Ithra announces 3 Saudi films, training programs to elevate local talent

Ithra announces 3 Saudi films, training programs to elevate local talent
The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) discussed its three new films at a press conference at the inaugural Red Sea International Film Festival on Wednesday. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
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Updated 09 December 2021

Ithra announces 3 Saudi films, training programs to elevate local talent

Ithra announces 3 Saudi films, training programs to elevate local talent
  • ‘Sea of Sands’ and ‘Valley Road’ to release in 2023; ‘Anti-Cinema’ in post production and expected to hit international film fests soon

JEDDAH: The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) discussed its three new films at a press conference at the inaugural Red Sea International Film Festival on Wednesday.

The conference was attended by local and international press. The center was represented by Tariq Khawaji, Ithra’s chief librarian and the program’s cultural consultant and supervisor of the reading program, and Majed Samman, Ithra’s head of performing arts and cinema, who is also a Saudi filmmaker, producer, actor and editor.

The three movies under the Ithra production banner include a feature film, “Sea of Sands,” by celebrated Egyptian screenwriter and producer Mohamed Hefzy, a leading figure in the industry in the Middle East and Africa who has written, produced and co-produced nearly 40 feature films in Egypt, the US, the UK and the Arab world.

The second film is “Valley Road,” a Saudi film, including its cast, crew, and location. It will be filmed in Faifa and Soudah in the southern region of the Kingdom by the award-winning Saudi independent filmmaker Khalid Fahad.

The third is a feature documentary called “Anti-Cinema,” about the Kingdom’s cinematic heritage, directed by Ali Saeed and Hassan Saeed. “Sea of Sands” and “Valley Road” are both scheduled for release in 2023.

Samman, who is the producer of “Sea of Sands” and “Valley Road,” told Arab News about “Anti-Cinema,” a documentary that brings Saudi Arabia’s film history to the big screen and is a winner of the Ithra Content Commission Initiative, currently in post-production and expected to hit the international film festival circuit soon.

“Anti-Cinema will be the most controversial piece non-Saudi viewers will ever watch. It tells the history of cinema from the 1940s and 1950s all the way until the Red Sea Film Festival today. So, for us, and especially for our era, people will say, oh my god, I remember this, I remember that, it’s very nostalgic.”

He added: “But for the outside world, they would say that they had no idea they have cinemas in Saudi and I had no idea that they were making movies. It’s going to be an eye-opener for a lot of people. So it’s going to be very controversial.”

“The two films that we’re going to premiere in 2023 are the first of many films, and they’re going to be showing the world and Saudi Arabia how quality films are made. And I can’t wait for people to see it.”

We really want to give as much as possible the opportunity for these Saudi filmmakers to join an international film and expose them to the filmmaking process, and that would give them a push so they can decide if they want to be filmmakers or not.

Majed Samman, Ithra’s head of performing arts and cinema

During the conference, Ithra announced the opening of registration for a training program designed to take Saudi’s film industry to the next level.

The program aims to elevate local talent to a higher standard with international appeal. Samman told Arab News: “The program targets Saudi national talents aged 18-year-old and above. We put down eight different categories for them to join us. Participants need to submit their CV; they have to submit their previous work, their portfolio, and then we’re going to have to decide with judges.”

Samman added: “We really want to give as much as possible the opportunity for these Saudi filmmakers to join an international film and expose them to the filmmaking process, and that would give them a push so they can decide if they want to be filmmakers or not.”

The center has also opened registration for “Sea of Sands”’ shadowing program, linked to its strategic commitment to nurture and develop talent across the Kingdom’s creative industries.

Ithra Film Productions has helped dozens of filmmakers bring their dreams to life. One of the largest movie producers in the Kingdom, it has produced 20 films, 15 of which have received local, regional and international awards.

“We have produced more films in Saudi Arabia than any other entity, including 20 films to date for the past three years now, two feature films, and 18 short films. Most of these films are now on Netflix, Shahad and Saudi airlines. We want to continue making films, and mostly independent films, because like I said, we want to do the best-quality films that would cost a very good amount of money.”

Ithra is the Kingdom’s premier cultural and creative destination for talent development and cross-cultural experiences. It is an innovative and interactive public space for workshops, performances, events, exhibitions and experiences.


REVIEW: Kwai app

Photo/Supplied
Photo/Supplied
Updated 26 June 2022

REVIEW: Kwai app

Photo/Supplied
  • The app has a live feature that allows users to engage with and converse with their followers, compete against other users and earn money

Kwai is a new social media platform that allows users to share and edit short videos ranging from 15 seconds to five minutes in length.

Find funny short videos, add recordings and videos of your daily life, take part in daily challenges, or look for the best memes and videos.

The app will make it easier for users to raise their profile and appear on trending pages.

Kwai recently signed a deal with many Arab influencers to enhance engagement in the Middle East.

Use the app’s video editor to create your own masterpieces by utilizing your device’s camera, adding music or filters and instantly uploading your video.

The app has a live feature that allows users to engage with and converse with their followers, compete against other users and earn money.

Rules for posting videos help to protect younger viewers, while Kwai concentrates on Arab culture, creating hashtags and challenges suitable for the Arabic audience.

The app, developed by Chinese company Beijing Kuaishou Technology, has been downloaded by 300 million users worldwide.


Designer Amina Muaddi shows off streetstyle at Paris Men’s Fashion Week

The designer showed off a yellow-hued makeup look at the show. (Getty Images)
The designer showed off a yellow-hued makeup look at the show. (Getty Images)
Updated 26 June 2022

Designer Amina Muaddi shows off streetstyle at Paris Men’s Fashion Week

The designer showed off a yellow-hued makeup look at the show. (Getty Images)

DUBAI: Jordanian Romanian footwear designer Amina Muaddi was spotted at Paris Men’s Fashion Week wearing a colorful ensemble that caught the attention of streetwear photographers.

Muaddi — whose namesake label is a favorite among celebrity clientele such as the Kardashian-Jenner sisters and Rihanna, with whom she has collaborated, attended the Louis Vuitton showcase and the Loewe show, to which she wore a white V-neck crop top with multi-colored wide-legged pants complete with a bright yellow crossbody bag by the Spanish label.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by AMINA MUADDI (@aminamuaddi)

Loewe thrust Paris Menswear Fashion Week into a bleak and dystopian vision of the future on Saturday — turning its runway into a dead space where nature and animal life only existed to be harnessed and exploited by humankind. A sanitized white wall descended onto a bare deck as models walked by robotically, bathed in misty white light, the Associated Press reported.

Models wore plates of television screens showing deep water fish in the ocean, and plasma screen visors beamed out growing chrysanthemums. The only place that grass grew in designer Jonathan Anderson’s fashion dystopia was literally out of shoes, where green blades quivered and flapped surreally as the automatons filed by.

The British designer used the remarkable set and concept not only as a springboard for some of the most accomplished designs seen this season, but to make a thoughtful comment about ecology and humanity’s contempt for the natural world.

The organic versus the robotic was explored in Anderson’s conceptual designs that were intentionally off-kilter, according to the Associated Press. A white minimalist sweater had surplus sleeves that flapped about limply at the side of the model, on top of white sports leggings and loafers sprouting 10-centimeter clumps of grass.

Bare chests and legs exposed vulnerability, while hard, square-strap bags slung across the shoulder added a contrasting fierceness. But the piece de resistance must have been the giant mustard toggle shoes that looked like the hooves of a horse but could equally have come from the set of a “Star Wars” planetary village.

Elsewhere, Cowgirls and cowboys mingled in Moroccan French brand Casablanca’s eye-popping show that was notable for its highly unusual set. The co-ed collection was staged in front of several fenced-off horses that paid little attention to the clothes, passed waste nonchalantly and sniffed in the opposite direction.

Designer Charaf Tajer cared little for the indifferent equine reaction, sending down the runway energetic and enthusiastic looks that harked from the heartland of American rodeos and the Wild West.

 


Refugee choir performs at UK’s Glastonbury Festival

The choir, which was founded in 2015 in response to the Syrian refugee crisis, is made up of 50 people. (Instagram)
The choir, which was founded in 2015 in response to the Syrian refugee crisis, is made up of 50 people. (Instagram)
Updated 26 June 2022

Refugee choir performs at UK’s Glastonbury Festival

The choir, which was founded in 2015 in response to the Syrian refugee crisis, is made up of 50 people. (Instagram)

DUBAI: The Citizens of the World Refugee Choir performed at the UK’s Glastonbury Festival on Sunday.

The choir, which was founded in 2015 in response to the Syrian refugee crisis, is made up of 50 people.

Becky Dell, the musical director, told PA that the choir is a 50/50 split of refugees and non-refugees, and calls itself a “rainbow tribe (because) none of us look the same as each other – it’s amazing.”

She said the choir hopes to “elevate the narrative around refugees; too often the story is ‘poor refugees,’ it’s sending them far away. We wanted to show refugees in a different way. They are displaced human beings first and foremost.”

The choir opened the festival’s Avalon Stage on Sunday with a solo 40-minute set.


Emirati arts patron Huda Alkhamis-Kanoo receives prestigious award from Spain’s queen

Emirati arts patron Huda Alkhamis-Kanoo receives prestigious award from Spain’s queen
Updated 25 June 2022

Emirati arts patron Huda Alkhamis-Kanoo receives prestigious award from Spain’s queen

Emirati arts patron Huda Alkhamis-Kanoo receives prestigious award from Spain’s queen

DUBAI: Huda Alkhamis-Kanoo, founder of the Abu Dhabi Festival, has become the first Arab to receive the Reina Sofía School of Music’s prestigious medal of honor. 

The Emirati national, who was born to a Saudi father and a Syrian mother, received the award from Queen Sofia of Spain at the school’s academic closing ceremony in Madrid. 

Alkhamis-Kanoo was awarded for supporting the development of music culture and education, as well as for her outstanding support to the school.

When receiving the award, she dedicated her accomplishments to Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak — the wife of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan, founder of the UAE — whose unwavering support she said “empowers women throughout the UAE.” 

Alkhamis-Kanoo, who was born in Beirut, founded the Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation in 1996 and the Abu Dhabi Festival in 2004.

She has received numerous awards, including the Abu Dhabi Award and Abu Dhabi Medal (conferred by UAE President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan), the UN-affiliated Women Together Award, the Aspen Institute Emerging Voice Award for Cultural Stewardship, and the Puccini Festival Foundation Award.

 


German model Toni Garrn weds in Elie Saab gown

German model Toni Garrn weds in Elie Saab gown
Updated 25 June 2022

German model Toni Garrn weds in Elie Saab gown

German model Toni Garrn weds in Elie Saab gown
  • Former Victoria’s Secret model wore a custom flowy dress cut out at the waist with a lace bustier
  • She exchanged vows for the second time with British actor Alex Pettyfer

DUBAI: German model and actress Toni Garrn tied the knot this week in Greece wearing an Elie Saab gown.

The former Victoria’s Secret model exchanged vows for the second time with British actor Alex Pettyfer in an intimate wedding on Monastiri beach.

For her special day, Garrn wore a custom flowy dress by the Lebanese couturier. The gown was cut out at the waist and featured a lace bustier. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by TONI GARRN (@tonigarrn)

“Yesterday felt like the most beautiful dream,” the star told her 3.6 million followers. “The beautiful natural wedding ceremony that was actually a full-on rock-climbing adventure … in the most delicate wedding dress made completely by hand.”

Garrn, whose runway debut was in 2008 for the Calvin Klein spring/summer show, shared a series of images on her Instagram of the tough trip she took to get to where her husband and the rest of her guests were standing on the cliff.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by TONI GARRN (@tonigarrn)

“The chances were actually around 50 percent I (and) the dress wouldn’t make it in one piece to where Alex and everyone else was waiting. I’ll never forget this day.”

The couple previously wed in October 2020 in Hamburg, Germany in front of family and friends.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by TONI GARRN (@tonigarrn)

In March 2021, Garrn revealed on Instagram that she and Pettyfer were expecting their first child together. “I’ve been keeping this secret for … pretty much 6 months exactly. FINALLY I can share my biggest news with you all,” she captioned her short pregnancy reveal video back then.

The couple welcomed their daughter Luca Malaika in July 2021.

Besides tying the knot, the couple also celebrated, over the weekend, Pettyfer’s first Father’s Day.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by TONI GARRN (@tonigarrn)

The new mom walked over 60 shows for prestigious designers including Stella McCartney, Dior, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Hermès, Dolce & Gabbana and Michael Kors.

Her first acting role was in 2017. She played the role of South African model Reeva Steenkamp in the movie “Oscar Pistorius: Blade Runner Killer.”

She also appeared on productions like the Marvel blockbuster “Spider-Man: Far from Home” and the German drama series “You Are Wanted.”

Garrn is not the first celebrity to wed in an Elie Saab gown. South Korean actress Son Yejin, the “Games of Thrones” star Rose Leslie and actress Debby Ryan have all chosen the Beirut-born designer to make their dream dresses.