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What to expect from the first Red Sea International Film Festival in Jeddah

Conceived in 2019, Jeddah’s Red Sea International Film Festival begins Monday with a host of Arab and international stars expected to descend on the city.

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Known for its artistic bent in a Kingdom that has made strides to promote creative industries in recent years, Jeddah has long been the focal point of the Saudi film scene.

The festival, which runs until December 16, will be held in the city’s Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Red Sea International Film Festival was due to hold its inaugural event in March of 2020 before the COVID-19 pandemic halted events worldwide.

Cinema was officially banned in Saudi Arabia until reforms ushered in by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman lifted restrictions with a screening of Marvel’s Black Panther in April 2018.

In November, the Saudi Film Commission announced a strategy designed to grow the film industry’s revenue to $500 million.

Local and international star power

The festival will exhibit some of Saudi Arabia’s finest filmmaking talent alongside international big-hitters.

Romantic musical Cyrano — directed by Joe Wright and starring Peter Dinklage of Game of Thrones fame — will open the festival.

The Maggie Gyllenhaal-directed The Lost Daughter will also be screened.

It follows the story of an English professor who strikes up an uneasy friendship while on holiday in Greece.

The film stars Dakota Johnson, Olivia Coleman, and Jessie Buckley.

A total of 27 Saudi films will also be shown at the nine-day festival.

Five Saudi directors collaborated to put together Becoming, a film that takes a deep look at contemporary life in the Kingdom through five different storylines.

These include a 40-year-old hairdresser’s struggles with contemplating an abortion, a bride who disappears on the night of her wedding, and an infertility healer whose life intersects with a young pharmacist trying to get pregnant.

Becoming was directed jointly by Sara Mesfer, Jawaher Alamri, Noor Alameer, Hind Alfahhad, and Fatima al-Banawi.

Fay’s Palette, directed by Jeddah-based Anas Batahaf, follows the eponymous protagonist who lives a secluded life, expressing her inner world through painting.

Junoon is a horror film directed by Riyadh’s Maan bin Abdulrahman. It tells the story of Khalid, a wannabe vlogger who travels to Southern California to document paranormal happenings.

Lebanese director Omar Naim’s Route Ten will premiere at the festival.

The plot centers on siblings Maryam and Nasser who are planning to travel from Riyadh to Abu Dhabi to attend their father’s wedding until their flight is canceled.

Forced to make the journey by car instead, the two spend the time confronting a frayed relationship strained by their mother’s death and overbearing father – all the while facing unexpected perils of the desert road.

Awards show

Several awards with prizes of up to $100,000 can be won by filmmakers at the festival.

Both feature-length and short films will be judged. There are categories designed to foster emerging Saudi talent, as well as international directors.

The New Saudi category is open to new and established directors who have produced films in which the lead creatives are from the Kingdom. The films must be produced or shot in Saudi Arabia.

The Tajreeb category focuses on Saudi films that are more experimental in nature.

Organizers selected judges from within the film community who have not taken part in the production of any film entered in the competition.

Read more:

Saudi Arabia’s inaugural Red Sea Film Festival to kick off in December

Saudi Arabia’s inaugural Red Sea International Film Festival unveils new dates

Saudi film ‘The Tambour of Retribution’ selected as Best Int’l Film entry for Oscars

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Almarai signs an MoU with the Authority of People with Disabilities to train and employ them.

Almarai Company signed a memorandum of understanding with the Authority of People with
Disabilities to train, qualify and employ persons with disabilities. This came on the sidelines of
the First International Labor Market Conference, organized by the Ministry of Human Resources
and Social Development on December 13 – 14, 2023, at the King Abdulaziz Convention Center
in Riyadh.

The memorandum was signed by the Chief Human Resources Officer of Almarai Company,
Fahad Mohammed Aldrees, and the CEO of the Authority of People with Disabilities, Dr.
Hisham bin Muhammad Al-Haidari.

“This agreement comes within the framework of the company’s social responsibility program, as
Almarai employs more than 500 people with disabilities, which is one of the most suitable work
environments for them.” Fahad Aldrees said. Pointing out that Almarai has the “Silent Line”,
which is one of its production lines that is designated for people with hearing disabilities.

It is worth mentioning that Almarai supports over 300 charity organizations annually across the
kingdom that operate in the field of community development.

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Central Phuket Shopping Center Prepared Surprises This Christmas & New Year 2024

Central Phuket Shopping Center, the luxury lifestyle landmark o Phuket, invites everyone to celebrate Christmas and New Year 2024 in The Great Celebration 2024 Campaign. Joining hands with global partner ‘The Pokémon Company’, Central Phuket bring over Pokémon, the super cute character popular around the world, for all locals and international fans. The special campaign launch presents a procession of cute ‘Pikachu’ alongside with the giant Christmas tree for the first time in Thailand.
This December, Central Phuket prepared many activities for shoppers when visiting Phuket! Experience the “Surprise of the Day” with free Cotton Candy for our little ones, a sweet and fluffy treat, a special gift from Central Phuket. Bring your kids to enjoy this sweet treat every Saturday and Sunday throughout the month of December. Don’t miss the Christmas Carol that
everyone loves, little Santas spread freshness by singing together in the Christmas Carol activity. Plus, Christmas Live Music, the festival of joy is back! Celebrate Christmas in a luxurious and classy atmosphere, enjoying the music that will bring us joy. Also, there will be Christmas Troop, Santa Claus is coming to town! The Santa troop will spread happiness throughout Central Phuket. Lastly, Cake Workshop, workshop activity with Chef Sebastien’s IRON CHEF Thailand teaching how to make Christmas Vanilla Cake. A special activity for the Christmas season. Moreover, Central Phuket provides special promotion exclusively for international tourists throughout December 23 – January 24 including:

1) Get Free! Tourist welcome discount package valued up to THB 10,000.
2) Receive THB 100 Gift voucher when spending up to THB 2,500 per receipt.
3) Get to buy ‘Happy Holiday Collections’ special price: Pokémon 2-in-1 pillow blanket, tumbler, travel bag set, and keychain. Visit redemption counter for the price.
4) Exclusive for Grab Users get discount code up to 25% off* when traveling to participating Central Shopping Centers.
5) Receive famous Elephant Pants when spending over THB 5,000 in shopping center.
6) Get Free! H&M THB 100 gift voucher when booking any accommodations in Phuket with Agoda. Terms and conditions apply.

Central Phuket is a home of global luxury brands such as Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Ermenegildo Zegna, Gucci, Hermès, Louis Vuitton, and Saint Laurent. Exclusive for this season, Louis Vuitton launches a pop-up store located at Central Phuket. The design is inspired by the story of Damier or Checkerboard, the brand’s signature pattern. This classic pattern was created by Louis
Vuitton and his son Georges Vuitton in 1888 and has always been part of the design of Maison’s iconic items and concepts. Find clothes, shoes, bags, and accessories for men at the Pop-up Store from Louis Vuitton at Central Phuket, 1st floor, from today until 31 March 2024. And with over 500 renowned fashion brands and lifestyle shops ranging from local to international
well-known brands covering all categories, international shoppers will be able to find what they are looking for in Central Phuket.
Central Phuket is located in the heart of one of the world’s most famous beach cities, Phuket and await to welcome both locals and international visitors this holiday. Also, don’t miss one of the most joyful New Year Count Down events in Phuket city at Central Phuket Shopping Center on December 31, 2023.

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Saudi Fund for Development Provides $100 Million Development Loan for the Rogun Hydropower Project

The Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) Chief Executive Officer, H.E. Sultan Al-Marshad, signed a new development loan agreement with the Minister of Finance of the Republic of Tajikistan, H.E. Kahhorzoda Fayziddin Sattor, through which SFD is contributing $100 million USD to fund the Rogun Hydropower Project, a landmark initiative that will enhance energy,
food, and water security, and foster sustainable development in the country. The signing was attended by the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the Republic of Tajikistan, H.E. Waleed Al-Reshiadan, and the Ambassador of Tajikistan to Saudi Arabia, H.E. Akram Karimi, alongside other officials from both sides. SFD’s development loan will help contribute towards a more sustainable and equitable food and water future for Tajikistan, while driving the country’s energy transition and climate resilience. The project aims to contribute to the national energy security and will help advance sustainable
development in the Republic of Tajikistan, by providing the renewable electricity supply to meet local demand and expand electricity production domestically and regionally, producing 3600 MW of energy. The loan agreement will also finance the construction of a 335-meter-tall dam, which will enhance irrigation capabilities and bolster agricultural activities across the country. Additionally, the project will improve flood protection through the construction of four hydraulic
tunnels for diversion and drainage. It will also provide clean and drinkable water to people through desalination, and help advance socio-economic development, by creating both direct and indirect jobs.
Importantly, this project also supports the realization of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); specifically, SDG 2, Zero Hunger, SDG 6, Clean Water and Sanitation, and SDG 7, Affordable and Clean Energy.
On this occasion, the CEO of SFD, H.E. Sultan Al-Marshad, said: “Today’s signing marks a major milestone in our shared journey towards a more sustainable future. With this landmark development loan, SFD is not just supporting Tajikistan’s energy future, but also its sustainable development and the well-being of its people. The Rogun Hydropower Project is a beacon of
hope for a bright future that is powered by clean, renewable energy. It will propel Tajikistan towards environmental stewardship and prosperity.”

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