With a dazzling closing ceremony, Effat University in Jeddah concluded the activities of three rich and fruitful days of “The 9th Showreel — Effat Student Film Festival.” The event took place in the presence of a number of Saudi and international filmmakers. The closing ceremony was held under the patronage of Princess Lolowah Al-Faisal, vice chairman of the board of trustees and general supervisor of the university, and in the presence of Abdullah Al-Ayaf, president of the Saudi Film Commission, and Dr. Haifa Jamal Al-Lail, president of Effat University.
The guests on the red carpet were welcomed for an exhibition of film posters, photographs, and animation character designs produced by Effat’s School of Cinematic Arts students.
The grand show was hosted by the brilliant Bahraini presenter Nada Al-Shaibani. The festival was opened with a musical performance presented by the university students, on the soundtrack melodies of some Arab and international films, under the supervision of composer Amer Tashkandi. Japanese artist Nahomi Koyasu, also known as “Japanese Fairuz,” sang “Al-Bent Al-Shalabya,” winning the audience’s admiration.
A graduate of the School of Cinematic Arts, Sarah Mesfer, gave a speech about her journey of studying and learning at Effat University and how that experience helped her films to travel around the world. Al-Ayaf also gave an important speech on the role of the Ministry of Culture and the Saudi Film Commission in supporting young filmmakers and on the Kingdom’s ambitions to reach globally with their creative productions.
Princess Lolowah then presented honors to a number of art and cinema figures in Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Arab world, including artist Ibrahim Al-Hasawi, animation artist Malik Nejer, producer Abbas bin Al-Abbas, Bahraini critic Mansoora Al-Jamri, Intishal Al-Tamimi, president of the El-Gouna Film Festival, and Mouhamed Kablawi, president of the Malmö Arab Film Festival in Sweden.
A notable moment was when Abdel Fattah Al-Gabali, president of the Media Production City in Cairo, and Effat University President Haifa Jamal Al-Lail renewed a protocol to provide training opportunities for students in the Media Production City.
Effat University also honored a number of its graduates who achieved success inside and outside the Kingdom, including Sarah Mesfer, Jawaher Al-Amri, Ragheed Al-Nahdi, Ruba Khafgy, Fatima Al-Hazmi, and Nora Al-Moaled.
During the festival, many student films were shown, including short films, animation, and documentaries, besides the exhibition of photography and posters.
A seminar titled “The Future of the Animation Industry in Saudi Arabia,” was attended by a number of Saudi animation specialists, including Malik Nejer, Abbas Al-Abbas, Walaa Sindi, and Abdulaziz Othman. The symposium was presented by Lama Al-Sharhan and Joanna Al-Fattani from the Saudi Animation Society, both graduates of Effat University.
According to Dr. Mohamed Ghazala, the chair of the School of Cinematic Arts and the festival director, this is the first symposium in the Kingdom that brought together animation artists to discuss the future of this creative industry.
The School of Cinematic Arts at Effat University was established in 2013 in collaboration with the University of Southern California. So far, it is the first and only film school in Saudi Arabia providing a bachelor’s degree in film production, direction, and animation.