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

Saudi sci-fi thriller ‘Slave’ debuts at Red Sea International Film Festival
Khairia Abu Laban in ‘Slave.’ (Supplied)
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Updated 07 December 2022

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 comedy ‘Sattar’ to get UK premiere in London this week   

Saudi comedy ‘Sattar’ to get UK premiere in London this week   
Updated 08 February 2023

Saudi comedy ‘Sattar’ to get UK premiere in London this week   

Saudi comedy ‘Sattar’ to get UK premiere in London this week   
  • ‘This movie is really important in the context of the Saudi film industry because it’s a local commercial film and one of our beginner initiatives, and we won’t stop at that. There’ll be many films to come,’ Ibrahim Al-Hajjaj told Arab News

DUBAI: Saudi comedy “Sattar” will get its UK premiere on Thursday.  

The movie will screen in London at the Odeon Covent Garden. The film’s stars Ibrahim Al-Hajjaj and Abdulaziz Alshehri will attend the UK premiere.  

The story revolves around Saad, played by Al-Hajjaj, who dreams of becoming a wrestler while battling failures in his professional and love lives. His plans soon go south when an embarrassing video of him wrestling goes viral. 

Feeling hopeless, he enlists the help of the eccentric Ali Hogeen, portrayed by Alshehri, the self-proclaimed most-famous wrestling manager in the region. Hogeen introduces him to an underground wrestling network known as “The Pit,” and Pakistani coach Abdul Khaleq, portrayed by the film’s writer, producer and actor Ibrahim Alkhairallah, has Saad join the largest freestyle wrestling tournament in the region. 

The movie, made by Telfaz11’s new production house Al-Shimaisi Films, first premiered in the Kingdom on Dec. 22, 2022 at Riyadh Boulevard City’s Muvi Cinema.  

The film’s stakeholders collaborated with the Saudi Pro Wrestling society alongside the first Saudi wrestler, Naif Al-Mutairi, to choreograph fight scenes. 

The movie first premiered in the Kingdom on Dec. 22, 2022 at Riyadh Boulevard City’s Muvi Cinema. (AN Photo: Abdulrahman Alshalhoub)

Al-Hajjaj lost 15 kg during an intense wrestling boot camp four months prior to filming in preparation for the role. 

Al-Hajjaj and Alkhairallah were coached by Al-Mutairi on the performance aspect of entering a ring, hyping up the crowd, and initiating a fight sequence.  

“There were so many exciting moments during the shoot but I’m happy that I could learn wrestling. That’s the beauty of the acting industry, that you learn new stuff in every role, so I’m really happy about that,” Al-Hajjaj said in a previous interview with Arab News. 

“This movie is really important in the context of the Saudi film industry because it’s a local commercial film and one of our beginner initiatives, and we won’t stop at that. There’ll be many films to come,” he added.  

Meanwhile, Alshehri said: “We are a society that loves comedy. We love to laugh and joke around, and that’s our goal with this.” 


Christie’s to bring its Art+Tech Summit to Dubai  

Christie’s to bring its Art+Tech Summit to Dubai  
Updated 08 February 2023

Christie’s to bring its Art+Tech Summit to Dubai  

Christie’s to bring its Art+Tech Summit to Dubai  

DUBAI: British auction house Christie’s Middle East outpost has announced that its Christie’s Art+Tech Summit is set to take place in Dubai on March 2 during Art Dubai 2023.   

This will be the sixth iteration of the conference to be hosted by Christie’s. The previous editions took place in New York, Hong Kong and London.

Confirmed guest speakers include the Minister of State for Advanced Technology and Chairwoman of UAE Space Agency Sarah Bint Yousif Al Amirii, CEO and co-founder of Careem Mudassir Sheikha and UAE-based collector Amir ‘Mondoir’ Soleymani, among others. 

 

This year’s Dubai summit will explore artificial intelligence, digital asset ownership, financial innovation and blockchain. The event will bring together international creators and collectors from a spectrum of disciplines across art and technology, as well as experts from the Middle East.  

Devang Thakkar, the global head of Christie’s ventures and Art+Tech, said in a statement: “Given the vibrancy and innovation coming out of the Gulf states, and from the UAE within this sector, we are excited to bring the Art and Tech Summit to Dubai. 

 

 

“The Summit will enable industry innovators in both sectors to engage in meaningful debate and discussion around future innovation and to spend invaluable time with the pioneers here. We look forward to a productive summit that leads to meaningful collaboration,” he added. 


Arab Fashion Council, Dubai Design District announce first-ever Dubai Fashion Week 

Arab Fashion Council, Dubai Design District announce first-ever Dubai Fashion Week 
Updated 08 February 2023

Arab Fashion Council, Dubai Design District announce first-ever Dubai Fashion Week 

Arab Fashion Council, Dubai Design District announce first-ever Dubai Fashion Week 

DUBAI: The Arab Fashion Council and Dubai Design District (d3) anounced the launch of Dubai Fashion Week at an event in the city on Tuesday night.  

The first iteration of the fashion week will take place from March 10-15.  

Art work on display at the launch party unveiling Dubai Fashion Week in Dubai Design District. (Supplied)

Organizers have billed Dubai Fashion Week as the definitive fashion fixture in the region, featuring men’s, women’s, ready-to-wear and couture collections.  

Senior Vice President of d3 Khadija Al-Bastaki praised Dubai’s progress as a fashion capital in a released statement.  

 “Where there was Paris, Milan, London and New York, there is now Dubai. From economic activity to tourism and creativity, Dubai has carved its own space among the world’s cosmopolitan capitals, and fashion is one industry boosting its status. All eyes are on the Middle East for fashion and creativity, and now the sky is the limit,” she said.  

For his part, CEO of the Arab Fashion Council Jacob Abrian noted the city’s contribution to the global fashion industry, saying: “Dubai has arrived on the global fashion stage. Emerging and established creatives have shaped a distinct identity for the region that resonates far and wide. Our region's fashion industry is entering a new chapter as we become increasingly active contributors to the global fashion narrative.” 

“Fashion is a cultural expression fueled by tradition but also by the zeitgeist.  I strongly believe that Dubai has now the capacity to become a global fashion hub addressing today's questions of sustainability, technology and diversity,” Serge Carreira, head of the Emerging Brands Initiative, at France’s Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode, added in a released statement. 

The announcement was made in the presence of Abdulla Belhoul, chief executive officer of TECOM Group which d3 is a part of, Issam Kazim, chief executive officer of Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism, Ammar Al-Malik, executive vice president – commercial, TECOM Group, Khadija Al-Bastaki, senior vice president of d3 and Jacob Abrian, CEO of the Arab Fashion Council. 


Art Dubai to donate half its online ticket proceeds to earthquake relief efforts in Syria, Turkey

Art Dubai to donate half its online ticket proceeds to earthquake relief efforts in Syria, Turkey
Updated 08 February 2023

Art Dubai to donate half its online ticket proceeds to earthquake relief efforts in Syria, Turkey

Art Dubai to donate half its online ticket proceeds to earthquake relief efforts in Syria, Turkey

DUBAI: Joining a chorus of support, regional art fair Art Dubai announced on Tuesday it will be donating 50 per cent of the online ticket revenue from its coming March event to support earthquake relief efforts in Syria and Turkey.  

“Our thoughts are with all those affected by the Turkey-Syria earthquake. While the aftermath of this horrific event is still being assessed, we will be donating 50% of proceeds from Art Dubai’s online ticket sales for this year’s fair, to registered charities supporting the victims of this tragedy,” a post on their official Instagram page read.  

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Art Dubai (@artdubai)

Last year, the annual art event donated 25 per cent of its ticket sales proceeds to Ukrainian refugees, amid the country’s conflict with Russia.   

The 16th edition of Art Dubai will take place at Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai from March 3 - 5.  

The gallery program will feature over 130 presentations from more than 40 countries and six continents, across four sections: Contemporary, Modern, Bawwaba (featuring exclusively new work) and Art Dubai Digital, and will include more than 30 first-time participants.  

Further highlights of the 2023 program include a series of 10 newly commissioned performance works by artists from across South Asia.  


Myazu head chef Ian Pengelley talks World’s 50 Best award honor for best restaurant in Saudi Arabia 

Myazu head chef Ian Pengelley talks World’s 50 Best award honor for best restaurant in Saudi Arabia 
Myazu head chef Ian Pengelley says he is “proud and honored” to have received the award. (Supplied)
Updated 08 February 2023

Myazu head chef Ian Pengelley talks World’s 50 Best award honor for best restaurant in Saudi Arabia 

Myazu head chef Ian Pengelley talks World’s 50 Best award honor for best restaurant in Saudi Arabia 

DUBAI: In a ceremony held last week in Abu Dhabi, Japanese eatery Myazu was named the best restaurant in Saudi Arabia by the World’s 50 Best Restaurants MENA list.   

Winning the honor for the second time in a row, Myazu head chef Ian Pengelley – a household name in Asian fine dining – says he is “proud and honored” to have received the accolade.   

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by MYAZŪ SAUDI (@myazusaudi)

 

Known for its authentic Japanese food made using traditional techniques but with modern flair, Myazu first set up shop in Riyadh in December 2020, before opening up outlets in Jeddah and AlUla.  

“Obviously, there’s a lot of hard work involved in running a restaurant and when in the kitchen, your product must be consistent. And one of the things that we do well is we create the best team ever and the right environment for everybody to perform and create. And, again, more hard work,” said Pengelley when asked about the key ingredient to Myazu’s success in an interview with Arab News.   

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by MYAZŪ SAUDI (@myazusaudi)

 

One of the things that Chef Pengelley likes to make sure he does before putting a menu together for a new restaurant is travel to the source, a guiding principle he used when designing Myazu’s menu in the UK and across other Asian markets. Moving to Saudi Arabia also posed an exciting challenge for Pengelley, who started out his career as a kitchen porter at the age of 16.  

“I have to be honest, it’s been very, very challenging, but also very, very exciting. A new region, undeveloped region in the restaurant scene. It's very challenging. But we've enjoyed it. And it's been great bringing people from all around the world and creating a fabulous team here,” said Pengelley.  

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by MYAZŪ SAUDI (@myazusaudi)

 

Myazu, set up under the Modern Food Company umbrella, is set to build on the success of its popularity, says Pengelley.   

“We have just opened up another room, which is a bit more intimate and dark, called Arts by Myazu. We've also just created a liquid nitrogen ice cream trolley. So, we have a trolley that wheels around the restaurant and we actually make the ice cream in liquid nitrogen in front of the guests. So we’re trying to be innovative, creative and original. And fun. Lots of fun.”  

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by MYAZŪ SAUDI (@myazusaudi)

 

The Modern Food Company is also looking at exciting times ahead. “We have a new restaurant opening in in April called Robata, which is a Japanese robatayaki concept. Very sexy, very fun, very funky,” he said.