Cannes’ artistic chief gives Red Sea International Film Festival thumbs up

Thierry Frémeaux in Jeddah at the Red Sea International Film Festival for the screening of his film Lumière! (AN Photo)
Thierry Frémeaux in Jeddah at the Red Sea International Film Festival for the screening of his film Lumière! (AN Photo)
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Updated 11 December 2021

Cannes’ artistic chief gives Red Sea International Film Festival thumbs up

Thierry Frémeaux in Jeddah at the Red Sea International Film Festival for the screening of his film Lumière! (AN Photo)
  • ‘There are a lot of young filmmakers, a lot of young producers and young technicians who want to create projects’: Thierry Fremaux

JEDDAH: Cannes Film Festival chief Thierry Fremaux was among the movie industry heavyweights attending the first ever Red Sea International Film Festival, and his documentary, “Lumiere! The Adventure Begins,” was one of its highlights.

Fremaux’s film — one of 135 from 67 countries that premiered at the festival — tells the story of Auguste and Louis Lumiere, the French brothers who are credited with the first public presentation of a projected film in 1895. Over the next 10 years, they created more than 1,400 films, offering a unique picture of France at the turn of the 20th century.

Fremaux, who is in charge of artistic content at Cannes and also director of the Lumiere Institute in Lyon, spoke to Arab News en Francais.

Do you think the Red Sea Film Festival will influence film production in the Arab world?

I don’t know how the festival can influence production in the Arab world but if it can impact its own country, that will be the first step. I have only spent two days here, and based on personal experience I’m starting to realize that there are a lot of young filmmakers, a lot of young producers and young technicians who want to create projects.

Preparing a cultural event is a way of shedding light on this sector. After a couple or three editions of the festival, we will see how it will grow. Of course, it takes time and real proof of authenticity for the festival to find its own identity, which is not a replica of other festivals. I’m sure there is great potential.

Would a partnership with the Cannes Film Festival be possible in the future?

We will see if we can build a partnership. For the time being, my presence for this first edition is proof that Cannes is interested in this festival. No partnership proposals have been made and it is not like the Cannes Film Festival to come and impose itself. But I was invited and I came. This presence is also a way of telling other countries such as the US and certain countries in Europe that we are also heading toward Arab countries like Egypt and Saudi Arabia because things are moving. We are interested in all the world’s nations where there is cinema.

Right now, cinema is going through a delicate period due to the pandemic, the platforms, and many other factors. If I am screening the Lumiere film today, it is also to say that cinema is Lumiere’s finest invention.

The Lumieres made more than a thousand films, so how did you choose which ones to include in your documentary?

The Lumiere brothers shot and produced between 1,500 and 2,000 films. They were all short, one-minute films. The documentary is a montage of very well-known movies — like “Employees Leaving the Lumiere Factory” … “Baby’s Meal” and “The Arrival of a Train at Ciotat Station” — and is a way of telling the truth about some well-known stories and some unknown ones. It is also a way to help people discover many little treasures that show that the Lumiere brothers were inventors.

In the Lumiere brothers’ time cinema was silent, so what made you choose to add music and a voice-over?

There are two ways of showing the Lumiere movies. Today, I will exhibit them muted with my live comments. They are almost the same as in the film version, which were recorded along with music.

The tune is by Camille Saint-Saens, who was a French composer from the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century — the Age of Enlightenment. This was the musical atmosphere of the era in which films were invented and created.

This film was a great success in France and among young people and students. Today, at the Red Sea International Film Festival, we saw students coming to watch it. Does it have an educational value?

Every film has an educational value, even great fiction movies.

This one is directed at young people and adults. It forces you to take the time, to watch, to imagine. To us, that was the challenge we wanted to take on. The movie was very successful and shown in many countries around the world. It’s a sign that audiences have patience, curiosity, interest, and that you don’t have to limit yourself to the Marvel movies. You can also watch the first movies in the history of cinema.

How can we support this sector?

By learning to make films in school. You can also learn to make them by watching movies. You have to edit films and help with the production. We have a very efficient system in France, an ecosystem to ensure that cinemas survive and prosper. Cinema is not dead: It can be witnessed here at the Red Sea International Film Festival.


Saudi National Parks Program will benefit environment, communities and tourism, organizers say

The planting of more wild trees will be carried out by staff from the center, along with workers from environmental associations and organizations. The program will be implemented in phases. (Supplied)
The planting of more wild trees will be carried out by staff from the center, along with workers from environmental associations and organizations. The program will be implemented in phases. (Supplied)
Updated 5 min 25 sec ago

Saudi National Parks Program will benefit environment, communities and tourism, organizers say

The planting of more wild trees will be carried out by staff from the center, along with workers from environmental associations and organizations. The program will be implemented in phases. (Supplied)
  • The program, launched this month, includes plans to establish 100 national parks within five years and showcase the Kingdom’s natural splendor and treasures

MAKKAH: Saudi Arabia’s recently launched National Parks Program will benefit the environment and local communities, and provide a boost to sustainable tourism and by attracting local and foreign visitors, according to the National Center for Vegetation Cover Development and Combating Desertification.

The program, unveiled by the center this month, includes plans to establish and enhance 100 national parks within five years and showcase the Kingdom’s natural splendor and treasures. It also includes the planting of 50 million trees as part of the Saudi Green Initiative.
Abdul Rahman Al-Dakhil, a spokesman for the center, said that the program will help to achieve the goals of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 development and diversification project and the Saudi Green Initiative.
He added that the center will promote and develop the parks program by supporting afforestation efforts and sustainable ecotourism initiatives, while helping to protect the environment in partnership with governmental organizations.
“The program will be implemented in phases, whereby the first phase will target 100 national parks and turn them into sustainable landmarks, followed by other phases and goals,” Al-Dakhil told Arab News.

HIGHLIGHTS

• The program, unveiled by the center this month, includes plans to establish and enhance 100 national parks within five years and showcase the Kingdom’s natural splendor and treasures. It also includes the planting of 50 million trees as part of the Saudi Green Initiative.

• Some areas of land allocated for the development of national parks have special historical, cultural, geological or archaeological significance. The project includes some of the most important sites in the Kingdom, including the Edge of the World, which is located northwest of Riyadh and was formed about 180 million years ago, and the ancient Muawiyah Dam, also known as Saysad Dam.

“Achieving tourism and environmental balance is one of the most important criteria while developing any park.”
The planting of more wild trees will be be carried out by staff from the center, along with workers from environmental associations and organizations.
Some areas of land allocated for the development of national parks have special historical, cultural, geological or archaeological significance. The project includes some of the most important sites in the Kingdom, including the Edge of the World, which is located northwest of Riyadh and was formed about 180 million years ago, and the ancient Muawiyah Dam, also known as Saysad Dam.
Abdulrahman Alsoqeer, chairman of the Environmental Green Horizons Society, said that the Kingdom is experiencing an environmental renaissance, focused on preserving vegetation and expanding afforestation efforts, that is attracting global attention. The National Parks Program is part of this green renaissance, he added.
“Allocating lands for national parks is an important primary step in protecting the vast areas of government lands that are scattered and untapped, and converting them into vast vegetation reserves,” Alsoqeer told Arab News.
He said that there are a number of benefits to establishing and maintaining national parks, including the restoration of vegetation cover that has deteriorated drastically in the recent decades. It can also improve the quality of life by reducing the intensity of dust storms, improving the climate, and enhancing the visual landscape with the addition of more greenery.
In addition, a number of products can be derived from the plants cultivated in the parks, including honey provided by bees that will thrive among the wild plants.
Local communities in the vicinity of the parks will also benefit from increased employment and investment opportunities, enhanced biodiversity, the protection of endangered plant and animal species, and the enhancement of ecotourism and recreation options.


First phase to document the path of Prophet’s journey completed

Documentation of the path was mainly done by panoramic photography 360. Later, the migration of the Prophet will be digitally documented using 4K drones. (Supplied)
Documentation of the path was mainly done by panoramic photography 360. Later, the migration of the Prophet will be digitally documented using 4K drones. (Supplied)
Updated 13 sec ago

First phase to document the path of Prophet’s journey completed

Documentation of the path was mainly done by panoramic photography 360. Later, the migration of the Prophet will be digitally documented using 4K drones. (Supplied)
  • The initiative is part of the preparations to inaugurate Jabal Thawr Cultural Center in Makkah, which seeks to enrich and broaden tourists’ experience

MAKKAH: The organizers of “Rihlat Muhajir” (An Emigrant Journey) have announced that the first phase of the initiative to document the path of the Prophet’s emigration has been completed.

The work with specialists and researchers in the Prophet’s biography is part of the preparations to inaugurate the Jabal Thawr Cultural Center in Makkah, which seeks to enrich and broaden tourists’ experience. This is the aim of Samaya Investment, a company specializing in cultural projects, including national museums, exhibitions, and activities.

Samaya CEO Fawaz Al-Merhej said the “Muhajir” initiative is documenting the path of the Prophet’s emigration using modern technology in aerial documentation and panoramic photography 360.

He said that in the first phase, which was launched on Dec. 20 last year, the team sought all the locations that were cited on the path of the Prophet’s emigration, starting from Cave Thawr on Mount Thawr in Makkah, passing through 40 stations all the way to Quba Mosque in Madinah.

He said the idea of documenting the route came up when they were considering how to present the story of the Prophet’s migration in the Jabal Thawr Cultural Center.

Documentation of the path was mainly done by panoramic photography 360. During the second stage the migration of the Prophet will be digitally documented using 4K drones based on the locations’ coordinates.

The biggest challenges they faced, he said, were the bumpy roads, and the fact that some historical sites had their names changed over time.

A number of scholars specialized in Islamic history and the Prophet’s biography helped in this investigation, including Professor Mohammed bin Samil Al-Salami and Professor Saad bin Musa Al-Musa, of the Department of History and Islamic Civilization at Umm Al-Qura University in Makkah, and Professor Sulaiman bin Abdullah Al-Suwaiket and Professor Abdul Aziz bin Ibrahim Al-Omari, of the Department of History and Civilization at Imam Mohammad Ibn Saud Islamic University in Riyadh, who are also members of the scientific committee of the Atlas Biography of the Prophet. Professor Abdullah bin Mustafa Al-Shanqiti, specialized in the landmarks of Madinah and the Prophet’s Biography, also participated in some stages of the project.

 


Diriyah’s historic At-Turaif ‘a new lifestyle destination’ in Saudi Arabia

Dalya Mousa  shed light on the culture, history and heritage of At-Turaif and revealed that six museums and an art district are being developed as key cultural sites in the district. (AN photo by Basheer Saleh)
Dalya Mousa shed light on the culture, history and heritage of At-Turaif and revealed that six museums and an art district are being developed as key cultural sites in the district. (AN photo by Basheer Saleh)
Updated 24 min 6 sec ago

Diriyah’s historic At-Turaif ‘a new lifestyle destination’ in Saudi Arabia

Dalya Mousa  shed light on the culture, history and heritage of At-Turaif and revealed that six museums and an art district are being developed as key cultural sites in the district. (AN photo by Basheer Saleh)
  • The historic district will offer world-class education to nurture the future cultural leaders of the Kingdom, including the opening of King Salman University, six academies and new public schools

RIYADH: A two-day Diriyah art forum is building links between Saudi cultural authorities as part of a broader plan to make the At-Turaif district a lifestyle and culture destination.
The Diriyah Gate Development Authority, the body overseeing the development of the historic site, is taking part in the event.
Dalya Mousa, DGDA director of culture, spoke about new projects and developments set to take place in Diriyah, including At-Turaif district, the first capital of Saudi Arabia and an important political and historical site.
Speaking on the importance of At-Turaif — one of six heritage sites recognized by UNESCO in the Kingdom — Mousa told Arab News: “When we are talking about At-Turaif, we are talking about the first Saudi capital in the 18th century.

Dalya Mousa  shed light on the culture, history and heritage of At-Turaif and revealed that six museums and an art district are being developed as key cultural sites in the district. (AN photo by Basheer Saleh)

“We are talking about the foundation of the Kingdom, with really diverse cultural landscapes and architecture that goes back 300 years. We aim to show the world how people used to live here and we will include museums, galleries and ancient palaces in the plans.”
The director also shed light on the culture, history and heritage of At-Turaif and revealed that six museums and an art district are being developed as key cultural sites in the district.

Culture plays a vital role in our lives. It reflects our identity and shapes our future. Our mission is to create a best in class culture platform that connects Diriyah’s past with its present and future.

Dalya Mousa, DGDA director of culture

Mousa said: “Culture plays a vital role in our lives. It reflects our identity and shapes our future. Our mission is to create a best in class culture platform that connects Diriyah’s past with its present and future.
“When we talk about art and culture, it includes visual art, performances, commissions, collections, traditional arts and crafts, multimedia urban intervention and more,” she added.
“At-Turaif will have cultural museums, cultural academies, a cultural district and most importantly, art commissions across the master plan. We’re talking about digital libraries and archives, in-house expertise, capacity building, traditional arts and craft schools, and more.”
The historic district will also offer world-class education to nurture the future cultural leaders of the Kingdom, including the opening of King Salman University, six academies and new public schools.
Diriyah will also contain boutique hotels and resorts as part of its strategy to become a premium lifestyle destination where visitors can shop and dine in the presence of unique cultural history.
Mousa said that “working with and for the local community” will strengthen Diriyah’s creative ecosystem across cultural sectors in alignment with the Ministry of Culture’s plan to celebrate the town nationally, regionally and globally.
Launching Diriyah as the culture capital of the Middle East 2030, the Diriyah Gate Development Authority partnered with the Ministry of Culture and Diriyah Biennale Foundation on a series of multidisciplinary cultural programs to achieve that goal.


Saudi Arabia records further drop in daily COVID-19 infections

Saudi police check pilgrims for vaccination details on their smartphone, after Saudi authorities announced the easing of coronavirus restrictions, at the Grand Mosque in Makkah. (Reuters/File Photo)
Saudi police check pilgrims for vaccination details on their smartphone, after Saudi authorities announced the easing of coronavirus restrictions, at the Grand Mosque in Makkah. (Reuters/File Photo)
Updated 22 January 2022

Saudi Arabia records further drop in daily COVID-19 infections

Saudi police check pilgrims for vaccination details on their smartphone, after Saudi authorities announced the easing of coronavirus restrictions, at the Grand Mosque in Makkah. (Reuters/File Photo)
  • A total of 8,918 people have now died from the virus in the Kingdom so far

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia announced another two deaths from COVID-19 and 4,608 new infections on Saturday.

Numbers of confirmed cases have started to drop over the past week, after a sharp increase earlier in January, and it was the second consecutive day with a decrease in cases; with 276 fewer recorded than on Friday.

The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom increased to 594,762 after 4,622 more patients recovered from the virus.

A total of 8,918 people have now died from the virus in the Kingdom so far.

The Saudi health ministry is continuing with the Kingdom's vaccination plan, and more than 55 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine have been administered in the Kingdom to date.

Saudi Arabia recently updated its COVID-19 restrictions, announcing new fines of SR1,000 ($266) for those who flout social distancing rules, and SR100,000 ($266,000) for repeat offenders.

Social distancing is required at Makkah’s Grand Mosque and other public places, while masks are also required in public places, indoors and outdoors.

On Tuesday, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the World Health Organization chief said that the pandemic was “nowhere near over,” and urged against a narrative that the fast-spreading omicron variant was risk-free.


Saudi Arabia and Sweden explore investment opportunities at Expo 2020 event

 Investment opportunities in Saudi Arabia and Sweden were in the spotlight during a two-day Saudi-Sweden event at Expo 2020 Dubai. (Supplied)
Investment opportunities in Saudi Arabia and Sweden were in the spotlight during a two-day Saudi-Sweden event at Expo 2020 Dubai. (Supplied)
Updated 22 January 2022

Saudi Arabia and Sweden explore investment opportunities at Expo 2020 event

 Investment opportunities in Saudi Arabia and Sweden were in the spotlight during a two-day Saudi-Sweden event at Expo 2020 Dubai. (Supplied)
  • The event was organized in collaboration with the Saudi Ministry of Investment (MISA), Invest Saudi, the Embassy of Sweden, and Business Sweden

LONDON: Investment opportunities in Saudi Arabia and Sweden were in the spotlight during a two-day Saudi-Sweden event at Expo 2020 Dubai this week. 

A series of panel discussions explored how to boost trade relations between the two countries on Jan. 16-17 at the two countries’ pavilions as part of the Expo.

The event was organized in collaboration with the Saudi Ministry of Investment (MISA), Invest Saudi, the Embassy of Sweden, and Business Sweden.

The first day, hosted at the Sweden Pavilion, included opening remarks by Niclas Trouvé, ambassador of Sweden to Saudi Arabia; Hussain Hanbazazah, commissioner general of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia pavilion; and Jan Thesleff, Commissioner General of the Swedish Pavilion.

Hanbazazah highlighted how Swedish companies have operated in the Kingdom for more than 70 years, noting that Saudi Arabia is Sweden’s largest economic partner in the Middle East and No. 1 trade partner among the Scandinavian countries, with the volume of trade exchange in the past five years reaching more than US$6 billion.

“As a continuation to our historical relationship, we are inspired by the efforts made by our leaders towards advancing bilateral relations between our two countries, resulting in the recent establishment of the Saudi-Swedish Business Council in Stockholm, exchanging expertise and knowledge, and setting plans and programs to seize investment opportunities and turn them into tangible partnerships,” he said.

“Saudi Arabia welcomes and invites Swedish companies to invest in our country and to take advantage of the opportunities and initiatives of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, especially in sustainability, smart cities, manufacturing industries and areas such as e-commerce and information technology.”

Swedish ambassador Trouvé, Ambassador of Sweden to Saudi Arabia, said talks over the two-day event were mainly about “progressive performance.”

He continued: “Saudi Arabia and Sweden have a fantastic journey ahead, to protect people and the planet through sustainable and green solutions. We have to do this together through strengthening partnerships between governments and the private sector in order to move forward together.”

The two-day event concluded with a cultural performance, and guests were invited to attend another key event on Feb. 7, when the Saudi Pavilion will be partnering with MISA and Invest Saudi to host a full-day business forum at the Dubai Exhibition Center where sectorial investment opportunities in Saudi Arabia will be discussed.