Ithra Film Production announces new projects at film festival

Ithra Film Production announces new projects at film festival
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Ithra Film Production selected four features and 11 short films from 170 submissions. (Supplied)
Ithra Film Production announces new projects at film festival
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Ithra Film Production selected four features and 11 short films from 170 submissions. (Supplied)
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Updated 08 May 2024
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Ithra Film Production announces new projects at film festival

Ithra Film Production announces new projects at film festival
  • The IFP seeks to highlight Saudi stories and discover new voices

DHAHRAN: The King Abdulaziz World Cultural Center, or Ithra, announced 15 new film projects this week at the 10th Saudi Film Festival, which concludes on May 9.

The Saudi film funding program selected four features and 11 short films from 170 submissions over the past year.

The entries were submitted by emerging Saudi filmmakers vying to take their concepts from the drawing board to silver screens across the globe.

Since its inception six years ago, the IFP has played a vital role in supporting Saudi Arabia’s fast-growing film industry, by nurturing home-grown talent and fostering cinematic content through commissioning and co-funding opportunities.

The IFP seeks to highlight Saudi stories and discover new voices and creative storytellers with the ultimate goal of having their films showcased on national and international platforms.

After reviewing an unprecedented number of high-quality submissions, the jury ultimately settled on the 15 films that together comprise an array of unique untold stories presented by talented storytellers who tapped into Saudi Arabia’s rich culture for ideas.

IFP also introduced a range of initiatives aimed at providing platforms for film producers, advancing standards of excellence in filmmaking and empowering new talent in the region.

Additionally, they host numerous workshops and seminars in the field of representation and production, writing and directing, among others.

Since its first film in 2018, IFP has funded 20 titles and produced four which have been showcased at 95 film festivals across the globe, winning 34 awards.

This includes “Hajjan” which most recently won three awards at the Gulf Film Festival including best feature, best actor and best cinematography.


Road-cooling tech will provide Hajj pilgrims with respite from heat

Road-cooling tech will provide Hajj pilgrims with respite from heat
Updated 11 sec ago
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Road-cooling tech will provide Hajj pilgrims with respite from heat

Road-cooling tech will provide Hajj pilgrims with respite from heat
  • The upgrade is part of Kingdom’s ongoing efforts to enhance infrastructure and services for millions of pilgrims

RIYADH: Innovative road-cooling technology is set to make pilgrims’ experience of Hajj safer and more comfortable as temperatures soar to 46 degrees Celsius in the summer heat.

A spokesman for the Roads General Authority, Abdulaziz Al-Otaibi, told Arab News: “When roads are exposed to sunlight, they absorb heat, reaching up to 70 degrees Celsius of temperature retention once the sun sets.”

As a result, he added, the road begins to emit heat — leading to something known as a heat island phenomenon. To counter this, a cooling material that absorbs less solar radiation than traditional substances is being applied to pavements around holy sites.

By implementing road-cooling technology in key areas of Makkah, the Saudi government is creating a more hospitable environment for pilgrims to ensure their journey to the holy city is as smooth as possible. (SPA/Supplied)

“The material we have developed is most effective during sunny weather as it reflects the sun’s rays, which helps lower the temperature of the road by reducing heat absorption,” said Al-Otaibi.

This helps reduce heat build-up, keeping the road cooler and making it more pleasant for pedestrians.

HIGHLIGHTS

• The Roads General Authority is now expanding the road-cooling project to areas in Mina, Arafat, and Muzdalifah.

• The material is also being applied to 25,000 square meters near Namira Mosque in Arafat.

• The innovation is setting a precedent for other countries in ensuring the safety and comfort of religious visitors.

The road-cooling technology is part of Saudi Arabia’s ongoing efforts to enhance infrastructure and services for the millions of pilgrims from around the world who visit Makkah for their spiritual Hajj journey.

By implementing road-cooling technology in key areas of Makkah, the Saudi government is creating a more hospitable environment for pilgrims to ensure their journey to the holy city is as smooth as possible. (SPA/Supplied)

Al-Otaibi added: “Data shows that this cooling material helped decrease the temperature of asphalt surfaces by 12 to 15 degrees Celsius, which is equivalent to a 20 percent reduction compared to roads without this material.”

By implementing the technology in key areas of Makkah, the Saudi government aims to create a more hospitable environment for pilgrims and ensure their journey to the holy city is as smooth as possible.

The material we have developed is most effective during sunny weather as it reflects the sun’s rays, which helps lower the temperature of the road by reducing heat absorption.

Abdulaziz Al-Otaibi, Roads General Authority spokesman

“Last year, we tested the application of this road-cooling material for the first time during the Hajj season in the Jamarat corridors and it was a success,” said Al-Otaibi.

The RGA is now expanding the project to areas in Mina, Arafat, and Muzdalifah. The material is also being applied to 25,000 square meters near Namira Mosque in Arafat.

The innovative substance was developed in partnership with organizations including the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs and Housing, the Pilgrim Experience Program, and the Quality of Life Program. It is made in the Kingdom under the RGA’s research center umbrella.

The road-cooling technology is a testament to Saudi Arabia’s proactive measures to improve the infrastructure and services provided during Hajj, setting a precedent for other countries in ensuring the safety and comfort of religious visitors.

 


Young Saudi volunteers step up to serve pilgrims in Makkah, holy sites

Young Saudi volunteers step up to serve pilgrims in Makkah, holy sites
Updated 42 sec ago
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Young Saudi volunteers step up to serve pilgrims in Makkah, holy sites

Young Saudi volunteers step up to serve pilgrims in Makkah, holy sites
  • Nawaf Khayyat, chairman of the Makkah Guests Association, told Arab News that over 30 associations serve pilgrims

MAKKAH: Each year, large numbers of Saudi youths from all regions of the Kingdom come together to support Hajj pilgrims on their spiritual journey, with a wide range of initiatives ensuring that worshippers are treated as honored guests.

Pilgrims witness the creativity and dedication of the volunteers as they work tirelessly, utilizing their expertise, skills, and talents, alongside the accumulated experience of their supervisors, to deliver high-quality services to worshippers.

As part of Saudi Vision 2030, the Kingdom is encouraging volunteer activity with the goal of reaching 1 million volunteers by 2030.

Volunteering in Makkah involves a wide range of services, including guiding pilgrims to and from the Grand Mosque, distributing water bottles and free meals, and interpretation for non-Arabic speakers. (SPA)

Volunteering in Makkah involves a wide range of services, including guiding pilgrims to and from the Grand Mosque, airport transportation, distributing water bottles and free meals, translation for non-Arabic speakers, and overseeing all pilgrim services.

Nawaf Khayyat, chairman of the Makkah Guests Association, told Arab News that over 30 associations serve pilgrims.

The association, in its fourth year, has the support of Saudi authorities and provides wide-ranging services to pilgrims. It has launched more than 40 initiatives, with the number volunteers on the national platform rising to more than 1,700.

FASTFACT

Year-round programs focus on training tour guides and qualifying female workers to serve pilgrims during Hajj.

Khayyat said that the focus during this year’s Hajj season is on three key programs. The first, “Qiladah,” aims to educate bus drivers transporting pilgrims with the participation of university academics. The second is an enrichment program designed for tour guides, offering various educational initiatives.

The third program involves cultural guides working with domestic pilgrim companies in cooperation with the Coordination Council for Domestic Pilgrims. This program is developed in partnership with Umm Al-Qura University, the Hajj and Umrah Gift Association, and several other entities. It is designed to equip cultural guides with extensive knowledge and skills for interacting with the pilgrims, with over 200 cultural guides in attendance.

Year-round programs also focus on training tour guides and qualifying female workers to serve pilgrims during Hajj.

Ali Al-Youbi, a member of Al-Houda Charitable Association, said that their activities are centered at Al-Juhfah, a designated location for pilgrims entering a sacred state of Ihram. Preparations began at the end of May to welcome worshippers arriving from King Abdulaziz International Airport.

Over 150 buses, carrying pilgrims from Iraq, Syria, and African countries such as Niger and Nigeria, were received by the association. They provided essential services to pilgrims, including water distribution, refreshments such as coffee and tea, as well as flowers, sun-protective umbrellas, and containers to keep water cool.

Al-Youbi said that the association has constructed a photography gate based on a proposal from the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah. The gate serves to commemorate the memories of arriving pilgrims, and features greetings in English, French, Arabic, and Persian.

During the Hajj season, the association focuses on feeding and providing water to pilgrims in Muzdalifah, Arafat, and Mina, in coordination with the Sqaia and Rvada Committee in Makkah. Their goal is to distribute 1 million water bottles and an equal number of meals over the course of six days. Additionally, they offer guidance and assistance to lost pilgrims.

Many professionals, such as doctors, teachers and engineers, join voluntary associations during Hajj to serve pilgrims in Makkah, attending to their needs, treating health issues, and providing the necessary amenities for a comfortable pilgrimage.

Jameela Al-Hathli, a female volunteer, said that voluntary work in Makkah has its own special character. She has been volunteering for three years, caring for pilgrims, providing gifts, attending to their health, educating them about rituals, and working in tourist guidance.

She said that initiatives designed to serve pilgrims provide round-the-clock care, guidance, and support. This includes answering queries, taking worshippers on tours inside and outside Makkah, and directing and helping them overcome obstacles they may face in the holy sites. Volunteer teams also provided courses in first aid and CPR, she added.

By offering this comprehensive assistance, the initiatives aim to enrich the pilgrimage experience, and extend a helping hand throughout the journey.

Al-Hathli said that voluntary work should come from a place of love and not merely for appearance or recognition. Volunteers focus on creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for the pilgrims, ensuring that they feel appreciated and cared for.

To bridge language barriers and showcase authentic Saudi hospitality, the initiatives rely on volunteer translators proficient in various languages. This enables effective communication, and demonstrates the genuine spirit of welcome and hospitality that pilgrims can expect to receive. From the moment they arrive until their departure, pilgrims are accompanied, supported, and treated as honored guests.

 


Egypt’s president arrives in Jeddah to perform Hajj

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi arrives in Jeddah on Friday to perform Hajj. (SPA)
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi arrives in Jeddah on Friday to perform Hajj. (SPA)
Updated 14 June 2024
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Egypt’s president arrives in Jeddah to perform Hajj

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi arrives in Jeddah on Friday to perform Hajj. (SPA)
  • El-Sisi arrived in the Kingdom on Thursday and prayed at the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah

RIYADH: Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi arrived in Jeddah on Friday to perform Hajj as the first day of the annual pilgrimage got underway. 

El-Sisi arrived in the Kingdom on Thursday and later prayed at the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah. 

Wearing the ihram, the president was seen off by the governor of Madinah Prince Salman bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz earlier on Friday at Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz International Airport.


Saudi Ministry of Islamic Affairs readies for Eid Al-Adha prayers

2,945 mosques and musallas have been prepared for Eid Al-Adha prayers in Riyadh and affiliated governorates. (SPA)
2,945 mosques and musallas have been prepared for Eid Al-Adha prayers in Riyadh and affiliated governorates. (SPA)
Updated 14 June 2024
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Saudi Ministry of Islamic Affairs readies for Eid Al-Adha prayers

2,945 mosques and musallas have been prepared for Eid Al-Adha prayers in Riyadh and affiliated governorates. (SPA)

RIYADH: The Saudi Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Dawa and Guidance has prepared 2,945 mosques and musallas for Eid Al-Adha prayers in Riyadh and affiliated governorates.

The ministry said its Riyadh branch is conducting inspection tours, as well as carrying out maintenance and cleaning work, and is providing all mosques in the region with necessities including incense to ensure that all mosques and musallas are ready to receive worshippers.


Minister tours media offices at holy Hajj sites

Saudi Minister of Media Salman bin Youssef Al-Dossary inspects media offices at the holy sites. (@SalmanAldosary)
Saudi Minister of Media Salman bin Youssef Al-Dossary inspects media offices at the holy sites. (@SalmanAldosary)
Updated 14 June 2024
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Minister tours media offices at holy Hajj sites

Saudi Minister of Media Salman bin Youssef Al-Dossary inspects media offices at the holy sites. (@SalmanAldosary)
  • Al-Dossary visited the media centre in Arafat, which has all necessary equipment to facilitate the work of local journalists and their international partners
  • He also toured the ministry’s office in Mina to inspect the facilities there

RIYADH: Saudi Minister of Media Salman bin Youssef Al-Dossary has inspected media offices at the holy sites where he was briefed on the techniques used by the Saudi Broadcasting Authority in covering the Hajj rituals in Arafat.

He also visited the Arafat Tower and was briefed on the authority’s mobile television studio.

Al-Dossary visited the media centre in Arafat, which has all necessary equipment to facilitate the work of local journalists and their international partners.

He also toured the ministry’s office in Mina to inspect the facilities there.

Al-Dossary underscored the significant role media professionals have played in promoting the Kingdom’s efforts to serve pilgrims. He also highlighted the keenness of the Saudi leadership to facilitate pilgrims in performing their Hajj rituals with ease.

The Saudi Broadcasting Authority has approximately 100 mobile cameras, and 100 correspondents and broadcasters.

It has also established an operation room to support logistics services and prepare over 700 news items in 12 languages.

The production teams consist of individuals specialized in news editing and field coverage.