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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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Line-up For Dakar Rally Closing Party Revealed and it’s Epic




The renowned Dakar Rally is currently underway and it’s bringing the world’s top professional racers to the desert of Saudi Arabia, not only that but the line-up for the Dakar Rally Final Party concert has also been revealed and it is epic!

Happening on January 17th, the closing party will take place in Qiddiya where the winners from each category of the Rally will be crowned on the final podium of the event.

The event is bringing to the stage the international stars DJ Snake, Wiz Khalifa and Young Thug.

General admission tickets for the closing concert start from SAR150 ($40) while VIP packages are available for SAR1,250.

The Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia kicked off on the 5th and will last till January 17th, featuring more than 500 pilots from 62 countries who started their 7,800 kilometer journey in Jeddah and will finish in the new city of Qiddiya.

Hurry up and click on this link to purchase your tickets!

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RSIFF Giving 5 Female Directors Their Breakthrough in the Industry




Organizers of the Red Sea International Film Festival (RSIFF) are giving the chance to five Saudi female directors to work on a unique new movie project entitled ‘Untitled Omnibus Feature.’

The movie which is produced and funded by the RSIFF is expected to be the breakthrough for the aspiring directors Hind Alfahhad, Jowaher Alamri, Noor Alameer, Sara Mesfer, and Fatima Al-Banawi, proving once again that the film festival is working as a platform to support young Saudi filmmakers.

The project is a huge platform for Saudi women in the movie industry and will debut at the inaugural festival in March 2020. To make things even more interesting, award-winning Palestinian filmmaker Suha Arraf is screenwriting supervisor on the portmanteau film.

The five uprising directors Hind Alfahhad, Jowaher Alamri, Noor Alameer, Sara Mesfer and Fatima Al-Banawi will work individually on creating short films which will then be combined into an omnibus documentary feature.

“This project provides powerful first-person accounts of contemporary life in Saudi, from Saudi women, at a time of fascinating change,” festival director Mahmoud Sabbagh said.

“We believe in film’s capacity to advance diversity and integration. Supporting innovative new works is central to this mission. There is no better way to work toward this than by creating opportunities for Saudi filmmakers to tell their own stories.” He added.


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‘Leila, the Land of Imagination’ Riyadh Season’s Grand Finale




Riyadh Season is wrapping up its outstanding calendar and is coming to an end soon but leaving us with one grand finale to mark a truly epic season that met everyone’s expectations and catered to each segment.

The strategic partner Balich Worldwide Shows has announced the show  “Leila, the Land of Imagination” in cooperation with the General Entertainment Authority, the show which will be held on the 16th of January, is expected to be the most memorable show of the entire festival!

The show will take place at King Fahd Stadium, it aims at celebrating the vibrant future of the Saudi society with its strong roots and magnificent lives. This essence of Saudi Arabia will be showcased through the eyes of an adventurous and dreamy 10-year old girl who was selected to lead the show, the young girl is named Leila which means ‘Daughter of the night.’

“The team, led by Creative Director Anghela Alò, has conceived a young and pure lead character named Leila: the symbol of Saudi Arabia today, but also of a new generation embarking on a constant changing journey towards Vision 2030. Leila will dream, imagine her future and face her fears looking at the world without any prejudice.” Balich Worldwide Shows announced on their official Instagram page.

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We are thrilled to announce that Riyadh Season has been extended: the Grand Finale show "Leila, the Land of Imagination” will be staged with some new surprising elements on January 16th at King Fahd Stadium as a spectacular and amazing celebration! . . The team, led by Creative Director Anghela Alò, has conceived a young and pure lead character named Leila: the symbol of Saudi Arabia today, but also of a new generation embarking on a constant changing journey towards Vision 2030. Leila will dream, imagine her future and face her fears looking at the world without any prejudice. . . @riyadhseason @enjoy_saudi @timeentsa @anghela_alo #bws #show #liveshows #event #ceremony #showbusiness #liveentertainment #entertainment #creativity #stagemanager #setdesign #casting #lightingdesign #performingarts #performance #costumedesign #eventproduction #choreographer #dance #creativedirector #riyadhseason #leila #followleila #enjoysaudi #ksa #ceremonies #riyadh #riyadhlife #saudiarabia #kingfahdstadium

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Leila simply symbolize the new evolved and empowered generation of Saudi Arabia, who are changing day by day and soon will reach the vision of 2030. Leila is a girl who even though is ambitious, still looks at the world with pure innocence and respect to the norms and values of her culture.

In order to amplify the message of the show, the creators used an innovative communication project raised together with the storytelling to communicate directly with the target using social media platforms and for the first time ever, in a larger scale live show!

Follow the show on Instagram and book your tickets now through this link.



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