through symbols including the cactus and the olive tree. Using such plants also references the deep-rooted connection that so many Palestinians have to their homeland.

Khaled Hourani — ‘Manaakh’

Hourani — a native of Hebron — is a well-respected figure in the Palestinian art scene, for his work as a curator and writer as well as for his award-winning art. As a former general director of the Fine Arts Department in the Palestinian Ministry of Culture, his inclusion in the art fair shows the organizer’s commitment to including up-and-coming artists alongside their more-established counterparts. In “Manaakh,” the brochure explains, Hourani “wanted to highlight the threat of global warming” and “showcases the world hanging by a thread, mimicking the fragility of a Christmas ornament.”

Ruba Salameh – ‘Creatures of Regression II’

Salameh was born in Nazareth in 1985. Throughout her career, she has used a variety of mediums to address “questions of land, geographies, displacement, nationalism and in-between temporalities in an attempt to contemplate … daily life, which in many cases leads to a state of dystopia, using cynicism and irony as tools.” Her “Creatures of Regression” series, from which this work is taken, is “inspired by her psychoanalytic observation on children’s behavior, (particularly) displaying jealousy towards younger siblings,” the organizers say.


Cairo International Book Fair kicks off with Greece guest of honor 

Cairo International Book Fair kicks off with Greece guest of honor 
Updated 27 January 2022

Cairo International Book Fair kicks off with Greece guest of honor 

Cairo International Book Fair kicks off with Greece guest of honor 
  • Greece is the guest of honor via a rich cultural program that includes discussion of publications and translated works on the ancient Greek and Egyptian civilizations
  • Saudi Arabia is participating via 39 publishing houses and in the fair’s cultural and artistic activities

CAIRO: The 53rd Cairo International Book Fair kicked off on Thursday, with Greece the guest of honor and 1,063 Egyptian, Arab and foreign publishers and agencies from 51 countries taking part.

Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly inaugurated the exhibition, which will continue until Feb. 7 under the slogan “Egypt’s identity: Culture and the question of the future.”

The late writer Yahya Haqqi is the main personality of this year’s book fair, which comprises five halls and 879 pavilions, and includes discussion sessions and workshops. 

Greece is the guest of honor via a rich cultural program that includes discussion of publications and translated works on the ancient Greek and Egyptian civilizations.

Saudi Arabia is participating via 39 publishing houses and in the fair’s cultural and artistic activities.

Algeria’s Ministry of Culture and Arts said more than 600 books and publications by Algerian publishing houses are featuring in the exhibition, as are seven writers and poets.

Oman is participating with publications aimed at introducing the country’s culture and highlighting its intellectual production.

The exhibition has a hall dedicated to children’s books and activities, with the works of the late author, translator and publisher Abdel Tawab Youssef at the fore.

The Arab Publishers Association will hold its general assembly on the sidelines of the fair on Sunday, including the election of a new board of directors.

The exhibition had earlier announced the creation of an award for best Arab publisher, and the raising of the financial value of its annual awards in the fields of story, novel, poetry, literary criticism and human studies.


Grace Kelly's granddaughter appears on horseback for Chanel

Grace Kelly's granddaughter appears on horseback for Chanel
Charlotte Casiraghi, the granddaughter of Princess Grace Kelly, appear atop an actual racing horse. Getty
Updated 27 January 2022

Grace Kelly's granddaughter appears on horseback for Chanel

Grace Kelly's granddaughter appears on horseback for Chanel

PARIS: Huge spinning wheels, “floating” wooden blocks and suspended geometric shapes hovered over a surreal mini golf course Tuesday at Chanel’s remarkable couture show.
Even Pharrell Williams, who is no stranger to elaborate sets, had to take a moment to take stock, before posing beside a white, three-meter (yard) tire.
This sublime, avant-garde decor was the work of Xavier Veilhan and marked the first time in its history that Chanel has entrusted a contemporary artist for staging.
The equestrian photos handed out to guests as they filtered in were a hint of what was to come. But no one quite expected Charlotte Casiraghi, the daughter of Caroline of Monaco and the granddaughter of Princess Grace Kelly, to appear out of nowhere atop an actual racing horse.

Getty Images

The beautiful beast and its VIP rider, in a black Chanel tweed sequined jacket of course, began the show to a symphony of gasps and clopping hooves around the Grand Palais Ephemere’s auditorium as celebrity guests snapped pictures.
The horse seemed to enjoy its 15 minutes of fame, trotting by with ease, snaking in and out of the 1920s and 30s constructivist installations and by sand and imitation grass, before breaking out into a canter around the set.
Virginie Viard, Chanel's designer, said the art backdrop was not just decor, but the collection’s creative starting block.
“These geometric shapes made me want contrasts, a great lightness and a lot of freshness: ethereal dresses that float as if suspended,” she said.
Thus Chanel produced a relatively pared down aesthetic for spring with matching tweeds, minimalist touches, clean curved peplums and lots of white. A split leg on heavy three-quarter length skirts was this season’s big theme, creating a silhouette with lots of swag as the models walked.
A pink tweed jacket with white stripes possessed beautiful loose proportions, which perfectly captured the spirit of pared down femininity. It was the best piece in the show. Yet the 47-look collection at times seemed to fall victim to its own restraint, seeming to lack vibrancy.