RSIFF take two concludes with winning Saudi film

Saudi-Kuwaiti production “How I Got There,” an action drama by Zeyad Al-Husaini, won the Film AlUla audience award for best Saudi film. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
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Saudi-Kuwaiti production “How I Got There,” an action drama by Zeyad Al-Husaini, won the Film AlUla audience award for best Saudi film. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
RSIFF take two concludes with winning Saudi film
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Saudi-Kuwaiti production “How I Got There,” an action drama by Zeyad Al-Husaini, won the Film AlUla audience award for best Saudi film. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
RSIFF take two concludes with winning Saudi film
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Saudi-Kuwaiti production “How I Got There,” an action drama by Zeyad Al-Husaini, won the Film AlUla audience award for best Saudi film. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
RSIFF take two concludes with winning Saudi film
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Saudi-Kuwaiti production “How I Got There,” an action drama by Zeyad Al-Husaini, won the Film AlUla audience award for best Saudi film. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
RSIFF take two concludes with winning Saudi film
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Saudi-Kuwaiti production “How I Got There,” an action drama by Zeyad Al-Husaini, won the Film AlUla audience award for best Saudi film. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
RSIFF take two concludes with winning Saudi film
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Saudi-Kuwaiti production “How I Got There,” an action drama by Zeyad Al-Husaini, won the Film AlUla audience award for best Saudi film. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
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Updated 14 December 2022

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. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)

“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. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)

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.




The ceremony concluded with a live performance by Lebanese singer Nancy Ajram. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)

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.

 


Saudi social media star Osama Marwah nominated for a Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Award 

Saudi social media star Osama Marwah nominated for a Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Award 
Updated 02 February 2023

Saudi social media star Osama Marwah nominated for a Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Award 

Saudi social media star Osama Marwah nominated for a Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Award 

DUBAI: Saudi social media star and YouTuber Osama Marwah has been nominated for the Favorite Arab Star prize at the 2023 Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Award, it was announced on Wednesday.  

“When we were younger, we watched Nickelodeon. Today, we are among the nominees,” he wrote to his 4.2 million followers on Instagram. “Thank God. If it wasn’t for God and you, we wouldn’t be anything. Good luck to my creative friends who are also nominated.” 

Best known for his vlogs and prank videos, Marwah is competing with Syrian comedian and social media personality Amro Maskoun, Jordanian YouTuber Raghda Kouyoumdjian – famous for her short comedy skits and lip sync videos; and Rozzah, a 19-year-old Jordanian content creator with more than 4.2 million followers.  

The Favorite Arab Star award honors talents from the Middle East and North Africa. 

The awards ceremony will take place on March 4 and will air in the Middle East on March 7 at 4:00 p.m. (Saudi time). The event will also be available to watch on OSN+ from March 8 onwards.  

CBS Sports Analyst Nate Burleson and social media star Charli D’Amelio host the event.  

Jordanian YouTuber Raghda Kouyoumdjian is famous for her short comedy skits and lip sync videos. (Supplied)

D’Amelio said in a released statement: “I got slimed at the KCAs in 2021, saw my sister get slimed at last year’s show and now, no one is safe with me as co-host!” 

“Nate and I will make sure this year’s show is full of unexpected slime shots, impressive dances and surprise tricks along the way,” she added.  

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Rozzah :D (@rozzah)

First-time nominees for this year’s edition include Jenna Ortega, Jack Harlow, GAYLE, Joji, Nicky Youre and Letitia Wright, among others.  

“Stranger Things” leads the pack with six nominations, followed by “That Girl Lay Lay,” “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series” and “The Fairly OddParents: Fairly Odder” with four nominations each.  

Fans around the world can now cast their votes across 31 categories on the official Kids’ Choice Awards website, with an additional 32 international categories available in regions around the world.  


Review: ‘Extraordinary’ shows there’s still life in the superhero genre  

Review: ‘Extraordinary’ shows there’s still life in the superhero genre  
Updated 02 February 2023

Review: ‘Extraordinary’ shows there’s still life in the superhero genre  

Review: ‘Extraordinary’ shows there’s still life in the superhero genre  
  • New British comedy series is as clever as it is risqué  

LONDON: Shows such as “The Boys” and “Invincible” have shown that, though the superhero genre can often feel a mite overcrowded, there remains some scope for creative (albeit alternative) freedom.  

Into that space steps “Extraordinary” — a UK comedy series that’s part of the first wave of British content commissioned by Disney+ under its Star banner.  

“Extraordinary” is set in a world where everybody gets a superpower when they turn 18 years old. (Supplied)

Created and written by Emma Moran, “Extraordinary” is set in a world where everybody gets a superpower when they turn 18 years old. Everybody except Jen (Mairead Tyers), that is, who is about to turn 25 and still doesn’t appear to be gifted in any way whatsoever. Jen lives with her flatmate and best friend Carrie (who channels the deceased in her job at a solicitors), Carrie’s feckless boyfriend Kash (who can turn back time and dreams of being a vigilante), and their cat (who may not even be a cat at all). 

Given that starting premise, you might expect a narrative arc of loving self-discovery and acceptance — not least because Disney is behind the show. And while there is an air of predictable familiarity about this eight-episode first season, “Extraordinary” carves out an identity all its own with a charming blend of risqué humor and observational affirmation. 

Without giving too much away, Jen is such a likable lead character because Tyers makes her so wonderfully, fallibly human. Sure, there might be flying delivery drivers and invisible muggers, but people still go on awkward first dates, still humiliate themselves during job interviews, and still get let down by their lazy boyfriends, even if said boyfriend has the ability to reverse his mistakes by squeezing his eyes shut. 

There are some missteps, certainly — a few of the gags feel overused, for example, and some of the supporting characters feel a little flimsy and cartoonish — but “Extraordinary” has a novel concept, an exciting young creator with bags of ideas, a talented bunch of actors who buy into the silliness of it all, and enough energy and pep to live up to its name.  


Iraqi artist Suad Al-Attar’s granddaughter discusses new book about the painter’s life, career 

Iraqi artist Suad Al-Attar’s granddaughter discusses new book about the painter’s life, career 
Updated 02 February 2023

Iraqi artist Suad Al-Attar’s granddaughter discusses new book about the painter’s life, career 

Iraqi artist Suad Al-Attar’s granddaughter discusses new book about the painter’s life, career 
  • Her mystical paintings — reflecting on themes of love, loss, and longing — have since been acquired by the British Museum and the Arab Museum of Modern Art, and displayed at Leighton House, the Barbican Centre, and the UNESCO Center in Paris

DUBAI: Baghdad-born artist Suad Al-Attar was a trailblazer for women in her homeland. In the 1960s, while still a teenager, she reportedly became the first female artist to have a solo exhibition in Iraq.  

Her mystical paintings — reflecting on themes of love, loss, and longing — have since been acquired by the British Museum and the Arab Museum of Modern Art, and displayed at Leighton House, the Barbican Centre, and the UNESCO Center in Paris.     

Now, the artist’s granddaughter, UK-based art historian Nesma Shubber, is publishing a 100-image monograph looking back at Al-Attar’s long life and career. It is based on interviews with her grandmother, now in her early eighties but still active as an artist.  

The artist’s granddaughter is publishing a 100-image monograph looking back at Al-Attar’s long life and career. (Supplied)

“To walk into her flat and see her painting these masterpieces is actually quite a privilege to have experienced,” Shubber told Arab News. 

Al-Attar was, it seems, destined to be an artist. When she was a child, her mother, who briefly studied painting in Beirut, presented Al-Attar with her own paintbox. Her brother would also chaperone her on trips to the riverside to create drawings and paintings of sunsets. Her late sister Layla was also a significant figure in Iraq’s art scene — a talented artist herself, and the director of the Iraqi National Art Museum. 

With the approval of Al-Attar’s parents, a room in their residence was turned into her makeshift studio. “By her own admission, she wouldn’t have really gone so far into the art world if it wasn’t for them proactively encouraging and supporting her,” added Shubber.  

Suad in 1954, aged 14 - the image originally appeared in Ahal Al Nafat magazine. (Supplied)

In 1957, Al-Attar exhibited her work at her high-school graduation show, boosting her confidence, at a time when the country was culturally booming. “Iraq, in those times, was one of the forefront Middle Eastern countries for artistic creation and production,” explained Shubber. “I think at that early exhibition, she really felt like she was a part of something. She was on a path to something great.”    

1976 was a life-changing year for Al-Attar. Like many other Iraqis, her family left the country and moved to the UK. She has lived and worked in London ever since. Being away from her homeland has had a major impact on her art, as have the decades of conflict that it has suffered.  

The 2003 US invasion of Iraq, in particular, informed her powerful pen drawings and watercolors of women screaming as bombs were falling. “She kind of repeated (this motif). I think it was fixed in her head,” said Shubber.    

Homage to Medinat Al-Salam, 2010. (Supplied)

In general, though, Al-Attar’s other-worldly paintings transport the viewer to a peaceful, dreamlike world of united lovers, mythological creatures, idyllic visions of Iraq, and paradisiacal gardens.  

Her work is often symbolic, using motifs from Mesopotamian history. Her use of such symbols, reflecting an era of ancient glory, was particularly heightened during the turbulent Nineties with the outbreak of the Gulf War. It’s a nostalgic reminder of what used to be — creating a vision of home for herself .   

There is a sense of melancholy and longing in Al-Attar’s work. On the back of a painting created in 2000, entitled “Tender Embrace,” she has written a few lines from an Arabic poem: “How many tears we shed the night we parted/Excusing our sorrow by saying ‘It’s only the rain.’” 

Visions from Garden of Eden 1, an oil painting from 2011. (Supplied)

Though Al-Attar is well known in the Arab world, she hasn’t chased international recognition. “She never employed PR or a manager,” said Shubber. “She told me that she doesn’t regret that. What she wants isn’t aligned with that need.” 

When researching her 216-page monograph, as well as interviewing Al-Attar, Shubber looked through old catalogs and exhibition invitations. The book includes a selection of vintage snapshots of Al-Attar with voluminous hair and kohl-lined light eyes. “Obviously, she’s a glamorous person,” Shubber said. “She is stylish beyond the canvas. Design, style, and color translated into her home life.”   

For Shubber, working on this book has reaffirmed what she saw in her grandmother all along. “The one thing that I was in awe of, all over again, was just how prolific she has been — she has made so many paintings,” she said. “It really is her essence. She was born to do it.” 


Rare Quran manuscripts exhibition at Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilisation extended until summer  

Rare Quran manuscripts exhibition at Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilisation extended until summer  
Updated 02 February 2023

Rare Quran manuscripts exhibition at Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilisation extended until summer  

Rare Quran manuscripts exhibition at Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilisation extended until summer  

DUBAI: An exhibition showcasing a selection of 50 Quran manuscripts spanning 14 centuries of Islamic civilisation from China to North Africa has been extended until the summer at the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilisation.  

The rare works are part of the Hamid Jafar Quran Collection.  

The exhibition, titled “Sacred Words, Timeless Calligraphy: Highlights of Exceptional Calligraphy from the Hamid Jafar Qur’an Collection,” showcases the craftwork and detail of key pieces of Islamic calligraphy and design.  

“I am proud and honoured to be exhibiting this selection from my collection for the first time ever, doing so in my beloved Sharjah which I have taken as my home for over half a century, and to be sharing with the wider community the beauty of these remarkable works,” said Hamid Jafar, the  founder and chairman of Sharjah-based Crescent Group of Companies.

The 52 works on display illustrate intricate craftwork and design, demonstrating successive breakthroughs while reflecting the aesthetics of the location and era in which they were produced. 


Italian artistic director bids to celebrate Saudi Arabia’s cultural identity with festival

Italian artistic director bids to celebrate Saudi Arabia’s cultural identity with festival
Updated 02 February 2023

Italian artistic director bids to celebrate Saudi Arabia’s cultural identity with festival

Italian artistic director bids to celebrate Saudi Arabia’s cultural identity with festival
  • Festi worked on canceled event to mark opening of G20 summit in Riyadh
  • Italian wants a patron to help with spectacular project in several cities

ROME: One of the most famous Italian artistic directors and producers is looking to organize a festival of Saudi culture to celebrate its unique identity.

Valerio Festi envisages open-air events and installations in several cities to help mark the Kingdom’s history and culture, and its vision for the future.

Bologna-born Festi has been responsible for many international open-air celebrations based on the traditions of the Renaissance and Baroque periods.

For years he has created these spectacular events, in Europe and the Arab world, including his latest, when lights, dance, water and a huge hot air balloon were utilized to mark the opening ceremony of the World Cup in Qatar.

The artist lived in Saudi Arabia for a few months in 2020 to work on the opening event for the G20 summit in Riyadh, but it was canceled because of COVID-19 restrictions.

He told Arab News: “I had the opportunity of getting to know Saudi Arabia and its people directly, and to appreciate its extraordinary background of culture and traditions, an immense treasury which I believe is not known enough about abroad.

“That memory, that treasury must be publicized and become as well-known as the huge achievements of the Kingdom throughout the years. A story of success could not happen without such a background.”

He added that he is convinced that “the fashion of the Saudi past was father to the country’s present success.”

He added: “That's a story which must be told, with a festival.

“I propose myself to be the art director of that festival, which will be held in Saudi cities and brought alive by local and international artists who would perform and make their mark with lights, music, dance and other works of artistic merit.

“It would bring intensity to such a complex and rich past, which is the basis for a spectacular future.”

Festi is now looking for a patron, someone he describes as a mecenate, for his project.

He said: “I’m looking for someone who wants to organize a series of shows going on at least for one month in several Saudi cities.

“This would be a unique festival for everyone to enjoy. It would be held in open spaces and enriched with installations of Saudi artworks which would mark the dialogue of the Kingdom with its future.”

Festi is supported in his quest by the Italian Saudi Business Group, a not-for-profit association based in Milan. It has operated since 2013 in Jeddah under the patronage of the Italian Consulate General and the city’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

ISBG President Alessandra Serafini said: “Festi represents one of the Italian excellences in his field, and we are happy to collaborate and promote his work in Saudi Arabia.”