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In Pictures: Cuba Gooding at the Saudi Film Festival



As promised, Oscar-winning star Cuba Gooding Jr. made it to the fifth Saudi Film Festival on Monday, at which he spoke to the audience about his experiences in Hollywood and the kind of challenges that faced him during his careers and how he overcame them.

The Saudi film festival is part of the Sharqiah Season in the Eastern Province, that has been witnessing an impressive success so far; in bringing up international stars, singers and sports to highlight the nation’s own heritage.

Gooding Jr is known for his roles in “A Few Good Men”, “Men of Honor” and “American Crime Story,” among others. The star had previously won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his role the 1996 film “Jerry Maguire,” alongside Tom Cruise and Renee Zellweger.

Gooding Jr. arrived for the event, at the King Abdul Aziz World Center for Culture (Ithra), in the company of Claudine De Niro, the estranged wife of actor Robert De Niro’s son, Raphael. And they were all welcomed by renowned Saudi film producer and Hollywood businessman Mohammed Al-Turki.

The star gave an almost 60 minute talk to the audience, about his career, life challenges and downfalls that faced him during his journey towards success in the field of film industry. Furthermore, Gooding offered advice to those who dream of perusing a career in acting.

“No one prepares you for success,” he said. “That’s why you see a lot of actors that star in movies, then disappear. Or you see athletes that make a $100 million and then they disappear, too. They weren’t ready for it.

“You have to envision yourself standing on that stage, holding an Oscar over your head, saying, ‘This is for the Middle-East’. You have to envision the script that you will write and envision being on that stage, holding that Oscar.

“People asked me after I won that Academy Award if I ever thought I would be on that stage. I always said, ‘Not in a million years.’ But that’s a lie. You have to envision yourself on that stage, winning that award, so that when you succeed it will feel normal, not like it’s something special, so that you can do it again.”

Finally, the American actor expressed his intention in helping and supporting filmmakers from Saudi Arabia; through his production company that has just been recently launched. When asked if he has plans in mind for the region, he said

“I do, actually. I have a couple of things. I don’t want to give it away but let’s just say that there is a lot of great literature that I’ve read, a lot of different books, including Arabian Nights. It’s hard to talk about the things in development because you don’t want to give it away but there is definitely something in development.”

Well, we definitely would love to see production of movies taking place in Middle Eastern countries, and we’re hoping to see the Kingdom more involved in the film industry.

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International Orchestra Delivers Remarkable Performance in Rose Village




The city of Taif has witnessed a remarkable performance from Ukrainian and Russian musicians who played symphonies by Mozart and Beethoven at the Rose Village in Arrudaf Park. 

The show made sure to take on the theme of Ward village and therefore had the musicians dressed as white flowers and imitated rose ones, the thing that made the show extra special and personalized.


The musicians played from a height of seven meters, and still managed to delight the entire crowd with their amazing performance of the famous symphonies.

The reason behind having such a huge event as Ward village is to promote and show recognition for the rose as an icon to the city.

“The festival’s content was elaborated, and all the activities and events organized so as to promote the value, and the social and economic significance of Taif’s roses,” Mashaal Al-Rashid, head of the company organizing the Rose Village Festival, stated.

The orchestra were chosen carefully as they were selected from a number of countries after having delivered several performances in many capitals.


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Saudi Technical Students to Participate in a Global Competition




Students and experts from Saudi Arabia will showcase their innovative skills in the ‘WorldSkills‘ competition for aircraft maintenance and welding, taking place in Kazan, Russia on Thursday.

The competition will include representatives from 75 different countries across the world and will last for 6 days.

“This is a biennial global competition during which more than 700 young men and women from 75 countries compete in 56 various categories,” said the CEO of Colleges of Excellence Dr. Fahad bin Abdul Aziz Al-Tuwaijri. 

“The competition covers industrial and service professions with the highest international standards to promote technical and vocational training and raise awareness about the impact of such training.

“This competition aims to shed light on the importance of technical skills, encourage young people to acquire them, discover their skills and develop them and find cooperation opportunities among contestants and different sectors,” he added.

The following are the qualified participants from international technical colleges and strategic partnership institutes: Idris Abduljalil Al-Haji from the International Aviation Technical College (IATC) in Riyadh, Hassan Hussain Al-Rashid from the Saudi Technical Institute for Petroleum Services, aircraft maintenance expert Ibrahim Khalid Yamani from IATC, and welding expert engineer Ghazi Mohammed Al-Mustanir from the Saudi Technical Institute for Petroleum Services.

We wish the students the best of luck and we certainly have faith in them that they will give us utter pride.


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Ward Village: The Hero Event of This Taif Season




Ever since its launch, the Taif Season has turned the entire city into a magnet attracting visitors from all the surrounding regions, and the main hero of the events this year and the one proving to be the most popular is the Ward Village. 

Rose Village has so far has been bringing daily around 10,000 people to Arrudaf Park, where they get to spend the entire day there enjoying the live entertainment and shows.

“By the end of August, when the total number of those who visited our village is disclosed, I am sure the figures will be surprising. For the time being, we can say that we receive about 10,000 people per day. The exact number will be announced at the end of Taif Season,” a spokesman said.

What makes the event special is that the village is bringing together art, dance performances and music all together by blending them with the fragrant roses in the summer resort.

The village also brought one of Europe’s leading entertainment troupes and bands who helped create an amazing atmosphere for visitors and added a touch of joy for visitors.


“Some activities are repeated three times a day to cater for the flow of visitors who come at different times,” he added.

Activities include the rose lab, where attendees get to learn all about the rose oil industry and how fragrances are made, it includes all the steps from when the rose is picked to condensation and, finally, bottling.


Another show you don’t want to miss out on is the horrible rose shows, yep I didn’t misspell that, the horrible rose introduces to multiple rooms with dim lighting, sound effects and characters from horror movies! The surprises inside are what make the visitors’ experiences unforgettable.


You can also pitch in and help in making the local traditional handmade products, and create a sentimental souvenir with a memory that will last forever.

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