Saudi cinema’s rising stars in the frame

JEDDAH: Effat University has hosted its fifth annual VDP Showreel, a film festival showcasing student productions and media projects.

The Showreel was organized by the university’s visual and digital production department on Monday under the patronage of Vice President of Board of Trustees and General Supervisor of Effat University, Princess Lolwah Al-Faisal.

The Showreel’s slogan was “Creating Cinema, One Frame at a Time.”

Previous Showreels have drawn praise from leading media figures.

“Your films show that you have one of the main tools for the fourth generation’s media wars. I am proud of what I have seen today and I am happy with these amazing young women with their great ability and bright future,” said Osama Haykal, former Egyptian media minister and president of Egyptian Media Production City.

The program included a VDP exhibition, a red carpet, a 90-minute movie screening made by the VDP Effat filmmakers at the Effat Film Theater, and a tribute to guests of honor.

Chairman of the visual and digital production department, Dr. Mohammed Ghazala, praised Princess Al-Faisal’s vision in founding the film school.
“No one was sure what would happen,” he told Arab News. “But it was a vision that is now a reality, and we have a film school, film students and film graduates.”

The guests of honor were consultant at the Royal Court and pioneering Saudi filmmaker Abdullah Al-Mohaisen; President of the Academy of Arts in Egypt, Dr. Ahlam Younes; Artistic Director of Dubai International Film Festival Masoud Amralla; Saudi producer Saleh Fawzan; Associate Director of the Tisch School in New York University, Patricia Pearson; and Saudi media producer Ahmed Alshugairi.

“We were impressed (by students’) courageousness in pursuing degrees in VDP at a time when there were no cinemas in the Kingdom,” Pearson said.
“VPD students and alumni, you are entering the industry at a very interesting and unique time, when your education and skills are going to be even more relevant and necessary than when you started the program only a few years ago,” she said.

Alshugairi was impressed with students’ work: “It’s a great start to see students who are passionate about this industry, whether animation, filmmaking, directing or scriptwriting — there is a nice variety.”


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