Italian screenwriter wows cinemagoers on first visit to the Kingdom

Special Italian screenwriter wows cinemagoers on first visit to the Kingdom
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Italian Ambassador Roberto Cantone, left, Giacomo Mazzariol, Tania Mehanna, ambassador’s wife, and Italian diplomat Tommaso Claudi at The Esplanade VOX Cinema in Riyadh. (Supplied)
Special Italian screenwriter wows cinemagoers on first visit to the Kingdom
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Giacomo Mazzariol’s movie, My Brother Chases Dinosaurs, was screened as part of the inaugural European Film Festival, which saw 14 European films shown at The Esplanade VOX Cinema in Riyadh. (Supplied)
Special Italian screenwriter wows cinemagoers on first visit to the Kingdom
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Giacomo Mazzariol’s movie, My Brother Chases Dinosaurs, was screened as part of the inaugural European Film Festival, which saw 14 European films shown at The Esplanade VOX Cinema in Riyadh. (Supplied)
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Updated 27 June 2022

Italian screenwriter wows cinemagoers on first visit to the Kingdom

Italian screenwriter wows cinemagoers on first visit to the Kingdom
  • Giacomo Mazzariol’s movie screened as part of weeklong European Film Festival
  • 25-year-old says he plans to return and hopes to mentor young Saudi talent

RIYADH: An Italian screenwriter has described Saudi Arabia as having “amazing culture and traditions” after delighting cinemagoers with his very first screening in the Kingdom.

But 25-year-old Giacomo Mazzariol said he was nervous about how people might react to his film, “My Brother Chases Dinosaurs.”

“While sitting and watching your movie from another country, your mind is full of fears and doubts,” he told Arab News.

“‘Will my film be welcomed well? Does everything make sense?’ I then relaxed because I realized that people who watched the film were really satisfied and they had a warmhearted reaction. They felt that it was an honest film, full of true emotions.”

Directed by countryman Stefano Cipani, the movie was screened on June 17 as part of the inaugural European Film Festival, which saw 14 European films shown at The Esplanade VOX Cinema in Riyadh.

Mazzariol said the audience was intrigued with the movie and asked him many questions after the screening.

“The people laughed a lot because the film is full of lightness and humor, but also they took it seriously and they were fulfilled by the dramatic and touching parts.

“The story is about the emotional coming of age of my character (Gio), that goes from the incomprehension of the inner world of Gio to the complete acceptance and understanding of his diversity. The journey goes through rage and shame, surprise and courage, fraternity and solitude, and it starts from the birth of Gio till he grows up and becomes a teenager.”

While in Saudi Arabia, Mazzariol and a delegation from the EU were also set to hold a workshop for local talent in collaboration with the Alkhobar-based Arabia Pictures Group, but the event had to be postponed.

“The Kingdom has amazing culture and traditions that should be communicated more to people all over the world, not only with tourism but also through sharing local stories, through art based on nowadays life and perspectives,” he said.

“Arabia Pictures proposed to me to hold it (the workshop) during this edition of the festival, but we didn’t manage to make it happen this time. That is why I am supposed to come back to the Kingdom, during the next edition of the festival.”

Mazzariol said that on his return he hopes to be able to mentor young Saudis who are interested in the film and screenwriting business.

“I think the second edition will be in the late winter or beginning of spring. The main theme will be the relationship between books and movies based on my experience of creating the script of the movie based on my novel.”

He said he hoped to teach Saudi students how to analyze and compare the two arts of writing and film.

“This can be achieved through watching scenes of movies based on books and comparing them with the scenes of a book — Kafka’s works adapted, Dostoevsky works adapted, etc. — and also obtaining the knowledge to distinguish the unicity of those two forms of art.

“Some books are almost impossible to be shot, like ‘Ulysses’ by (James) Joyce, or the work of Proust. Not just for the number of pages, but because they reach a literary high peak which is very specific to literature,” he said.

Mazzariol said he had always had a passion for writing and loved literature classes in school.

“When I was in high school, with all the imagination and ideas that a teenager can have, I began writing for myself and tried to publish some articles.”

His career as a screenwriting began when he published a short film with his brother Gio on YouTube.

“My brother (Gio) with Down syndrome was in the film. It became viral and the person who would become my future editor contacted me to do a book on the video and my story.”

Speaking about the two days he spent in the Kingdom during the film festival, Mazzariol said: “What impressed me the most were the modern buildings, the skyscrapers, the entertainment areas, because it seems futuristic.

“It was the first time for me to visit Saudi Arabia. I love traveling and discovering new countries and thanks to the festival’s organizers and the embassy of Italy, I could get in touch with Saudis that know Saudi Arabia well.

“In the markets of the old town, I got a sensation of being at the door of another world, because there were incredible products from all over the Middle East and Asia.”

The writer said he spent some time studying in King Fahad National Library before exploring some of the natural desert landscapes the Kingdom has to offer.

“I loved the hot winds, sand as far as the eye can see. It was very inspiring because I have always read books from that scenario, for example, ‘One Thousand and One Nights,’ but never experienced it.

“The hospitality of the European Film Festival was very high standard and well done, I thank them a lot. I hope the festival will have great success also in the next editions. I know for sure it is going to be bigger and bigger.”


Christie’s Dubai to exhibit rare Islamic and Mughal finds

Christie’s Dubai to exhibit rare Islamic and Mughal finds
Updated 28 September 2022

Christie’s Dubai to exhibit rare Islamic and Mughal finds

Christie’s Dubai to exhibit rare Islamic and Mughal finds

DUBAI: Set to take place from Sept. 28 to Oct.3, Christie’s Middle East and North Africa has announced a new exhibition open to the public of a selection of important works of art from across a number of forthcoming auctions taking place at Christie’s Dubai.

The exhibition, taking place in DIFC, will showcase a selection of top lots, including paintings, works of art and carpets.

One of the highlights at the exhibition includes works from "Art of the Islamic and Indian Worlds including Oriental Rugs and Carpets" auction.  The first item is an exceptionally rare 17th century Royal Mughal Pashmina carpet, from 1650's Northern India. Another piece of interest is a work from a group of Iznik pottery from The Victor Adda Collection – a collector based in Alexandria in the early 20th century.

Also included in the collection are a number of important Old Master and European paintings. These include Sir Anthony van Dyck's "Portrait of Henrietta Maria." In 1632, van Dyck was appointed as ‘Principal Painter’ to King Charles I of Britain.  

A number of equestrian paintings, including a work by French artist Theodore Gericault and a racing scene by British master Sir Alfred James Munnings, are being showcased, reflecting the region’s considerable passion for horsemanship in all forms.

“This carefully curated selection of important works on exhibition at Christie’s Dubai reflects the discerning taste of collectors across the MENA region, who appreciate the very best quality, artistry, and extraordinary craftsmanship represented by these works across categories.  It is a great honor to be able to showcase these works in Dubai for the first time,: said Arne Everwijn, Director of Business Development Middle East and North Africa, in a statement.


Singer Kylie Minogue to headline a New Year’s Eve gala dinner in Dubai  

Singer Kylie Minogue to headline a New Year’s Eve gala dinner in Dubai  
Updated 28 September 2022

Singer Kylie Minogue to headline a New Year’s Eve gala dinner in Dubai  

Singer Kylie Minogue to headline a New Year’s Eve gala dinner in Dubai  

DUBAI: Australian pop sensation Kylie Minogue is set to headline a New Year’s Eve Gala Dinner at Dubai’s Atlantis, The Palm. 

Minogue will take to the stage in the lead-up to hotel’s 2023 countdown, entertaining guests with anthems such as “Can’t Get You Out Of My Head,” “All The Lovers” and “The Loco-Motion.” 

Her performance will be followed by fireworks and pyrotechnic displays. 

This year’s gala dinner theme is titled “A Night With The Stars.” 

Minogue first performed in the Middle East at the resort’s grand opening back in 2008.

The music sensation has sold more than 80 million albums worldwide and in 2020, made UK chart history becoming the first female solo artist to claim number one albums in five consecutive decades.  

Minogue has multiple awards and accolades to her name, including three BRIT Awards, two MTV Music Awards and a Grammy Award. 

Timothy Kelly, the executive vice president and managing director of Atlantis, said in a statement: “We are incredibly excited to welcome the return of Kylie Minogue to Atlantis, The Palm for a spectacular New Year’s Eve performance.”

“As the leading entertainment destination in the region, our New Year’s Eve Gala Dinners have become legendary, with Kylie joining the likes of rock band KISS in 2020, and Robbie Williams in 2021. We no doubt that 2023 will be another exceptional moment and can’t wait to give our guests one of the most memorable New Year’s Eve of their lives,” added Kelly. 


Syrian architect Faysal Tabbarah to curate the 2023 National Pavilion UAE in Venice

Syrian architect Faysal Tabbarah to curate the 2023 National Pavilion UAE in Venice
Updated 28 September 2022

Syrian architect Faysal Tabbarah to curate the 2023 National Pavilion UAE in Venice

Syrian architect Faysal Tabbarah to curate the 2023 National Pavilion UAE in Venice
  • Designer explores world’s growing aridity with local materials, practices
  • Theme of next year’s event is ‘The Laboratory of the Future’

DUBAI: Syrian architect Faysal Tabbarah is set to curate the National Pavilion UAE exhibition at the 18th Venice Biennale (La Biennale di Venezia), organizers announced this week.

The selected research proposal by Tabbarah, who is an associate dean and associate professor of architecture at the American University of Sharjah, aims to explore the relationship between architecture and dry landscapes in the country.

“My approach will rely on integrating technology with land-based materials practices and knowledge found in arid landscapes in the UAE,” said the Aleppo-born curator in a released statement.

“I am honored to have been selected as the curator for the National Pavilion UAE … Aridity is a fast-approaching future condition for many regions, and through this exhibition, we’ll explore their potential as spaces of abundance and productivity,” he added.

The selected research proposal by Tabbarah aims to explore the relationship between architecture and dry landscapes in the country. (Supplied)

This exhibition will mark Tabbarah’s first participation as a curator of a national pavilion at La Biennale di Venezia, and his second participation in the Architecture Biennale as a whole.

He has previously collaborated with the Kuwait Pavilion’s curators in 2021 for their presentation at the 17th International Architecture Exhibition, or IAE, of the Venice Architecture Biennale, titled “Space Wars.”

Tabbarah was selected following the National Pavilion UAE’s open call which invited designers around the world to develop proposals for the 2023 architecture exhibition.

The applicants were tasked with exploring an intriguing aspect of the UAE’s architecture or built environment that contributes to the discourse around architectural practice locally, regionally and internationally.

Research findings by Tabbarah, to be exhibited in Venice and supplemented with an accompanying publication, aim to respond to the Architecture Biennale 2023’s theme “The Laboratory of the Future,” which is being curated by Ghanaian-Scottish architect, academic, educator and best-selling novelist, Lesley Lokko.

The National Pavilion UAE will present its exhibition from May 20 to Nov. 26, 2023, with the pre-opening on May 18 and 19.

Next year will mark the UAE’s 12th exhibition at the Art and Architecture International Exhibitions organized by La Biennale di Venezia since 2009 and its fifth participation in the IAE. The pavilion won the Golden Lion award for the best national participation in the 17th IAE La Biennale di Venezia in 2021 for its exhibition “Wetland.”


Director Bassam Tariq exits Marvel’s ‘Blade’ over schedule conflicts  

Director Bassam Tariq exits Marvel’s ‘Blade’ over schedule conflicts  
Updated 28 September 2022

Director Bassam Tariq exits Marvel’s ‘Blade’ over schedule conflicts  

Director Bassam Tariq exits Marvel’s ‘Blade’ over schedule conflicts  

DUBAI: US Pakistani filmmaker Bassam Tariq has exited his role as director of Marvel Studios’ “Blade” due to shifts in production schedule, according to a report by Variety.

Tariq’s departure comes before production was set to commence in November on Marvel’s upcoming feature about the iconic comic book vampire slayer. The film stars Mahershala Ali in the title role, alongside a cast that includes Delroy Lindo and Aaron Pierre.

“It’s been an honor working with the wonderful folks at Marvel. We were able to put together a killer cast and crew. Eager to see where the next director takes the film,” Tariq said in a statement, confirming his exit as director.


Part-Lebanese singer Shakira to face trial for tax fraud in Spain

Part-Lebanese singer Shakira to face trial for tax fraud in Spain
Updated 27 September 2022

Part-Lebanese singer Shakira to face trial for tax fraud in Spain

Part-Lebanese singer Shakira to face trial for tax fraud in Spain

BARCELONA: A Spanish judge on Tuesday approved a trial for Lebanese Colombian pop singer Shakira on charges of tax fraud.

Spanish prosecutors accused the entertainer in 2018 of failing to pay $13.9 in taxes on income earned between 2012 and 2014. Prosecutors are seeking an eight-year prison sentence and a hefty fine if she is found guilty of tax evasion.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Shakira (@shakira)

Shakira, 45, has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and rejected a deal with authorities to avoid going to trial. Her public relations firm has said that she has already paid all that she owed and an additional $2.8 million in interest.

The date for the trial has yet to be set.

The case hinges on where Shakira lived during 2012-14. Prosecutors in Barcelona have alleged the Grammy winner spent more than half of that period in Spain and should have paid taxes in the country, even though her official residence was in the Bahamas.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Shakira (@shakira)

Shakira, whose full name is Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll, has been linked to Spain since she started dating soccer player Gerard Pique. The couple, who have two children, used to live together in Barcelona but recently ended their 11-year relationship.

Spain has cracked down on soccer stars like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo over the past decade for not paying their full due in taxes. Both players were found guilty of evasion and received prison sentences that were waived for first-time offenders.