British model Jourdan Dunn shows off Lebanese look at London launch party

British model Jourdan Dunn shows off Lebanese look at London launch party
British model Jourdan Dunn showed off a gown by Lebanese designer Jean-Louis Sabaji. (Getty Images)
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Updated 05 September 2022

British model Jourdan Dunn shows off Lebanese look at London launch party

British model Jourdan Dunn shows off Lebanese look at London launch party

DUBAI: British model Jourdan Dunn was spotted wearing a glamorous feathered gown by Lebanese designer Jean-Louis Sabaji at a launch party in London on Sunday night.

Dunn attended Editor-In-Chief of British Vogue Edward Enninful's “A Visible Man” book launch at London’s renowned Claridge's Hotel as part of a star-studded list of guests.




(Getty Images)

The likes of Marchioness of Bath Emma Weymouth, TV host Maya Jama and Sabrina Elba, who is married to actor Idris Elba, were seen at the event. Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai and actress Salma Hayek also made an appearance.

Dunn’s figure-hugging, all-black look hailed from Sabaji’s ready-to-wear Spring-Summer 2021 collection and featured elaborate feather detailing on the neckline and across the length of the sleeves.

Beirut-based couturier Jean-Louis Sabaji is no stranger to celebrity endorsements and has dressed stars from the music industry in the past

From Cardi B and Beyonce to Brazilian singer Anitta, the designer’s creations have been spotted on a number of stages and red carpets.

For her part, Dunn complemented her choice of gowns with a slicked back ponytail and dramatic, smoldering eye makeup.

The model was on hand to celebrate the launch of Enninful's book, which traces the journey of the first black person to be named the editor-in-chief of British Vogue.

“When Edward Enninful became the first Black editor-in-chief of British Vogue, few in the world of fashion wanted to confront how it failed to represent the world we live in. But Edward, a champion of inclusion throughout his life, rapidly changed that,” the official description of the book, published by Penguin Random House, reads on the publisher’s website.

“Now, whether it’s putting first responders, octogenarians or civil rights activists on the cover of Vogue, or championing designers and photographers of color, Edward Enninful has cemented his status as one of his world’s most important changemakers,” the description added.

“I wrote ‘A Visible Man’ to share my experiences from childhood to the offices of Vogue, and to show how anyone can make change in the world, with a little passion, perseverance and a pure heart. I'm so excited to publish my memoir next month. When all is said and done, I just want everyone to feel like no matter where they come from in life or whatever their dream is, they can grasp it. Just like I did,” Enninful, who was born in Ghana, wrote on Instagram recently.


RSIFF take two concludes with winning Saudi film

RSIFF take two concludes with winning Saudi film
Updated 38 sec ago

RSIFF take two concludes with winning Saudi film

RSIFF take two concludes with winning Saudi film
  • Hamza Jamjoom, a Saudi filmmaker and producer of the winning film, accepted the award on behalf of Al-Husaini

JEDDAH: Dec. 8 marked the closing ceremony of Red Sea International Film Festival round two, which celebrated storytellers and participants in the festival competitions who stepped out of their comfort zone to share their stories with the world.

Spanish actor Antonio Banderas, supermodel Naomi Campbell, Indian actor Hrithik Roshan, DJ Khaled, former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson, and Hong Kong actor and filmmaker Jackie Chan were among famous faces to appear on the red carpet.

Chan, who is known for his acrobatic fighting style, said that the ceremony night coincided with his 60th year in the film industry.

Jumana Al-Rashed CEO of SRMG left, Antonio Banderas the Spanish legend middle, and, Mohammed Al-Turki CEO of the Red Sea International Film Festival during the festival's closing ceremony. (Supplied)

“I want to thank the RSIFF for this — it is where I can see so many good friends and new friends. Also, this year marks my 60 years in the film business, and I want to share this to the friends around the world,” he said.
 
Winner of the young rising star award was Jeddah-born Saudi actress Sarah Taibah, 33.

Taibah said: “I didn't know that I would be nominated, thank you Red Sea Film Festival. I feel amazing and grateful for being honored in my country and city.”

A Saudi film wins the Red Sea International Film Festival's second round. (Supplied)

Saudi-Kuwaiti production “How I Got There,” an action drama by Zeyad Al-Husaini, won the Film AlUla audience award for best Saudi film.

Hamza Jamjoom, a Saudi filmmaker and producer of the winning film, accepted the award on behalf of Al-Husaini.

Film AlUla audience award for best film went to a Singapore-South Korean production “Ajoomma,” directed by He Shuming.

Meanwhile, Red Sea Virtual Reality features a selection of the latest leading VR storytelling and art projects from award-winning international artists and directors.

The strand was adjudicated by London-based Egyptian documentary filmmaker May Abdalla, Bangladeshi artist Naima Karim and Tribeca Film Festivals Immersive Curator Ana Brzezinska

Brzezinska said: “It has been a real honor to be here at the Red Sea Film Festival to judge the virtual reality election. It is a really amazing moment for this medium with an explosive approach to creative ideas. From the sprint of many projects, it was a real challenge to pick just two.”

The Silver Yusr for Red Sea virtual reality went to “Eurydice” by Celine Daemen, while the winner of the Gold Yusr for Red Sea Virtual Reality was “From the Main Square,” a German film by Pedro Harres.

The Red Sea short competition was judged by filmmaker Joana Hadjithomas, Saudi writer and director Shahad Ameen, and Nigerian actor Ozzy Agu.

The jury gave two awards to the Mongolian and French drama “Snow in September” by Lkhagvadulam Purev-Ochir.

The Silver Yusr for short film went to “Will My Parents Come to See Me,” by Somalian director Muhamed Bashiir Harawe. The Golden Yusr for Short Film went to “On My Father’s Grave,” a Moroccan and French film by Jawahine Zentar.

The Red Sea competition was headed by Oliver Stone, president of this year's jury.

The Silver Yusr for best cinematic achievement went to “Hanging Gardens,” a production of Iraq, Palestine, Egypt, the UK, and Saudi Arabia.

The Silver Yusr award for best actor went to Adam Bessa. The Silver Yusr for best actress went to Adila Bendimarad.

The best screen award was won by “ Childless Village,” by Reza Jamali from Iran.

The Res Sea competition jury prize went to “Within Sand,” a Saudi feature film telling the story of a young man making his way through the desert with the help of a wolf.

“The film is based on actual events that happened in Saudi in early 1900. There is a responsivity to reflect the Saudi culture in the most appropriate way,” director  Mohammed Alatawi told Arab News.

The Silver Yusr award for best director went to Lotfy Nathan for his film “Harka.”

The Golden Yusr for the best feature film went to “Hanging Gardens,” by Ahmed Yassin Al-Daradji.

The festival’s third edition will be held next year in Saudi Arabia. The ceremony concluded with a live performance by Lebanese singer Nancy Ajram.

Though RSIFF festivities and sessions have come to an end, visitors can still enjoy their weekend watching movies from the festival and meeting red-carpet stars.

 


Culture ministry signs deal to support Saudi pop music

Culture ministry signs deal to support Saudi pop music
Updated 09 December 2022

Culture ministry signs deal to support Saudi pop music

Culture ministry signs deal to support Saudi pop music
  • The MoU included a discussion on producing Saudi pop music

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Culture signed a memorandum of understanding with international companies to develop and produce Saudi pop music, host musical events and train Saudi talents.
The signing ceremony took place at the ministry’s headquarters in the Jax neighborhood in Diriyah, where the ministry was represented by Acting CEO of the Music Commission Sultan Al-Bazei.
The MoU included a discussion on producing Saudi pop music, building a musical ecosystem, discovering Saudi talents and developing Saudi pop content, or S-pop, through a Saudi and Korean creative team of writers and producers.
Also discussed was the possibility of establishing a music education center, a training center, and studios for recording music and video clips.
The agreement falls within the efforts of the ministry and its affiliated entities to advance the cultural sector in the Kingdom, support Saudi creatives and empower them with the necessary skills to further their careers.


REVIEW: ‘Next Sohee’ at Red Sea International Film Festival shines a light on workplace cruelty

REVIEW: ‘Next Sohee’ at Red Sea International Film Festival shines a light on workplace cruelty
Updated 09 December 2022

REVIEW: ‘Next Sohee’ at Red Sea International Film Festival shines a light on workplace cruelty

REVIEW: ‘Next Sohee’ at Red Sea International Film Festival shines a light on workplace cruelty

JEDDAH: “Next Sohee,” South Korea’s competition title at the Red Sea International Film Festival, is a hard look at employee exploitation in the workplace.

The film by July Jung examines South Korea’s shoddy treatment of its workers, especially apprentices, who are frequently cheated out of their wages.

This is the second feature from Jung, whose debut work, “A Girl at My Door,” premiered at the 2014 Cannes’ Un Certain Regard and went on to win several awards at other festivals.

“Next Sohee” was inspired by a real-life incident.

At 138 minutes, the movie may be a trifle long, but it explores a pressing issue with a lot of sensitivity.

The film follows Sohee (Kim Si-eun), a high school student, who is thrilled to land a job as an internet service provider in a big company. But a few days into the role, she is shocked when her supervisor commits suicide in her presence. Her new boss is a brutally rude woman, who never misses an opportunity to humiliate Sohee despite her excellent record.

Added to this toxic mix are abusive clients, who often take out their dissatisfaction with the firm on her. In another scene she sees her boyfriend being pushed around by his boss outside his workplace.

Sohee eventually runs away, but shock and hurt take a heavy toll, and she ends her life.

An investigation led by detective Yoo-jin (Doona Bae), who had a personal relationship with Sohee, enrages the boss and the company leaders, who would rather ignore the issue.

The film is a slow-burning expose of workplace ills and the causes behind them.

However, some may find the narrative overly dramatic and exaggerated. For instance, Sohee gets angry with her boss and pushes her to the ground. Is this possible? July is trying to make a point, but this appears a bit over the top.
 


Egyptian actor Mohamed Farrag — ‘I used to put so much hate on myself’ 

Egyptian actor Mohamed Farrag — ‘I used to put so much hate on myself’ 
Updated 09 December 2022

Egyptian actor Mohamed Farrag — ‘I used to put so much hate on myself’ 

Egyptian actor Mohamed Farrag — ‘I used to put so much hate on myself’ 
  • The Arab actor — currently starring in MBC’s ‘Room 207’ — has overcome self-doubt to become one of the Arab world’s most-acclaimed leading men 

DUBAI: Mohamed Farrag did it the hard way. That’s why it feels different. As Arab News sits with the acclaimed Egyptian actor over lunch in Dubai, the proof is in the way that passersby greet him — they are not just meeting a star, they are meeting an artist whose work they deeply admire. 

MBC Shahid’s new series “Room 207” is perhaps Farrag’s finest work yet, and is just beginning to light a fire across the Arabic-speaking world as we speak — establishing him firmly as a leading man, and vindicating his entire approach to acting. 

“If there’s one thing I want to change about this industry, about the mentality of acting in Egypt, it’s this: Anyone can be well known — if I kill somebody, I’m going to be well known — but what’s the purpose of that fame?” Farrag says. “Fame shouldn’t be a goal, it should be a side effect.” 

Mohamed Farrag stars in MBC Shahid’s new series ‘Room 207.’ (Getty Images)

At 39, Farrag has reached the point where he’s earned the right to make such proclamations. After all, he was vital to the success of Mona Zaki’s super-sized 2021 Ramadan hit “Newton’s Cradle,” which became the most-watched Egyptian series of the year and continues to find an audience on Netflix, with many declaring it the best Arab series in years. 

“Room 207,” since its first two episodes debuted on October 31, is being rated even higher, pulling in big enough audiences to make a second season a foregone conclusion even with only half the first having aired.  

That a series that moves Farrag directly into the spotlight would get that sort of immediate reaction is no surprise. He’s built years of goodwill from committed, scene-stealing performances across film, television and theater. What is perhaps surprising about the show is that it it’s a homegrown Egyptian horror series that has become hugely popular. In general, horror is a genre in which only imports receive acclaim in the Arab world.  

“When I was first sent the script, I picked it up to glance at it before I went to bed. I ended up finishing it at 3 a.m. and immediately called the producer, waking him from a sound sleep. I told him that no one was going to do this project but me. I made that vow to him. I needed it to happen,” says Farrag.  

Riham Abdel Ghafour and Farrag in ‘Room 207.’ (Supplied)

The series is based on a novel by acclaimed Egyptian author Ahmed Khaled Tawfik, the third adaptation of his work since he passed away in 2018. The last, Netflix’s big-budget bet “Paranormal” (2020), failed to find an audience despite a massive promotional push, and while “Room 207” may share a passing resemblance, it’s resonating in a way that other adaptations have not, capturing what made Tawfik’s paperbacks fly off the shelves for decades.   

“To be honest, I started to think we were headed for a season two during the second week of shooting. And I’ve never felt that way before,” says Farrag. “This project has a very special place in my heart. I don't choose to do anything I don't love, but this one is special. And it’s not because I'm the hero, it’s because it’s not like anything I’ve seen before. The vibes, the writing, the cast, the way we shoot — I truly love this.” 

Mohamed Farrag with Mona Zaki in 'Newton's Cradle.' (Supplied)

Perhaps the reason that Farrag is responding to it so strongly is that it taps into the precocious boy he once was, the boy who fell in love with television in the first place. 

“When I was a kid, I didn’t want to watch cartoons, I didn’t want to play with my sisters. No. I was always watching TV — but very heavy series made for adults. It was drama, drama, and more drama all the time. I was like an addict, watching things meant for people far older,” says Farrag. “When I went to school, they asked every kid what they wanted to be. I said I wanted to be an actor. I didn’t even know what acting was, but I was committed.” 

At home, Farrag and his sisters would watch movies on VHS until they found a scene they liked in particular. Then they would press stop, and Farrag would quickly scribble down the scene from memory. Then they would act the scenes out together and record their best performances. 

“I still have the tape recordings of our voices from when we were kids. I still listen to them from time to time, when I miss the feeling. It was a feeling of innocence, of passion toward acting. Those were beautiful memories, and I still get emotional when I think about them,” says Farrag. 

There have been many days since Farrag began his career that he has needed those tapes — needed a reminder that he was doing this for a reason. It is only in recent years, he admits, that he has truly felt like he’s ‘made it.’ For years, he felt insecure not only about his career, but also about his ability, often having difficulty watching his own films and series because of how harshly he would judge his own performances. But his ever-growing mastery of his craft eventually overpowered his self-doubt, and made him a fixture on screens across the Arab world. 

“I think I’ve grown up now. Some elements have changed in my character, and it’s clear in my life, in my work, and in the way I see myself. I used to put so much hate on myself, but I’ve found a way out of that. I started to like myself, and I started to be able to watch my work up on the screen with pride,” he says. 

Farrag is in a particularly reflective mood. Perhaps it’s because he just walked out of MBC’s offices, where he witnessed the ecstatic reactions that the company has had to “Room 207” so far, and how committed MBC already was to making a second season happen — and committed to Farrag personally as an A-list leading man for years to come. It was the kind of meeting that makes those harder truths easier to admit, knowing that the happy ending is already here. That boy recording his voice into the tape recorder is now a man helping lead Arabic television to places it’s never been before.  

“I’ve always loved what I do. Even during the hardest moments, if I asked myself if I wanted to keep going, the voice inside me always repeated back, ‘Yes, yes, yes.’ But it feels different now,” he says. “I’m filled with more pride than I ever was before. I love everything that I’ve done, but now I’m excited for the next thing even more. Acting is beautiful, man.” 


Egyptian designer Azza Fahmy pays tribute to classic Arab singers with new jewelry collection 

Egyptian designer Azza Fahmy pays tribute to classic Arab singers with new jewelry collection 
Updated 09 December 2022

Egyptian designer Azza Fahmy pays tribute to classic Arab singers with new jewelry collection 

Egyptian designer Azza Fahmy pays tribute to classic Arab singers with new jewelry collection 

DUBAI: The veteran Egyptian designer Azza Fahmy’s jewelry has become some of the most sought-after in the world. Her signature gold-and-silver pieces, embellished with Arab designs and engravings, have been embraced by Egypt’s top entertainers, including Soad Hosny and Yusra.  

International stars such as Julia Roberts, Kerry Washington and Rihanna have caught on too. “When we explain to them what’s written, they’re happy, because it’s something new,” Fahmy tells Arab News from her base in Cairo. “I’m combining calligraphy, wisdom, and philosophy into what you’re wearing.” 

Fahmy started out professionally in the late Eighties, and her hand-crafted work is informed by her passion for the culture and history of the Arab world; be it the poetry of Kahlil Gibran, the symbols of ancient Egypt, or Mamluk architecture. She likes to call it “intellectual jewelry,” that not only reflects her cultivated upbringing but her ongoing drive to inform the public. 

“I was raised in a household that reads. Books are very important me. Through them, there were a lot of things I liked that affected me,” says Fahmy. “Our jewelry is intellectual because it holds an Arab identity that could change people’s lives, or delight them. I like to share my love of Arab culture with people.”

A piece that is particularly close to Fahmy’s heart is an 18-karat gold and sterling silver ring, inscribed with words from Warda’s classic track “Batwanes Beek.”  (Supplied)

Fahmy recently launched a new music-themed collection that pays tribute to iconic Lebanese, Syrian, Egyptian and Algerian singers who flourished between the Sixties and Nineties. In this collection, everyone gets their due — the lyricists and composers behind each song are mentioned too. “The Golden Age of Arab Love Songs” features rings, bracelets, and necklaces studded with romantic lyrics sung by the likes of Warda, Fayrouz, and Sabah Fakhri.   

A piece that is particularly close to Fahmy’s heart is an 18-karat gold and sterling silver ring, inscribed with words from Warda’s classic track “Batwanes Beek.”  

“I come from the generation of Abdel Halim Hafez, Umm Kulthum, Mohammed Abdel Wahab, and Farid Al-Atrash. They sang great songs,” explains Fahmy. “So I thought to myself, ‘Why don’t I transport that nostalgia?’ Maybe it stirred something in people.”