Where We Are Going Today: Cyan Waterpark 

Where We Are Going Today: Cyan Waterpark 
Cyan Waterpark boasts of a family-friendly environment accessible to all visitors, including those with special needs. (AN photo)
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Updated 10 November 2022

Where We Are Going Today: Cyan Waterpark 

Where We Are Going Today: Cyan Waterpark 

If you’re looking to enjoy a pleasant time with family or friends, Cyan Waterpark is sure to impress. The spacious waterpark has attractions for all ages, and you can easily spend long hours there getting great value for your admission. The family-friendly environment is accessible to all visitors, including those with special needs.

Not too far from midtown Jeddah and right at the start of Obhur, Cyan Waterpark is located on King Saud Road.

Plunge down on a single, double or multiple-person raft for a high-adrenaline adventure or take a relaxing ride and float along the lazy river.

There is an array of interactive water games for children including spouts, colorful slides and dumping buckets.

Cyan waterpark also offers two wave pools, one for children and the other for adults, which will make you feel like you are in the middle of the sea.

The park’s friendly staff enhances the experience with their excellent service and attention to detail.

With the highest safety standards and professionally trained lifeguards, the park is an outstanding leisure destination for the whole family.

in the near future, Cyan Waterpark is set to open other attractions such as event halls, a petting zoo, an educational farm and an activity center for kids.

Today, guests can get their Cyan Waterpark soft opening tickets by booking at www. cyanwp.com, or as walk-in customers. Admission for adults is sR299 ($80) and sR199 for children. 

As the waterpark has some dress code guidelines, ensure you bring suitable swimwear.


Sotheby’s Dubai to exhibit 80 works by Mideast artists from private Gulf collection before London auction

Sotheby’s Dubai to exhibit 80 works by Mideast artists from private Gulf collection before London auction
Updated 20 sec ago

Sotheby’s Dubai to exhibit 80 works by Mideast artists from private Gulf collection before London auction

Sotheby’s Dubai to exhibit 80 works by Mideast artists from private Gulf collection before London auction

DUBAI: This Spring, Sotheby’s Dubai will offer over 80 works of art from the collection of Abdulrahman Al-Zayani, one of the leading collectors in the Middle East.  

The first unveiling of the collection will take place at Sotheby’s Dubai from Feb. 28 to March 3. This will be followed by an exhibition of the collection in its entirety in London from Apr. 21 to 25, ahead of the live auction on Apr. 25. 

Sotheby’s Dubai will offer over 80 works of art from the collection of Abdulrahman Al-Zayani, one of the leading collectors in the Middle East.  (Supplied)

Hailing from Egypt, Turkey, Lebanon, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and North Africa, the artists in the collection represent the vast artistic production created over the last century in the Middle East. Exploring myriad themes and mediums, each work represents a different aesthetic whilst tying into a rich thread of cultural heritage. 

In recent years, Al-Zayani has also launched A2Z, a luxury advisory service for private clients in New York, London and the Gulf who want to expand their jewelry and collections. 

Hailing from Egypt, Turkey, Lebanon, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and North Africa, the artists in the collection represent the vast artistic production created over the last century in the Middle East. (Supplied)

Said Al-Zayani in a statement, “As I open the doors to my collection, the overarching sense is that these pieces were acquired with love, and I am excited for them to go to new homes where they will be discovered and appreciated anew. As with all journeys, new pathways must be travelled, and so with this auction I am opening a new chapter of both my story and the story of these timeless artworks.”  

“The world of Middle Eastern art has transformed since I first started almost two decades ago, and I am proud to witness and be a part of that evolution, living in a region that is now becoming one of the cultural hubs of the world,” he added.  

Works by Abdel Hadi El-Gazzar, Hassan Hajjaj, Fahrelnissa Zeid, Hatem El-Mekki, Mahmoud Moussa, Mohammed Melehi, Fouad Kamel, Gazbia Sirry, Farid Belkahia, Behjat Sadr and Taner Ceylan will go on view to the public, alongside worldwide auction highlights including jewellery, watches and arts of the Islamic world and India.  


Egyptian Canadian star Mena Massoud to produce first non-English adaptation of Stephen King novel in Farsi

Egyptian Canadian star Mena Massoud to produce first non-English adaptation of Stephen King novel in Farsi
Updated 09 February 2023

Egyptian Canadian star Mena Massoud to produce first non-English adaptation of Stephen King novel in Farsi

Egyptian Canadian star Mena Massoud to produce first non-English adaptation of Stephen King novel in Farsi

DUBAI: “Aladdin” star Mena Massoud is ready to revolutionize content from the Middle East as he announces the first slate of projects out of his company Press Play Productions, which aims to bridge the gap between Hollywood and the Middle East and North Africa.  

One of the said projects involves the first non-English adaptation of a Stephen King book.  

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Mena Massoud (@menamassoud)

Adapting “The Doctor’s Case” and titled “The Last King,” the short film will be performed entirely in Farsi and will star an all-Iranian cast, including Maz Jobrani, Sheila Ommi, Marshall Manesh, and Tara Grammy.  

Set in Iran, the film reflects the country’s ongoing “Woman, Life, Freedom” movement.   

The company’s other announced titles include Canadian TV series “Evolving Vegan,” as well as the films “In Broad Daylight” and festival title “Spaceman.”  

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Mena Massoud (@menamassoud)

“Evolving Vegan” is slated to debut this spring in Canada. It’s a six-part food, travel and adventure series that explores the exploding plant-based food scene across North America.  

Press Play is currently in post-production on Massoud’s Arabic-language debut film “In Broad Daylight,” set for a theatrical release later this year. The Egyptian film is centred on a young man who, after leaving his homeland as a young boy, comes back to Egypt as a trained agent to carry out the most dangerous mission of his life.  

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Mena Massoud (@menamassoud)

“Spaceman,” directed by Dan Abramovici, stars Massoud, J.K. Simmons, and one of Canada’s prolific mimes, Trevor Copp.  

“In the 1970s, Egypt was the third largest film industry in the world and continues to cultivate a rich and thriving industry for the whole region,” said Massoud in a statement, according to Deadline.  

“Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, the UAE, and now Saudi Arabia are all breeding grounds for some of the best content in and around the African continent. Press Play will be a driving force in bringing those stories to the West. We have some really exciting projects releasing this year and in the pipeline and I’m thrilled to be bridging the gap between the MENA region and Hollywood.”  

With offices in Dubai and Los Angeles, Press Play was founded by Massoud and producing partner Ali Mashayekhi, who heads content development in North America.   


Afghan filmmaker Sahraa Karimi fights to keep her country’s cinema alive

Afghan filmmaker Sahraa Karimi fights to keep her country’s cinema alive
Updated 09 February 2023

Afghan filmmaker Sahraa Karimi fights to keep her country’s cinema alive

Afghan filmmaker Sahraa Karimi fights to keep her country’s cinema alive
  • Artist fled Afghanistan after US withdrawal, Taliban takeover
  • Cultural expression is critical to advocate for change, she says

ROME: Just over one-and-a-half years ago award-winning Afghan filmmaker Sahraa Karimi, known for her poignant portrayal of her countrywomen, had to flee her home in Kabul when the US withdrew its troops on Aug. 30, 2021, and the Taliban regained control of the country.

Since the Taliban returned to power, despite the group’s pledges that this time would be different — particularly for women, education and cultural expression — the country has plunged into an even darker repressive rule. Now women are fiercely controlled, and education and freedom of expression is limited. In December, the Taliban ordered an indefinite ban on university education for Afghan women, among a host of repressive measures, sparking international condemnation and widespread despair among people both inside and outside the country.

 

 

“With the return of (the) Taliban to power, we lost everything,” Karimi told Arab News. “We lost almost every personal and collective achievement we gained over the past 20 years. We artists, filmmakers, are now trying to be active outside of Afghanistan.”

Culture can also be a casualty of war. Through her work abroad Karimi is trying to reverse this fate and keep the flame burning for Afghan culture even during some of the country’s darkest days.

“Afghanistan is a very complex country, and its struggles are complex too but one of the many main ways to help Afghanistan is through culture,” Karimi said. “We need to develop culturally through our films, our music, and art. We need our artists, and we need to tell our stories to educate people about their history and identity.”

 

 

Karimi — now based in Rome, Italy, where she is a visiting professor at the Rome National Film School while simultaneously working on her next film “Flight from Kabul” — was born and raised in Iran by Afghan refugee parents. In Iran, while studying mathematics and physics to become an engineer, she was discovered by an Iranian film director looking for a young Afghan actress. She was cast in her first movie and since then has dedicated herself to cinema.

Karimi then went on to receive her doctorate in cinema (Fiction Film Directing & Screenwriting) from the Film and Television Faculty of the Academy of Music and Performing Arts in Bratislava, Slovakia, and in August 2012 decided to return to Afghanistan. For Karimi, it was vital that she worked and filmed in her homeland so that she could shoot the country’s stories first-hand.

“We try to advocate for our athletes, for our cinema and our stories, and make, with the help from Western, European or American production houses, our films so that we can continue,” she said. “But it is not that easy because when you get cut off from your country of origin, it is very difficult to again find your way of storytelling and your way of doing your own cultural activities in (a) different country that has its own culture.”

Before the Taliban’s return to power, Kabul’s nascent art scene, which included the first-ever Afghanistan Cinema Festival on the country’s 100th Independence Day celebrations in 2020, has since the Taliban takeover in August gone largely underground due to new limits on creative expression. Karimi, the first-ever female head of Afghan Film, a state-owned institution, staged the festival, which was financed by the Afghan government and private sector, to revive cinema in the war-stricken nation. The festival showed a selection of 100 classic Afghan films through its duration.

“We were preparing the second edition when the Taliban returned and the collapse happened,” Karimi said.

Since then, plans for future editions of the festival have been halted.

“Unfortunately, when there are conversations about the future of Afghanistan, artists and culture worker(s) are not included or on the agenda,” she added.  “Culture is missing, and this is a big mistake for Afghanistan because there can be no advocacy, no change without cultural change.”

“A film brings people together from various social and ethnic backgrounds in Afghanistan,” said Karimi. “It goes beyond just entertainment; cinema brings people together. We cannot save ourselves from conflicts, but if you read history, you find that it was culture that saved people from hopelessness.”

The staging of a film festival was historic for a country where following a relatively moderate period of rule, movie theaters were banned in Afghanistan during the Taliban’s reign from 1996-2001. When the Taliban fell, Afghan cinema flourished again. Although unlike its pre-war period, private media flourished in the country, largely due to international support.

But now the lights have dimmed again, the handful of cinemas that were operating in Kabul and throughout the country remain closed and Afghan actresses have very few rights if any.

 

 

Still Karimi, who was the first chairwoman of the Afghan Film Organization and spoke at the Culture Summit Abu Dhabi in October 2022, believes that no matter what happens it is crucial to keep the flame burning for Afghan art and culture. She has directed over 30 short films, three documentary films and the 90-minute fiction film titled “Hava, Maryam, Ayesha,” which premiered at the 76th Venice Film Festival in 2019. It was nominated for best fiction movie at the festival and tells the story of three pregnant Afghan women suffering in the aftermath of explosions and car bombings in Afghanistan. The film reveals what Karimi says are the “stories of war by women” that have rarely been told.

In her debut feature documentary “Afghan Women Behind the Wheel” that she released in 2009, Karimi examines how obtaining a driving license is a key factor for the personal freedom of Afghan women. In the film she asked whether Afghan society was ready for women drivers. The film features interviews with Afghan women of various backgrounds and ages. In 2014 it won the Women Filmmakers Section Award for Best Documentary at the Dhaka International Film Festival.

Still Karimi was the first chairwoman of the Afghan Film Organization and spoke at the Culture Summit Abu Dhabi in October 2022. (AFP)

In 2016, Karimi released “Parlika,” a documentary examining the life of Suraya Parlika, one of the few Afghan women involved in the country’s politics. A fierce advocator for women’s rights, Parlika died of cancer in 2019. The film notably documents how the status of women changed in Afghanistan as the country transitioned from Taliban rule to that of a US-backed republic with a democratic system.

The fire and passion that Karimi gives to her work she says comes from Afghan women themselves. And while she still intends to share stories of women in Afghanistan, she is also covering those who are now living in exile.

“I am trying to keep the conversation alive about Afghan cinema and especially about the women of Afghanistan through film,” Karimi said. “I keep working; I don’t give up because I don’t believe in giving up. I want to advocate our stories through my films and through my photos so that people can keep talking and remembering Afghanistan. We must continue.”


Lebanese filmmaker Karim Kassem discusses ‘Octopus,’ shot following the Beirut port explosion

Lebanese filmmaker Karim Kassem discusses ‘Octopus,’ shot following the Beirut port explosion
Updated 09 February 2023

Lebanese filmmaker Karim Kassem discusses ‘Octopus,’ shot following the Beirut port explosion

Lebanese filmmaker Karim Kassem discusses ‘Octopus,’ shot following the Beirut port explosion
  • ‘I was traumatized. I didn’t know what was going on,’ says Karim Kassem

DUBAI: When Karim Kassem arrived in Beirut on Aug. 3, 2020 to make a film called “Octopus,” he was quarantined in a hotel overlooking the city’s port. So he settled in, made what preparations he could, and got some rest. The following day his mother joined him and the two of them sat six feet apart on the hotel’s balcony. They chatted, probably drank some coffee or tea, and were enjoying the late afternoon when the filmmaker saw a mushroom cloud over the port. He immediately grabbed his mother and ran inside. Both were blown from the room. 

“From that very moment I decided to make a different ‘Octopus,’” says Kassem. “I just had to go back home, make sure my dad and my sisters were OK, and then immediately begin to plan this silent film. And I knew from the onset that it was going to be silent. It was almost necessary to make it silent, because anything you said would become diluted. It would dissolve immediately into soup.” 

Karim Kassem started working on “Octopus” in 2020. (Supplied)

What emerged from that initial reaction is impossible to pigeonhole. Although “Octopus” won the Envision Competition at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam in 2021, the traditional characteristics of a documentary are largely absent from Kassem’s film. There is no dialogue, no explanation, no story. The only brief snippet of speech is from a radio broadcast. What there is instead is a series of slow, lingering shots of traumatized people, of empty streets, of collective endeavor. All filmed with a level of patience and poetry that is sometimes mesmerizing.  

At its most elemental, “Octopus” is a collection of beautifully framed shots accompanied by a darkly ambient score. About two thirds of the way through the film, the camera concentrates on a single neighborhood junction in Beirut and remains fixated on it for a long period of time. As the sound of church bells mingles with the clamor of reconstruction, the camera pans left and right, but for the most part it simply observes.  

“My editor calls that shot the ‘Pasolini shot,’ (a reference to Italian filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini)” says Kassem with a smile. “Because it just lingers forever. There was no other way to make the film for me. It was largely instinctive. My background is in philosophy, so I try to emulate what I think is a, let’s say, ontological or metaphysical position and implement that into the culture. And really the purpose of this film is to ask the questions, ‘What is our purpose?’ ‘What is the meaning of life?’ and ‘What is the nature of reality?’ It was made to feel timeless. It’s not a place, it’s not a time, it could be anything. There could be no log line, you could just walk in and watch. You can make whatever you want of it. 

“Octopus” is a collection of beautifully framed shots accompanied by a darkly ambient score. (Supplied)

“But I did work a lot prior to shooting, finding people and taking their numbers. You talk to them, you tell them you’re going to film this, and then you go and film it as though it were a documentary. You make it look like that on purpose. But for me, it’s a hybrid. There are aspects of documentary, but I don’t even know what that means anymore.” 

Filming began a month after the explosion and lasted for 36 days. With Kassem — who directed, produced and shot the film himself — were a production coordinator and an occasional assistant. Although some people would talk to him for hours, they weren’t always willing to be filmed. But because Kassem had experienced the explosion firsthand, people would let him in.   

“I was traumatized all the way through. I don’t even remember how I made this film,” he admits. “It’s beyond me. I didn’t know what was going on because I was in shock. I purposefully waited a month because by then they had cleaned almost everything up. I could’ve shot immediately, when there was way more destruction, but I shot way later. By then, the emotions had started to actually sink in and those thousand-yard stares really became present. That was the time for me to make the film.” 

“Octopus” won the Envision Competition at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam in 2021. (Supplied)

For Kassem, who lived in New York for a decade before spending most of last year either in Beirut developing his fourth feature or hopping from place to place, the film’s dialogue is an inner one with the viewer. As such, the film can be interpreted in an infinite number of ways. At the beginning of the film, for example, an unnamed man drives a truck full of doors to a location on the outskirts of Beirut, where an octopus is stenciled onto each one. At the end of the film, those stenciled doors are carried through Beirut, although the carrier receives no response when he attempts to deliver them to apartments in the city.    

What is the significance of this and the octopus itself? Kassem says there’s no right or wrong answer. One interpretation could be that the tentacles of the octopus represent the multiplicity of human experience and thought. Or it could be a simple ode to the sea (when the camera goes beneath the waves it finds only trash). Maybe it’s political. “You could say, ‘Yeah, this government feels like an octopus, operating underneath,’” he says. “We never really see it, but it’s controlling everything. Every step you take in Beirut, you’re just under control somehow — you feel like you have agency, but you really don’t.” 

Supported by the Red Sea Fund and the Doha Film Institute, Octopus had its Middle East and North Africa premiere at Jeddah’s Red Sea International Film Festival in December. This was followed by the world premiere of his third film — called “Thiiird” — at the International Film Festival Rotterdam in February. Starring the door carrier from “Octopus,” “Thiiird” is the film that Kassem had originally set out to make when he arrived in Beirut in August 2020. Now, he says, it is “like an echo of the ideas that I had for the original ‘Octopus.’” 

A still from “Octopus.” (Supplied)

Featuring a cast of non-actors, the film tells the story of a car mechanic struggling to make ends meet during the country’s economic crisis. But when people bring their cars to him to be fixed, it quickly becomes apparent that it is the owners who need fixing.  

“He becomes a sort of therapist,” explains Kassem. “And his garage becomes this environment in which we all dive into our subconscious.” 

“Thiiird” is the third film that Kassem has made in as many years. Now working on his fourth, he has been prolifically churning out films like there’s no tomorrow. Why?  

“Because I know it takes a lot of time to make films and I don’t know if I’m going to die tomorrow,” he replies. “I’ve always had this belief — from very early in my life — that I would die very soon, which is normal, I think. It’s a philosophy that drives me. I might not make a film for two years, maybe three, four… I don’t know. Life takes you in different directions. 

“But it’s been three years — three feature films back-to-back with no help whatsoever. I produced all of them myself independently. I’ve been lucky getting post-production grants from the Red Sea Fund, Doha and AFAC, but with no backing, with no name whatsoever. I’ve kind of come from the underground really. I’m just an indie filmmaker doing my own thing.” 


‘Paper Planes’ rapper M.I.A. joins Wireless Abu Dhabi line-up

‘Paper Planes’ rapper M.I.A. joins Wireless Abu Dhabi line-up
London-born Mathangi Arulpragasam goes by the stage name M.I.A. (AFP)
Updated 09 February 2023

‘Paper Planes’ rapper M.I.A. joins Wireless Abu Dhabi line-up

‘Paper Planes’ rapper M.I.A. joins Wireless Abu Dhabi line-up

DUBAI: British rapper M.I.A. is the latest addition to the line-up set to descend on the UAE capital for the Abu Dhabi edition of one of the UK’s biggest urban music festivals, Wireless. 

British rapper and songwriter K-Trap will also be joining the lineup of performers who are set to hit the stage on March 11 at the Etihad Park, Yas Island.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by M.I.A. (@miamatangi)

He will treat his loyal fans to his range of rap hits including “Big Mood”, “Off White” and “Warm.”

The global superstars join a growing list of musical acts that includes Travis Scott, Lil Uzi Vert, Wegz, Black Sherif, Ali Gatie, King, Divine, and Young Stunners. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by @ktrap_1

London-born Mathangi Arulpragasam, who goes by the stage name M.I.A. started out as a visual artist, filmmaker and designer in 2000, and began her recording career in 2002, bursting onto the international scene with her 2007 release of the track “Paper Planes.”  

The multi-award-winning artist, who has collaborated with the likes of Jay-Z, Kanye West, Pharrell, and Lil Wayne, will be performing an array of her smash-hits including “Bad Girls,” “Borders,” “XXXO,” and “Paper Planes.” Guests will also be treated to songs from her most recent album, “Mata.”