Fatima Al-Banawi is known for her role as the protagonist in Saudi Arabia’s first ever rom-com movie “Barakah Meets Barakah.” But beyond acting in this story, she has started a project collecting other people’s stories in Jeddah.
In April, the United Arab Emirates launched the Soft Power Council to enhance the country’s image regionally and globally.
As the state toys with a cultural opening at home, it is beginning to embrace the power of the arts to improve the country’s image abroad.
In 2014, Yemeni-Scottish filmmaker Sara Ishaq’s film “Karama Has No Walls,” an account of the March 18, 2011 massacre of 53 protesters gathering for prayers by the Yemeni government, was nominated for an Academy Award for best documentary short film.
Maitham Al Musawi is a rarity in Oman. In addition to being an orthopedic surgeon, he is an award winning independent filmmaker.
Founded by Emiratis Butheina Kazim and Mishaal Al Gergawi in 2014 in Dubai, Cinema Akil intends to be “a space for conversations around cinema.” The founders set out to build a fixed space for independent films and in the process began hosting pop-up film events at various locations in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Sharjah, including a series over the hot Emirati summer that encouraged an appreciation of the sun by screening films inspired by it.