Saudi National Day: 6 stars to keep on your radar

Saudi National Day: 6 stars to keep on your radar
Lama Al-Akeel focuses on fashion and lifestyle topics. (Instagram)
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Updated 23 September 2022

Saudi National Day: 6 stars to keep on your radar

Saudi National Day: 6 stars to keep on your radar

DUBAI: In celebration of Saudi National Day, here are six local musicians and content creators to follow on social media.

Ntitled

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Ntitled (@ntitledonthebeat)

This Riyadh-based producer and rapper is paving his way in the Saudi rap scene. After releasing his first beat tape album, “Xtra Crispy,” in 2020, Ntitled has been making a name for himself with his unique style of production. He recently produced and was featured in the song “Moya wa Zeit” with WalGz, which was released on Spotify earlier this month and has been streamed thousands of times.

Lama Al-Akeel

With more than 626,000 followers on Instagram, this young and inspirational influencer focuses on fashion and lifestyle topics.

Lamiya Al-Malki

At just 18, this young performer and internet personality is rapidly gaining recognition for her soft, crooning voice. Her song “Shoft El Ngoom” has amassed over a million streams on Spotify while her quirky online vlogs have achieved thousands of views.

Malak Al-Dawood

If you have children, then you might want to follow this passionate parent creator known for her creative ideas and entertaining skits.

Jeed

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Jeed (@jeed)

After 12 years in the music industry, this English-singing artist has seen it all and reflects his experiences in his tracks. His song “From the Sand” has garnered thousands of likes on Spotify and he continues to inspire his supporters with his global appeal and growing success.

Lubna Khamis

As one of the first female podcasters in the Kingdom, Lubna Khamis is a force to be reckoned with. Her “Podcast Abajora” discusses random topics that audiences can relate to in a short and engaging format. Her storytelling technique and calming voice have helped give her a unique edge.


THE BREAKDOWN: Manal AlDowayan — ‘The Choice IV’ 

THE BREAKDOWN: Manal AlDowayan — ‘The Choice IV’ 
Updated 08 December 2022

THE BREAKDOWN: Manal AlDowayan — ‘The Choice IV’ 

THE BREAKDOWN: Manal AlDowayan — ‘The Choice IV’ 
  • The Saudi artist discusses her 2005 photograph, recently displayed on one of the FIFA World Cup art water bottles

DUBAI: In her own words, Saudi artist Manal AlDowayan discusses her 2005 photograph, recently displayed on one of the FIFA World Cup art water bottles:

Photography was the first medium that I worked with as an artist. I made my series “The Choice” 20 years ago. I was still an employee of Aramco at the time and it was five more years before I decided I was going to be a full-time artist.  

Photography is direct. You look at the image and that’s your engagement. The idea, always, was to connect to my community through my art with a conversation with a viewer and not become static. That’s why I moved from digital photography to darkroom printing. You’re printing with your hands, moving the picture to get the right light on it, and I felt darkroom printing was very tactile.  

Saudi artist Manal AlDowayan. (Photo by Harriet Hill)

I felt an urge to express myself at that point. There were no galleries, museums, no art ecosystem — nothing. I was quite young, a working woman, and a woman’s status was quite difficult in Saudi Arabia. One of the activities we were excluded from was sports. I consider this work a participatory artwork, because the women that were photographed were not just models, they were actual participants. The woman is a young Saudi and she’s always played excellent football, but she never played football in Saudi and never pursued a career in sports, because the opportunities were so limited, even abroad. Women were not encouraged to play soccer.  

The reason it was posed showing only half her face was because, at that moment in time in Saudi Arabia, a woman’s face was a taboo. I was very worried about showing a woman’s face. I wanted to add the element of traditional jewelry as an interruption; it was just so out-of-place. 

There needs to be a closer look at traditions that are truthfully good ones and that work within today’s society. You can see a glimpse of what it means to be a woman and how it’s changed significantly over the years. Today, I can speak about the transformation that’s happened with women’s rights in my country. They are part of the parliament, they’re in sports. . . Women’s voices have been heard.  


New independent cinema in Jeddah offers more choice for film lovers

The Hayy Cinema is located in the Hayy Jameel complex and has a 168-seat main theater and a 30-seat community screening room.
The Hayy Cinema is located in the Hayy Jameel complex and has a 168-seat main theater and a 30-seat community screening room.
Updated 07 December 2022

New independent cinema in Jeddah offers more choice for film lovers

The Hayy Cinema is located in the Hayy Jameel complex and has a 168-seat main theater and a 30-seat community screening room.
  • Opening honors Arab world’s most talented voices
  • Total of 198 seats in main and community sections

JEDDAH: The first Saudi independent cinema house has opened its doors to the public, offering further choice for the Kingdom’s film lovers.

The Hayy Cinema is located in the Hayy Jameel complex and has a 168-seat main theater and a 30-seat community screening room.

Among those who attended the opening ceremony on Dec. 5 were Hayy Jameel officials including Antonia Carver, director of art Jameel, and Sara Al-Omran, deputy director. Several representatives and participants from the Red Sea International Film Festival were also present including Antoine Khalife, director of Arab programs and film classics at the RSIFF, and famous Egyptian actor Hussain Fahmy.

The occasion was celebrated on Dec 5 and attended by officials of Hayy Jameel, Antonia Carver, director of art Hayy Jameel, Sara Al Omran, deputy director, Art Jameel, Red Sea International Film Festival representatives, Saudi and Egyptian film celebrities and guests, including Antoine Khalife, director of Arab programms and Film Classics at RSIFF and famous Egyptian actor Hussain Fahmy. (AN photo)

Carver told Arab News it was an important moment for Art Jameel because it provides a showcase and training platform for young Saudi filmmakers.

In a statement, she said: “There is no better way to celebrate Hayy Jameel’s first anniversary than with the launch of the much-anticipated Hayy Cinema. This is Saudi’s first bespoke independent picture house, developed with the intent to nurture the local film scene — not only filmmakers but also the audiences who appreciate them.”

FASTFACT

Hayy Cinema’s year-round programming will include Saudi, Arab and international features, shorts and documentaries and is set to host flagship film festivals for all tastes, including for children.

“We believe that Hayy Cinema’s focus on presenting and documenting the great breadth of global cinema, and in tracing the history of cinemas and films from the Gulf, complements the blockbusters of Saudi’s fast-growing commercial scene and government-led industry initiatives.

“With Hayy Arts being a museum space for the visual arts and Hayy Cinema for the moving image, both anchor Hayy Jameel, grounding the complex as Jeddah’s home for creative expression.”

Al-Omran said she was proud to be associated with the launch. “(It) demonstrates our commitment to supporting the Quality of Life Program by enhancing participation in cultural and entertainment activities.”

She said that Hayy Cinema would not only screen films but also provide a space for the training of young creators.

Raisa Lahcine, director of international relations at Louis Lumiere, the major French public higher education provider, who is in Jeddah to attend the RSIFF, told Arab News that Saudi Arabia was making promising infrastructure investments.

“It is nice for such an independent cinema to open here, and I am sure Saudi young filmmakers will benefit from it.”

Ruba Al-Sweel, communication manager at Art Jameel, said the cinema would promote dialogue between members of the local film community and provide opportunities for independent Saudi filmmakers.

Hayy Cinema’s year-round programming will include Saudi, Arab and international features, shorts and documentaries and is set to host flagship film festivals for all tastes, including for children.

The opening program has been co-developed with the RSIFF and celebrates visionaries of Arab cinema’s golden era. This includes a retrospective of five newly restored, groundbreaking films by Egyptian master Youssef Chahine, one of the Arab world’s most internationally celebrated filmmakers.

There is also a rare archival exhibition that highlights renowned photographer Gamal Fahmy’s contribution to filmmaking in the region.

 

 


US rapper Rapsody on inspiration ahead of Sole DXB in Dubai

US rapper Rapsody on inspiration ahead of Sole DXB in Dubai
Updated 06 December 2022

US rapper Rapsody on inspiration ahead of Sole DXB in Dubai

US rapper Rapsody on inspiration ahead of Sole DXB in Dubai

DUBAI: Grammy-nominated US rapper Rapsody has revealed the inspiration behind her stage name as she prepared to perform on Saturday at the Sole DXB event in Dubai.

The 39-year-old, whose real name is Marlanna Evans, told Arab News that American rapper Jay-Z was one of the many musical figures that had influenced her rise to stardom.

She said: “When Jay-Z was a kid, he wanted to expand his vocabulary, so he would read the dictionary. I was just getting into writing my first few raps and was like, I’m going to read the dictionary too.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Rapsody (@rapsody)

“I was in the R section, and I came across rhapsody, meaning poetry spoken with great emotion. And that’s how I perceive music and hip hop: It’s poetry in rhythm. I was like, that’s how I’m going to call myself. I just took out the H and tried to make it my own.” 

Rapsody will be visiting Dubai and the UAE for the first time to take part in the Sole DXB lifestyle and street-culture festival.

“I’m always inspired when I hear music from different regions and countries, especially the culture of hip hop that’s travelled the world and how different people interpreted it and made it their own.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Rapsody (@rapsody)

“I want to know their stories: What’s it like to live in Dubai, what does your everyday look like, how do you celebrate? That excites me,” she added.

When Rapsody was growing up, she enjoyed soul music and was introduced to hip hop through her older siblings. Lauryn Hill, Queen Latifah, and MC Lyte were some of her favorite artists.

During her college years in North Carolina, she recorded her first song, in rap style, in a home studio. It was a turning point in her musical career when she decided to go fully into rap.

The lyrics of her music tap into personal and collective moments, from relationship heartbreak to police brutality.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Rapsody (@rapsody)

She said: “I try to write from an honest perspective, whether it’s my story or stories around me. I live in a very present state. My inspiration is life.”

Her last record release was “Eve,” in 2019. Each track was named after influential black women, including tennis star Serena Williams, and former first lady of the US, Michelle Obama.

She is currently finishing up her new studio album, due for release in the new year.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Rapsody (@rapsody)

Rapsody pointed out that there were several components that made up a memorable song.

“The beat must be good. You need hooks that people are drawn into … I think you need good lyrics that people can connect to,” she added. 


Industry insiders discuss Saudi Arabia as a production hub at Red Sea 360° 

Industry insiders discuss Saudi Arabia as a production hub at Red Sea 360° 
Updated 06 December 2022

Industry insiders discuss Saudi Arabia as a production hub at Red Sea 360° 

Industry insiders discuss Saudi Arabia as a production hub at Red Sea 360° 

DUBAI: International experts in the film industry this week discussed Saudi Arabia’s efforts to become a leading production hub at Red Sea 360° —a four-day industry event at Red Sea Souk during the Red Sea International Film Festival.  

The event hosts a series of talks on production, innovation and finance in the entertainment industry. It is welcoming over 50 panellists from all over the world for the 2022 edition. 

“It’s a new market for us and it’s quickly expanding, and it’s very young when compared to European audiences,” said Livia Van Der Staay, who is in charge of business development at France’s Wild Bunch Intl., during a panel at the event.  

“It’s also interesting from a talent’s perspective because with new audiences comes an emergence of new talent. We’ve worked with Middle Eastern directors many times but never a Saudi, so we are really looking forward to discovering their talent,” he added. 

Van Der Staay also talked about the tax incentives, including the 40 percent cash rebate established this year by the Saudi Film Commission.  

“Everybody knows about the incentives and it’s great to see people taking these opportunities. I am in the middle of a Saudi production where we applied for the rebate, and it’s looking like it will be an efficient system,” he said. 

The panel centered on the importance of creating local productions instead of replicating work done in Western countries.  

“The idea is not to adapt to other standards, is to see the perception the audiences here have of the films and how we can adapt to the specificities of a region,” added Van Der Staay. “The idea is not to renounce a culture, so it fits in a sort of mold.” 

US producer, publisher and media consultant David Uslan said that he is interested in producing stories from the region. “I spend a lot of time in places like Saudi looking for content we can build off from. I have been surprised with the quality of what has been created in this region, so that is what we have been hunting down, the next IP to adapt into franchises,” he said. 


Saudi director Mahmoud Sabbagh announces new film during RSIFF  

Saudi director Mahmoud Sabbagh announces new film during RSIFF  
Updated 06 December 2022

Saudi director Mahmoud Sabbagh announces new film during RSIFF  

Saudi director Mahmoud Sabbagh announces new film during RSIFF  

DUBAI: Saudi director and producer Mahmoud Sabbagh revealed this week at Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea International Film Festival that he is working on his third film, “Last Party in Rumah Desert,” in a conversation with The Hollywood Reporter.   

Sabbagh is the filmmaker behind the 2016 film “Barakah Meets Barakah,” which was the second Saudi title to be submitted for Oscars consideration.   

The movie is produced by Jeddah-based indie label El-Housh Productions established by Sabbagh. (Getty Images)

“Last Party in Rumah Desert,” which comes six years after Sabbagh’s feature “Amra and the Second Marriage,” is set in contemporary Saudi Arabia. 

The film centers on a cash-driven local impresario who wanders through nightlife venues and the entertainment circuit with his music troupe in their struggle to stay afloat amid professional strife. 

The movie, produced by Jeddah-based indie label El-Housh Productions established by Sabbagh, stars actors Abdullah Albarrak, Sami Hanafi, Radwan Jifri and singer Marwa Salem.  

Shooting is now underway in the desert area between Jeddah and Riyadh.