Nice film festival winner ‘The Whaler’ portrays Saudi fisherman, marine life

Special Nice film festival winner ‘The Whaler’ portrays Saudi fisherman, marine life
1 / 3
‘The Whaler’ documents the lives of fishermen in Saudi Arabia, showcasing the beauty of the Kingdom and its maritime world to international audiences.
Special Nice film festival winner ‘The Whaler’ portrays Saudi fisherman, marine life
2 / 3
‘The Whaler’ documents the lives of fishermen in Saudi Arabia, showcasing the beauty of the Kingdom and its maritime world to international audiences.
Special Nice film festival winner ‘The Whaler’ portrays Saudi fisherman, marine life
3 / 3
Saleh Bukhamseen is a self-taught underwater cinematographer with eight years of experience.
Short Url
Updated 14 August 2022

Nice film festival winner ‘The Whaler’ portrays Saudi fisherman, marine life

Nice film festival winner ‘The Whaler’ portrays Saudi fisherman, marine life
  • Filmmaker Saleh Bukhamseen: ‘I wanted to capture the spirit of the people who make their livelihood from marine life and showcase their determination’
  • Bukhamseen said that he was first inspired to shoot his film when he began diving and saw the life and beauty that lies beneath the Red Sea’s surface

RIYADH: Saudi short film “The Whaler” on May 22 won the Science Award at the 2022 Nice International Film Festival, held in the south of France.

The film documents the lives of fishermen in Saudi Arabia, showcasing the beauty of the Kingdom and its maritime world to international audiences. 

It provides unique insight into past and present generations of fishermen — known as “hawata” (Arabic for “whalers”) — through Abu Hilal, an esteemed elder of Yanbu’s fishing scene.

A coastal and industrial city on the Red Sea, Yanbu is strategically located as it is close to the Suez Canal.

Speaking to Arab News, filmmaker Saleh Bukhamseen said: “One major challenge that we — the cameraman Wael and myself — faced when filming ‘The Whaler’ was the extreme weather conditions and the obstruction of the Suez Canal, which happened in 2021.”

Bukhamseen is a self-taught underwater cinematographer with eight years of experience. He combines his passion for diving and filmmaking to create unique films that highlight the beauty of the sea, its creatures and its relationship with humans.

“I wanted to capture the spirit of the people who make their livelihood from marine life and showcase their determination. Fish is a mealtime favorite for many, especially on a Friday, but do we realize the amazing journey behind this beautiful meal? ‘Hawata’ will show you this!” said Bukhamseen.

He has worked on several projects for the Saudi Arabian government, such as films promoting tourism, and has produced short documentaries.

“When you combine talent and passion, there is no limit. It takes a lot of effort to be a writer, producer, director, underwater cameraman and editor all at once, but with teamwork, spectacular results can be achieved,” said Bukhamseen, who filmed and produced “The Whaler” alongside only one other person — his cameraman Wael.

Bukhamseen said that he was first inspired to shoot his film when he began diving and saw the life and beauty that lies beneath the Red Sea’s surface. What he could not describe in words, he said, he captured on film.

“The Whaler,” only 12 minutes long, will be available for the world to see once the film festival tour concludes. Bukhamseen said that these few minutes took five months to prepare, film, edit and present to audiences and panelists.

In its 10th edition, the Nice International Film Festival is held annually in Nice, France.

The week-long event allows aspiring independent filmmakers to showcase their work to an international audience.

“Nice International Film Festival has strict criteria its awards, which cover originality, creativity, film quality, story structure and editing,” said Bukhamseen. “‘Hawata’ was judged by a panel of international film experts to assess whether or not the film deserves to win the trophy.” 

During the festival, the audience is presented with films over a period of a week, which concludes with a prestigious ceremony in which exceptionally talented filmmakers, screenwriters and actors receive awards for their respective film categories.

Bukhamseen told Arab News that he is proud to represent his country, Saudi Arabia, and encourages all aspiring filmmakers to follow their hearts, develop their technical skills and, above all else, respect the environment.

Besides “The Whaler,” he has produced three films: “Plastic Inferno,” “Strange Neighbor” and “The Patient Minarets,” all of which are environmental documentaries.


Summits in Riyadh reflect Kingdom’s desire to enhance relations with China: Saudi foreign minister

Summits in Riyadh reflect Kingdom’s desire to enhance relations with China: Saudi foreign minister
Updated 8 sec ago

Summits in Riyadh reflect Kingdom’s desire to enhance relations with China: Saudi foreign minister

Summits in Riyadh reflect Kingdom’s desire to enhance relations with China: Saudi foreign minister
  • Speaking as Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Riyadh for an official visit, Prince Faisal bin Farhan said bilateral relations are characterized by friendship, trust, cooperation and coordination
  • Xi is expected to attend a Saudi-Chinese summit, the Gulf-China Summit for Cooperation and Development, and the Riyadh Arab-China Summit for Cooperation and Development

RIYADH: Three summits due to take place in Riyadh in the coming days reflect the shared determination of the Kingdom, the other Gulf Cooperation Council nations and the wider Arab world to strengthen cooperation and enhance strategic relations with China in pursuit of greater growth and prosperity for all of the countries and their peoples, according to Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan.

“The relations between the Kingdom and China are strategic and close in light of the international developments and changes taking place,” he said.

He added that the bilateral relationship is characterized by friendship, mutual trust, cooperation and continuous coordination, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

His comments came as Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Riyadh on Wednesday evening for a three-day official visit, during which he is expected to attend a Saudi-Chinese summit, the Gulf-China Summit for Cooperation and Development, and the Riyadh Arab-China Summit for Cooperation and Development.

Prince Faisal praised the contribution made by a high-level Saudi-Chinese joint committee to the development of relations between the two countries in many fields. He said the bilateral economic relationship is progressing rapidly against the backdrop of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 development and diversification plan and China’s Belt and Road Initiative, which offer promising opportunities for cooperation, sustainable development and mutual benefits.

He added that China has ranked as the Kingdom’s top trading partner since 2018, and that the value of bilateral trade in 2021 was SR309 billion ($82.1 billion), an increase of 39 percent compared with the previous year.


Culture can open the door to a ‘green’ future, says Saudi minister

Culture can open the door to a ‘green’ future, says Saudi minister
Updated 19 min 39 sec ago

Culture can open the door to a ‘green’ future, says Saudi minister

Culture can open the door to a ‘green’ future, says Saudi minister
  • Prince Badr met with a number of his counterparts on the sidelines of the forum
  • A number of agreements were signed during bilateral meetings to enhance cultural cooperation

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Culture, in cooperation with the Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization, on Wednesday organized the 23rd Conference of Arab Culture Ministers in the capital, Riyadh, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The event, which was held under the patronage of Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan, minister of culture, and chairman of the National Committee for Education, Culture and Science, was attended by ministers and officials from 20 Arab countries, as well as representatives of the Arab League, and regional and international organizations.

The minister of culture, who is also president of the 23rd session, said: “This year’s session, whose main theme is: ‘Culture and the green future,’ aims to make the cultural sector more sustainable, as we seek to make it the starting point of international efforts involving the cultural sector with its various branches, extending to cover all elements of its value chain.”

He added: “The utilization of culture toward the green future contributes to instilling culture in the global development debate, which receives the full attention of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, through the Kingdom’s participation in global cultural platforms, where the ‘Culture and the green future’ theme conforms to the goals of the Kingdom Vision 2030.”

He said that this, in return, highlights the Kingdom’s support of collective efforts to enhance knowledge, skills and practices related to making the cultural sector more sustainable and environmentally friendly.

During the conference, ministers focused on the role of culture in achieving sustainable development, while working to develop effective sectorial policies that bring added value to collective efforts to move toward a more creative and sustainable future.

Meanwhile, Prince Badr met with his Egyptian counterpart Nevin Al-Kilany on the sidelines of the forum, where the two sides signed a memorandum of understanding to enhance cooperation in the cultural field.

The memorandum included cultural fields, such as heritage, visual arts, performing arts, literature, books and publishing, Islamic decoration and other creative tracks.

It also included work to enhance the participation of Saudi and Egyptian intellectuals in festivals and cultural events held in the two countries, in addition to joint cooperation in training and qualifying local artistic cadres, and benefiting from experiences in the two countries in the fields of museums, urban heritage and handicraft industries.

Prince Badr praised the strong strategic relations that link the Kingdom with Egypt in all cultural fields. The two parties also discussed cooperation in the field of registering intangible heritage files with UNESCO, and cooperation in the field of exchanging expertise through cultural scholarship programs.

Prince Badr met with the Moroccan Minister of Youth, Culture and Communication Mohamed Mehdi Bensaid where another agreement was signed to enhance cultural cooperation in various fields, including literature, publishing and translation, heritage, architecture and design, museums, theater and performing arts.

The memorandum also included enhancing the participation of Saudi and Moroccan intellectuals in festivals and cultural events held in the two countries, in addition to exchanging expertise in organizations and cultural policies.

He also held similar meetings with the Director-General of the Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization Salem Al-Malik, and the Director-General of ALECSO, Mohamed Ould Amar, where they discussed the most prominent current cooperation programs between the organizations and the Kingdom, and memoranda of understanding were signed.

He also met with his Tunisian and Djiboutian counterparts, and the president of the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities.


Saudi Arabia, ALECSO sign cultural cooperation agreement 

Saudi Arabia, ALECSO sign cultural cooperation agreement 
Updated 08 December 2022

Saudi Arabia, ALECSO sign cultural cooperation agreement 

Saudi Arabia, ALECSO sign cultural cooperation agreement 

Saudi Minister of Culture Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan met Director General of the Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization Mohamed Ould Amar in Riyadh on Wednesday.

The meeting was part of the Saudi minister’s bilateral discussions on the sidelines of the 23rd session of the Conference of Arab Culture Ministers, which was held in the Saudi capital and organized by the Ministry of Culture in cooperation with ALECSO.

During the meeting, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the ministry and ALECSO to enhance cultural cooperation through a range of items, including registering natural sites and heritage elements in UNESCO lists.
 


Saudi FM attends GCC preparatory session ahead of summit

Saudi FM attends GCC preparatory session ahead of summit
Updated 07 December 2022

Saudi FM attends GCC preparatory session ahead of summit

Saudi FM attends GCC preparatory session ahead of summit

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan on Wednesday participated in the work of the 154th session of the preparatory ministerial council for the 43rd session of the Supreme Council of the Gulf Cooperation Council, which was held at the headquarters of the GCC General Secretariat in Riyadh.
The meeting was chaired by Oman’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sayyid Badr Albusaidi, who is also president of the council’s current session, with the participation of Gulf foreign ministers, and GCC Secretary-General Dr. Nayef Al-Hajraf.
During the meeting, the ministers discussed ways of enhancing the process of joint cooperation and coordination between the GCC countries, and the developments of the situation in the region.
They also discussed the latest regional and international developments, and the schedule of the work of the Chinese-Gulf Summit for Cooperation and Development that will be attended by Chinese President Xi Jinping and GCC leaders.


Swedish envoy, OIC chief in cooperation talks

Swedish envoy, OIC chief in cooperation talks
Updated 07 December 2022

Swedish envoy, OIC chief in cooperation talks

Swedish envoy, OIC chief in cooperation talks

RIYADH: Sweden’s envoy to Saudi Arabia recently met with the secretary-general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation for talks on ways to further strengthen cooperation links.

During their meeting in Jeddah, ambassador Petra Menander and OIC chief Hissein Brahim Taha also discussed other issues of mutual concern.

In a tweet, Menander said: “Excellent discussion with Hissein Brahim Taha, secretary-general of @OIC_OCI on topics of common interest — need to increase global levels of humanitarian support, women, and youth empowerment, and more. Looking forward to continued dialogue.”

While visiting the Red Sea port city, the Swedish envoy also met with Saudi doctors trained in Sweden and now working in the Kingdom.

In a separate tweet, she said: “In Jeddah, catching up with Saudi doctors with specialist training from top university hospitals (in Skane/SUS, Sahlgrenska), now all leaders in healthcare.

“Great discussion on primary healthcare, workplace conditions, and other topics of common interest. Great to see you all — greetings to absent friends,” she added.

The new Swedish ambassador submitted her credentials to Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in September.

On behalf of Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan, deputy minister for protocol affairs, Khalid Al-Sehli, received a copy of Menander’s credentials.

In October, Menander held a meeting with Saudi Minister of Economy and Planning Faisal bin Fadel Al-Ibrahim to discuss topics of common interest and areas to develop cooperation.

The Saudi-Swedish Business Council was launched in October 2021 and inaugurated in Sweden’s capital Stockholm by Saudi Minister of Commerce Dr. Majid bin Abdullah Al-Qasabi and Swedish Foreign Trade Minister Anna Hallberg.

Al-Qasabi said the council acted as a mainstay in stimulating and encouraging the private sectors of both countries while helping in the development of bilateral relations, exchange of expertise and knowledge, and the coordination of investment planning and related partnerships.

He added that Saudi Arabia was, “keen to enhance trade cooperation, facilitate exports to Sweden and Scandinavian countries, and exchange expertise and knowledge.”

Saudi Arabia is Sweden’s most significant economic partner in the Middle East and the No. 1 trade partner among Scandinavian countries, with the volume of trade exchange in the past five years reaching more than $6 billion.