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Najdat Anzour "Threatened" for Screening Al-Saud Regime's Story Around World

The renowned Syrian Director Najdat Anzour declared on Thursday that Al-Saud regime is seeking to harm him with the possibility of disclaiming the responsibility, stressing that the film, King of the Sands, is based on reliable references and it opens the door before amateurs to break a taboo.  

Speaking at a press conference held in 'Dama Rose' Hotel in Damascus, Anzour said: "After screening the film, King of the Sands, in Damascus, a Saudi person named 'Adnan al-Ayedh' issued a Fatwa stating that killing me is a must and Halal because the film is an assault against the Saudi Family- the treasury of Islam."

He added that the Saudi government adopted no measure against this person despite the fact that al-Ayedh's Fatwa contradicts the teachings  of Islam. "I assure everyone that regardless of the possibility of this harm to happen, the Saudi authority would be accountable for it no matter who the direct doer was."

"I personally hold the Saudi government, security and family princes the legal and personal responsibility for any harm to be caused to my personal safety, personal security, and to the film cast and crew –Arabs and foreigners."

Anzour asserted that he will take the legal and judicial procedures against al-Ayadh and every other side that must deny or face this and have done nothing, considering the inaction in this regard as an implied and explicit consent.

Story of the film

He clarified that the king of the Sands film, which tells the history of terrorism and connects what happened 100 years ago with the current chaos in the Arab world through depicting the foundation of the Saudi Kingdom in the 20 century, is based on reliable references.

The film emphasizes the Prince Abdulaziz Ben Abdulrahman Al-Saud's alliance with the Wahhabi movement and the British government until the declaration of the foundation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia after a series of killings and displacements as well as massacres that swept the Arabian Peninsula under the slogan of the sword and religion.

It, in fact, unveils the reality of Al-Saud family which backs terrorism and works for spreading Takfiri thought in Syria and the whole world as well.

Homeland's interest

Anzour, the director of the film, said that the idea of the 'King of the Sands' was ready before the beginning of what he described   the barbaric campaign against the civilization of the region.

"The context of the film will be clear after screening it. It serves the Syrian society's interest and teaches every Arab child how to stone Satan," he said, asserting that the Syrian government has not financed the film.

"In crises, Drama has to deal with the consequences and to reach solutions for all problems. We have to notice that there is a new generation born during the crisis and we have to work for this generation," Anzour said.

He sees that the screening of the film is done according to homeland's interest.

More than 30 countries have determined to screen the 120-minute film that had its debut in London last September.

The film is in English language and the actors are: Marco Foschi, Fabio Testi, Bill Fellows, Korkmaz Aslan, Mehmet Ozgur, Amjad Hussien, Jihad Obeid, Adnan Abdul Jalil, Yasser Abdullatif, Khaldoun Karout, Randi al-Halabi, Lara Saade.

Hand-in hand with army

Through producing the film and screening it at this time, Anzour has decided to be alongside with the Syrian Arab army in fighting the Saudi-backed Takfiri terrorism that aims at spreading destruction everywhere.   

"The Camera of artist stands alongside the rifle of the Syrian Arab soldier in combating terrorism," Anzour said at the opening ceremony of his film in the Opera House on December 12.

He is preparing for a new film talking about what is going on in Syria according to stories of foreign reporters inside the country.


Reported by: Basma Qaddour

Najdat Anzour's (King of the Sands) Film Soon in Damascus

Born in Aleppo in 1954, renowned Syrian film maker Najdat Anzour was graduated from university with a degree in mechanical engineering. His father Ismael Anzour directed the first Syrian film ever made and was the one to have the greatest impact on Anzour's artistic orientations, and was his guide through cinema and art.

He directed his first commercial at the age of 18, and then worked in Jordan for more than 15 years, directing a variety of very successful projects. His first TV feature ‘Nozha Ala Al Rimal’ (Promenade on the sand) won him the bronze award at the first Bagdad international TV festival in 1987.

The first Jordanian film he directed was ‘Hikaya Sharquiya’ (Eastern Tales) which participated in 23rd international film festival that granted him many awards.

He returned to Syria in 1994 and took part in the great Syrian drama renaissance at the time and founded the visual school of TV. In 1994 he directed the famous TV series ‘Nihayat Rajol Shoujaa’ (The End of a Brave Man), which was considered a breakthrough in the quality of the Arab drama.

(King of the Sands) is a biopic of Abd al-Aziz ibn Abd al-Rahman Al Saud, also known as 'Ibn Saud', an emir of the central Arabian Al Saud clan and founder of the present-day kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The film itself was a shocker. To describe it as a sword, sandal and a camel opera would be to belittle the significance of the story. Set in the Saudi Arabian desert in the early 1930s of the 20th century, it explores the origin of the Saudi Royal family and how their founder Prince Abd al-Aziz Abd al-Rahman al-Saud seized power from their enemies Al Rasheed dynasty in Riyadh to become king in 1932 with a help from the British.

The film attempts at emphasising the connection between modern day terrorism committed by "Jihadists" and extremists, inspired by the Saudi strand of "Islamic" Wahhabism, and succeeds in provoking controversy. It depicts the Saudis in a negative portray with shocking images of violence and crude sexual exploits.

The director Najdat Anzour has said in an interview with the Lebanese" Al Safir" that the movie is a "big production”. "The movie displays the life of the founder of the Al Saud family in Saudi Arabia; Abdulaziz bin Abdurrahman bin Al Saud's returning from exile in Kuwait, his assault on Riyadh to end the Al Rashid dynasty, and his turning to Najd and defeat of the Hashimi family with the help of Britain through their notorious spy John Philby,” he added.

Anzour said that the movie has been produced with high quality and it stars British, Turk, and Italian actors. "The movie faced problems with the Saudis since it disgraces them. But they have many friends around the world and so far they have been attempting to prevent the release,” he asserted.

Anzour has a reputation throughout the Arab world not only for high quality films and TV series, particularly elaborate historical dramas, but also for his treatment of sensitive contemporary issues and his uncompromising rejection of extremism. His message reads: while the Muslim world suffers from a myriad of problems, terrorists are cold-blooded killers who primarily murder Muslims.

(King of the Sands) will be screened Thursday evening at Dar al-Assad for Culture and House (the Opera House) in Damascus.

 Butheina Al-Nounou

Farewell to great actor Salim Kallas

Syrian people bade farewell today to great Syrian actor Salim Kallas who passed away yesterday at his house aged 77. The late actor’s body will be laid to rest in Bab al-Saghir cemetery following noon prayers. His death is a grave loss to Syrian TV drama as he was one of the pioneers who played different roles successfully since the early beginning of Syrian TV.

As a pioneer of Syrian TV drama, Kallas played roles in scores of TV series that reflected his prodigious skill in playing various characters skilfully. The most famous among these series is Maraya (mirrors), a social drama that started in the early 1980s and continued until the present. In cooperation with famous comedian Yasser al-Azmeh, Kallas was able to address a number of important social problems and other issues related to people’s livelihood in comic panels that gave the duet a wide popularity not only in Syria but throughout the Arab world.

The late actor was also famed for playing roles in the series that cast light on the history of Damascus and Syria. These include “The Nights of al-Salehia” and Damascene Days which shed light on the city of Damascus at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century and the struggle of the Syrian people against the Ottoman and the French occupation. He appeared as the polygamist barber highlighting the distinctive features of this character and his pivotal role in the Damascene society.

Another important role for Kallas was in Hammam al-Qishani, (al-Qishani Public Bathhouse) which documents the modern history of Syria focusing on the post independence period and the social and political changes that took place in the country in the 1950s and the 1960s.

His great success pushed TV drama directors to make him play parts in most of Syrian TV series which included Bab al-Hara, (The Gate of the Alley),Tahoun al-Shar, (The Grind of Evil) and Bait Jaddi (My Grandfather’s House).

Theatre has a share in Kallas’s eventful career. While a university student, Kallas played roles at the stage of the University Theatre. He excelled at playing roles in Shakespearean plays, especially The Merchant of Venice and Macbeth.

In radio, he was an active participant in “The Rule of Justice”, a weekly TV programme that is based on cases taken from the criminal courts. The programme has been broadcast on Damascus Radio since the late 1970s.

In cinema, the late actor played parts in four feature films; the most famous was Naji al-Ali along with the Egyptian movie star Noor al-Sharif. The film sheds light on the biography of famous Palestinian cartoonist Naji al-Ali who was assassinated in London in 1987 by the Israeli Mossad because of his daring cartoons that disclosed the occupation racist practices and the treacherous stands of some Palestinian and Arab leaderships.


Top-notch Syrian Actor SaleemKallas Passes Away

DAMASCUS, (ST) – After a long battle with the disease, the Syrian Actor,  SaleemKallas passed away on Monday at his residence.

SaleemKallas, 77-year old, born inDamasucus on Jan. 13, 1936. He graduated from  Damascus university with Bachelor of Commerce degree. The deceased has five daughters and one son.

He debuted his artistic career through participation with  university students  in performing  plays on the stage. He worked at the national theater and later moved to the Syrian TV one year after it was established. His first participation was a movie called "Asha'a al-Wada'a" (Farewell Dinner).

Kallas' artistic career consequently expanded on the stage, TV, cinema and radio. He performed at famous plays such as the Merchant of Venice and Macbeth.

In Radio's activities, he was a recurring performer in the popular radio series "Hokm al-Adala."

His participation in cinema was through short movies  such as" GhawiMashakel,"  " Lael al-Rejal,'    "Naji al-Ali," in addition to his funny movie "Short &Fanilla and cap."

He also participated in T.V series as "Maraya,"  'ashtar,"  al-Khawali,"Bab al-Hara."

May he rest in peace. Kallas' body was laid to rest in QaberAtqueh  cemetery on Tuesday following noon prayers in Musaab Bin Omair Mosque in al-Baramka area.


Syrian Artists Express Will of Life

 Art is the language of life and people. The cultural life is continuous despite the terrorist acts. Representing the will of life in the Syrians' mind, two hundred artists have participated in the Annual Autumn Exhibition recently held in the Cultural Centre of Art in Damascus.

The exhibition depicted paintings which are diverse in terms of techniques used ranging from murals to small sized pictures in addition to carving and sculpturing works.

Minister of Culture Dr. Lubana Mushaweh said in a press statement" this year's exhibition is a distinguished and important one as it surpassed the past two years' participation in terms of quantity, quality and diversity".

She clarified that the exhibition in the years 2011 and 2012 witnessed a slim participation due to the difficult circumstances and the vicious conspiracy against Syria.

"Nevertheless, this year's exhibition constitutes a qualitative stride as it has restored its brightness", Mushaweh added.

She highlighted the Syrian artists who presented their works to assert that the Syrian innovation and originality are incessant despite all the severe circumstances and barbaric acts.

Mushaweh pointed out that the Ministry will pick remarkable and distinguished works from the exhibition to be included among the Ministry' collectibles and memorabilia.

She made it clear that when the crisis in Syria is over, the Ministry will establish a museum of modern art to delineate the Ministry's collectibles among which are the current ones. 

Chairman of the Syrian Plastic Artists' Federation Haider Yazaji said that this year's exhibition is of paramount importance when compared to the past two years' exhibition, as two hundred paintings are being displayed.

He stressed that artists embody, during their participation, the continuation of cultural life in Syria despite the terrorist acts because Syrians are no longer defending themselves but also their cultural existence too.

The participating artists indicated that every Syrian citizen is combating terrorism in his own way and life will continue as Syria is the cradle of culture and civilization.

They reiterated that Syria will remain a beacon in the entire world and an impregnable fortress to all enemies.

Rawaa Ghanam