Marvel faces online backlash over Israeli superhero Sabra

Marvel faces online backlash over Israeli superhero Sabra
Israeli actress Shira Haas has been cast to play Israeli superhero Sabra in an upcoming Marvel film. (AFP)
Short Url
Updated 12 September 2022

Marvel faces online backlash over Israeli superhero Sabra

Marvel faces online backlash over Israeli superhero Sabra

DUBAI: Over the weekend, it was announced at the D23 Expo that the upcoming Marvel film “Captain America: New World Order” will feature the Marvel Cinematic Universe debut of Israeli superhero Sabra, to be played by Israeli actress Shira Haas, prompting a wave of criticism from netizens.

Although the term “Sabra” refers to a Jewish person born in Israel, some social media users took to Twitter and TikTok to slam the announcement, saying the character’s name was insensitive considering the Sabra and Shatila massacre of 1982.




Created by writer Bill Mantlo and artist Sal Buscema, Ruth Bat Seraph, aka Sabra, made her first brief appearance in the 1980’s Incredible Hulk comic. (Marvel)

On Sept. 16, 1982, Lebanese Christian militiamen entered Beirut’s Sabra neighborhood and the nearby Shatila refugee camp and — as the Israeli troops that had invaded Lebanon three months earlier looked on, blocked exits and illuminated the scene at night with flares — embarked on a 36-hour massacre of Muslim men, women and children that left hundreds dead.

In light of the event, some social media users are calling the superhero’s name into question.

On Twitter, @yumna_patel discussed the origin of the Sabra name, writing, “apparently ‘Sabra’ is a term used to refer to Jews born in historic Palestine (correct me if I’m wrong). It is also the name of the neighborhood in Beirut where Israeli forces oversaw the massacre of thousands of Palestinian refugees in the Sabra and Shatila Massacre in 1982.”

“Can someone explain to me why they keep using the name Sabra? The first thing pretty much every Palestinian remembers when we read or hear Sabra is the massacre of Sabra Shatilla, it feels deliberate,” one Twitter user wrote.

Other critics lamented Marvel’s inclusion of an Israeli superhero, regardless of the character’s name.

Matthew John wrote “Israel’s Marvel superhero Sabra has many powers, including demolishing Palestinian homes…”

There was some support for the announcement online, with one user writing: “Wow. Marvel actually got a Jewish actress to play a Jewish character. Gotta admit, I didn’t see Sabra coming. I’m excited and worried at the same time. Here’s hoping they do it right (sic).”

Created by writer Bill Mantlo and artist Sal Buscema, Ruth Bat Seraph, aka Sabra, made her first brief appearance in the 1980’s “Incredible Hulk #250” before making her official debut in 1981’s “Incredible Hulk #256.”

A mutant with superhuman strength and the ability to transfer her life force to other people, she is also skilled in weaponry and hand-to-hand combat, and can fly with the help of her anti-gravity wrist bands. She has fought against and alongside the Hulk, and has teamed up with the X-Men and the Avengers.


Saudi sci-fi thriller ‘Slave’ debuts at Red Sea International Film Festival

Saudi sci-fi thriller ‘Slave’ debuts at Red Sea International Film Festival
Updated 1 min 29 sec ago

Saudi sci-fi thriller ‘Slave’ debuts at Red Sea International Film Festival

Saudi sci-fi thriller ‘Slave’ debuts at Red Sea International Film Festival
  • Film’s director Mansour Assad ensured film’s intricate scenes were detailed, authentic 

RIYADH: “Slave,” a sci-fi thriller, premiered at the Red Sea International Film Festival 2022 this week and the film’s executive producer and director gave a glimpse of what went behind the scenes. 

“It is impossible for me to make another film in which I will have strong feelings like this movie because many of the events in this movie happened to me in real life or in a similar way,” said Mansour Assad. “The movie is a story that I have wanted to tell people for a long time.” 

Mansour Assad, executive producer and director of ‘Slave.’ (Supplied)

The main cast of the film comprises Mohammed Ali, Khairiah Abulaban, and Ziyad Alamri. 

The film tells the story of a man named Sakker and his wife, Latifa who made a movie that resulted in anger and backlash from society. 

Sakker was then presented with an option to continue living his life the way it is with society enraged at him and his wife or travel back in time to appease his community.

“He is a slave to his family, friends, and people. He cares about their opinion and the opinion of society, and he cannot settle anything unless society approves of it, so he is a slave to society,” Assad explained.

Sakker decides to return back in time to conform to the expectations of his community but then finds himself stuck in an endless time loop, becoming a slave to societal norms.

“The name of the movie is ‘Slave’ because it’s bold. The filming method is bold, in which the colors are blue, pink, blue, and red. Everyone who wears these colors is considered strange,” Assad said.

“The story is bold. We did not adhere to the traditional boundaries of stories we are used to. The story is long and contains science fiction … it requires double the effort of a traditional film.”

The director explained that the filming of each scene was intricate and detailed, requiring comprehensive training to ensure authenticity in the situations.

“The film had many different scenes, some were action scenes others drama that required specific training. Every time we filmed a specific scene, there was a lot of training behind it,” Assad said.

“Sometimes we would go to the main character's apartment, Alamri and we would both just sit there alone and practice the different scenes.” 

Assad highlighted that one of the film’s scenes took place in a hospital where one of the characters was being treated. Before filming the scene, the director brought in a doctor specializing in the condition the patient faced in order to give insights into mannerisms, treatment, and condition.

“The doctor gave us advice on the condition, and the equipment in the hospital used to treat the patient on the scene. Every detail was focused on from the way the doctor spoke to the appearance and all of the details around him. Each scene we filmed required this intense level of training,” Assad said.

The film, which began shooting in October 2021 and concluded in August 2022, was shot in Riyadh. The filming phase of the movie took 9 days only but was filmed in three phases throughout the year to acquire funding as the filming process progressed.

“The time of writing the script and filming the scenes was different in this film, firstly I wanted to create this film without waiting for anyone. I wanted to work on it, I didn’t want to wait until I received support or funding, or when I became a better director. I wanted to create this film whether it turns out good or bad, I wanted more experience to do feature films,” Assad said.

“I began the film without any support and we filmed in three phases, each phase we would finish and edit the film and then go acquire funding by showing the producer or fenders what we completed,” he added.

The director’s advice to budding filmmakers is to start independently and not to wait for formal funding or support to come to them.

“Start your project yourself and make mistakes. People aren't going to judge you because they'll know that you did everything yourself so they will overlook many of your mistakes in the film. 

“You as a filmmaker will also gain more experience, when you go to an entity that has a fund they will be more confident in you because you made a film. 

“Make your first film and make it with the lowest budget you possibly can, you'll gain experience, and people won't judge your mistakes, everyone wins,” he said.

“I am waiting for the feedback and responses from audiences and critics, real and authentic responses. I don't need them to support me by flattering me. Or to say that they enjoyed the film when they didn't I want to hear all of their criticisms and observations, no matter how strong the criticism is, I don't get upset because this is going to help me,” the director said.  
 


Saudi sci-fi thriller ‘Slave’ debuts at Red Sea International Film Festival

Saudi sci-fi thriller ‘Slave’ debuts at Red Sea International Film Festival
Updated 46 min 44 sec ago

Saudi sci-fi thriller ‘Slave’ debuts at Red Sea International Film Festival

Saudi sci-fi thriller ‘Slave’ debuts at Red Sea International Film Festival
  • Film’s director Mansour Assad ensured film’s intricate scenes were detailed, authentic 

RIYADH: “Slave,” a sci-fi thriller, premiered at the Red Sea International Film Festival 2022 this week and the film’s executive producer and director gave a glimpse of what went behind the scenes. 

“It is impossible for me to make another film in which I will have strong feelings like this movie because many of the events in this movie happened to me in real life or in a similar way,” said Mansour Assad. “The movie is a story that I have wanted to tell people for a long time.” 

Mansour Assad, executive producer and director of ‘Slave.’ (Supplied)

The main cast of the film comprises Mohammed Ali, Khairiah Abulaban, and Ziyad Alamri. 

The film tells the story of a man named Sakker and his wife, Latifa who made a movie that resulted in anger and backlash from society. 

Sakker was then presented with an option to continue living his life the way it is with society enraged at him and his wife or travel back in time to appease his community.

“He is a slave to his family, friends, and people. He cares about their opinion and the opinion of society, and he cannot settle anything unless society approves of it, so he is a slave to society,” Assad explained.

Sakker decides to return back in time to conform to the expectations of his community but then finds himself stuck in an endless time loop, becoming a slave to societal norms.

“The name of the movie is ‘Slave’ because it’s bold. The filming method is bold, in which the colors are blue, pink, blue, and red. Everyone who wears these colors is considered strange,” Assad said.

“The story is bold. We did not adhere to the traditional boundaries of stories we are used to. The story is long and contains science fiction … it requires double the effort of a traditional film.”

The director explained that the filming of each scene was intricate and detailed, requiring comprehensive training to ensure authenticity in the situations.

“The film had many different scenes, some were action scenes others drama that required specific training. Every time we filmed a specific scene, there was a lot of training behind it,” Assad said.

“Sometimes we would go to the main character's apartment, Alamri and we would both just sit there alone and practice the different scenes.” 

Assad highlighted that one of the film’s scenes took place in a hospital where one of the characters was being treated. Before filming the scene, the director brought in a doctor specializing in the condition the patient faced in order to give insights into mannerisms, treatment, and condition.

“The doctor gave us advice on the condition, and the equipment in the hospital used to treat the patient on the scene. Every detail was focused on from the way the doctor spoke to the appearance and all of the details around him. Each scene we filmed required this intense level of training,” Assad said.

The film, which began shooting in October 2021 and concluded in August 2022, was shot in Riyadh. The filming phase of the movie took 9 days only but was filmed in three phases throughout the year to acquire funding as the filming process progressed.

“The time of writing the script and filming the scenes was different in this film, firstly I wanted to create this film without waiting for anyone. I wanted to work on it, I didn’t want to wait until I received support or funding, or when I became a better director. I wanted to create this film whether it turns out good or bad, I wanted more experience to do feature films,” Assad said.

“I began the film without any support and we filmed in three phases, each phase we would finish and edit the film and then go acquire funding by showing the producer or fenders what we completed,” he added.

The director’s advice to budding filmmakers is to start independently and not to wait for formal funding or support to come to them.

“Start your project yourself and make mistakes. People aren't going to judge you because they'll know that you did everything yourself so they will overlook many of your mistakes in the film. 

“You as a filmmaker will also gain more experience, when you go to an entity that has a fund they will be more confident in you because you made a film. 

“Make your first film and make it with the lowest budget you possibly can, you'll gain experience, and people won't judge your mistakes, everyone wins,” he said.

“I am waiting for the feedback and responses from audiences and critics, real and authentic responses. I don't need them to support me by flattering me. Or to say that they enjoyed the film when they didn't I want to hear all of their criticisms and observations, no matter how strong the criticism is, I don't get upset because this is going to help me,” the director said.  
 


Sci-fi thriller ‘Slave’ set to debut at Red Sea International Film Festival

Sci-fi thriller ‘Slave’ set to debut at Red Sea International Film Festival
Updated 54 min 32 sec ago

Sci-fi thriller ‘Slave’ set to debut at Red Sea International Film Festival

Sci-fi thriller ‘Slave’ set to debut at Red Sea International Film Festival
  • Film’s director Mansour Assad ensured film’s intricate scenes were detailed, authentic 

RIYADH: “Slave,” a sci-fi thriller, premiered at the Red Sea International Film Festival 2022 this week and the film’s executive producer and director gave a glimpse of what went behind the scenes. 

“It is impossible for me to make another film in which I will have strong feelings like this movie because many of the events in this movie happened to me in real life or in a similar way,” said Mansour Assad. “The movie is a story that I have wanted to tell people for a long time.” 

Mansour Assad, executive producer and director of ‘Slave.’ (Supplied)

The main cast of the film comprises Mohammed Ali, Khairiah Abulaban, and Ziyad Alamri. 

The film tells the story of a man named Sakker and his wife, Latifa who made a movie that resulted in anger and backlash from society. 

Sakker was then presented with an option to continue living his life the way it is with society enraged at him and his wife or travel back in time to appease his community.

“He is a slave to his family, friends, and people. He cares about their opinion and the opinion of society, and he cannot settle anything unless society approves of it, so he is a slave to society,” Assad explained.

Sakker decides to return back in time to conform to the expectations of his community but then finds himself stuck in an endless time loop, becoming a slave to societal norms.

“The name of the movie is ‘Slave’ because it’s bold. The filming method is bold, in which the colors are blue, pink, blue, and red. Everyone who wears these colors is considered strange,” Assad said.

“The story is bold. We did not adhere to the traditional boundaries of stories we are used to. The story is long and contains science fiction … it requires double the effort of a traditional film.”

The director explained that the filming of each scene was intricate and detailed, requiring comprehensive training to ensure authenticity in the situations.

“The film had many different scenes, some were action scenes others drama that required specific training. Every time we filmed a specific scene, there was a lot of training behind it,” Assad said.

“Sometimes we would go to the main character's apartment, Alamri and we would both just sit there alone and practice the different scenes.” 

Assad highlighted that one of the film’s scenes took place in a hospital where one of the characters was being treated. Before filming the scene, the director brought in a doctor specializing in the condition the patient faced in order to give insights into mannerisms, treatment, and condition.

“The doctor gave us advice on the condition, and the equipment in the hospital used to treat the patient on the scene. Every detail was focused on from the way the doctor spoke to the appearance and all of the details around him. Each scene we filmed required this intense level of training,” Assad said.

The film, which began shooting in October 2021 and concluded in August 2022, was shot in Riyadh. The filming phase of the movie took 9 days only but was filmed in three phases throughout the year to acquire funding as the filming process progressed.

“The time of writing the script and filming the scenes was different in this film, firstly I wanted to create this film without waiting for anyone. I wanted to work on it, I didn’t want to wait until I received support or funding, or when I became a better director. I wanted to create this film whether it turns out good or bad, I wanted more experience to do feature films,” Assad said.

“I began the film without any support and we filmed in three phases, each phase we would finish and edit the film and then go acquire funding by showing the producer or fenders what we completed,” he added.

The director’s advice to budding filmmakers is to start independently and not to wait for formal funding or support to come to them.

“Start your project yourself and make mistakes. People aren't going to judge you because they'll know that you did everything yourself so they will overlook many of your mistakes in the film. 

“You as a filmmaker will also gain more experience, when you go to an entity that has a fund they will be more confident in you because you made a film. 

“Make your first film and make it with the lowest budget you possibly can, you'll gain experience, and people won't judge your mistakes, everyone wins,” he said.

“I am waiting for the feedback and responses from audiences and critics, real and authentic responses. I don't need them to support me by flattering me. Or to say that they enjoyed the film when they didn't I want to hear all of their criticisms and observations, no matter how strong the criticism is, I don't get upset because this is going to help me,” the director said.  
 


Andra Day stuns in Lebanese label at ceremony awarding Black excellence

Andra Day stuns in Lebanese label at ceremony awarding Black excellence
Updated 07 December 2022

Andra Day stuns in Lebanese label at ceremony awarding Black excellence

Andra Day stuns in Lebanese label at ceremony awarding Black excellence

DUBAI: Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter and actress Andra Day stunned audiences at the Critics Choice Association’s fifth annual Celebration of Black Cinema and Television on Tuesday when she arrived on the red-carpet wearing Lebanese label Zuhair Murad.

In an off-shoulder metallic gown with billowing sleeves, the Oscar-nominated star’s look gave off festive vibes while remaining chic and stylish.

Meanwhile, the celebration culminated in the evening’s most anticipated honor — the presentation of the Career Achievement Award to Oscar-nominated actress Angela Bassett.

The actress most recently starred in Ryan Coogler’s “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” and is known for her roles in movies including “Boyz n the Hood” and the Tina Turner biopic “What’s Love Got to Do with It."

“My representation of you on screen put me on a path as a little Black girl — a high school student that lived in the Jordan Park housing project in St. Petersburg, Fla. — that I only dreamed of because of you,” Bassett said in her acceptance speech, addressing the packed room, according to a report in Variety.

“My dreams were not only fulfilled, but your stories have been immortalized — some of them for future generations to discover and enjoy.”

Another “Black Panther” star, Michael B. Jordan, was also in attendance. The actor received the Melvin Van Peebles Trailblazer Award in recognition of his seasoned career and upcoming directorial debut with “Creed III.”

The 35-year-old looked dapper in a purple jacket over a black button-down shirt and black loafers. He was joined by his parents, Michael A. Jordan and Donna Jordan, and his sister Jamila Jordan.

“The Bear” star Ayo Edebiri was also awarded the Rising Star Award, presented by IMDbPro for her work on the lauded FX series.

Other talent in attendance included “Abbott Elementary” creator and star Quinta Brunson; Quincy Isaiah, who plays Magic Johnson in HBO’s “Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty;” “Devotion” lead and Marvel star Jonathan Majors; and the ensemble cast of ABC’s “The Wonder Years” revival.

This year’s ceremony took place Dec. 5 at the Fairmont Century Plaza Hotel and was hosted by actor-comedian Bill Bellamy. The event serves to recognize Black performers and filmmakers who are making stellar contributions to the film and television industry.


Netflix celebrates iconic Arab women filmmakers at RSIFF

Netflix celebrates iconic Arab women filmmakers at RSIFF
Updated 06 December 2022

Netflix celebrates iconic Arab women filmmakers at RSIFF

Netflix celebrates iconic Arab women filmmakers at RSIFF
  • Netflix hosted a creative space at Red Sea Souk to celebrate the pioneering spirit of four Arab filmmakers, Hana Al-Omair, Hend Sabri, Kaouther Ben Hania and Tima Shomali
  • Hana Al-Omair: I am so happy with the new change that the Saudi film industry is experiencing, especially with more females behind cameras and on-screen, and actresses

JEDDAH: Global video streaming giant Netflix recently released a specially curated collection of 21 Arab films in 2022 by women filmmakers spanning various genres, including documentaries, drama, and romance, as part of a dedicated collection titled “Because She Created.”

During the first six days of the Red Sea International Film Festival, Netflix hosted a creative space at Red Sea Souk to celebrate the pioneering spirit of four iconic women filmmakers from the Arab world, including Hana Al-Omair from Saudi Arabia, Hend Sabri and Kaouther Ben Hania from Tunisia, and Jordan’s Tima Shomali.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by هند صبري (@hendsabri)

The space aims to amplify women filmmakers’ voices to an international audience of esteemed industry professionals and future generations of female storytellers throughout the “Because She Created” platform so that more stories from the Arab world can be loved globally.

Al-Omair and Shomali showed up on the fifth day of the RSIFF for media junkets.

Al-Omair told Arab News that she likes to add a female element to her working crew because it adds balance.

Hana Al-Omair is from Saudi Arabia. (Supplied)

“I personally think that in front and behind of the camera, the more female characters, the better, because it is always about the stories by nature, which are always revolving around untold female stories.”

Al-Omair is an award-winning director and the woman behind the first Saudi thriller drama series on Netflix, “Whispers.”

She said that “Whispers” reflects on-the-ground women’s empowerment through screen.

“There are so many women working in a different field that we haven’t heard of on the screen,” she said: adding: “Netflix was the perfect platform for displaying my series as it helped to narrate the story of Saudi women in an unusual way.

“I am so happy with the new change that the Saudi film industry is experiencing, especially with more females behind cameras and on-screen, and actresses. All this would support more content and female stories to rise.”

Netflix has a special collection of Saudi content. For women filmmakers, it started with “Wadjda,” the work of iconic Saudi film director Haifaa Al-Mansour.

Shomali is director of “AlRawabi School for Girls,” a first-of-its-kind young adult series in the Arab region.

The six-episode series tells the story of a bullied high school girl who gathers together a group of outcasts to plot the perfect revenge on their tormentors.

Shomali is also a producer and scriptwriter. She told Arab News: “I am so happy to take part in this initiative that supports young Arab filmmakers, which is something I personally advocate for as it represents my work in terms of women empowering women in the industry.”

She added: “I feel like it is my responsibility to support female emerging talents in filmmaking because I did not have an easy journey, and a lot of people on the way gave me an opportunity to rise, and now I am interested to give back an opportunity for those young females passionate about the film industry.”

Netflix launched the “Because She Created” platform last year as a virtual panel talk hosting Arab women filmmakers discussing the evolving role of women in the industry.

Nuha El-Tayeb, director of Netflix content acquisitions in the Middle East, North Africa, and Turkey was also present at this year’s event.

She told Arab News: “What’s important for us is bringing Arabic stories from our region targeting the local market and at the same time for them to have that option to travel across the world … one and foremost is our support for female filmmakers, whether they are in front of the screen or behind the screen.”

The Netflix collection aims to give more people the chance to see their lives reflected on screen and entice new audiences to discover the work of women storytellers from the Arab world.

El-Tayeb added: “Yes, we want to support women. We want to bring these amazing movies to one place where people can watch it and enjoy the movies, and it’s a start to many more coming down the line with what we have created now.”

The collection celebrates the creativity of the Arab world’s greatest women storytellers, including the works of brilliant directors from Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria and Tunisia.