"The New Releases in World Cinema Festival" Kicks off at Damascus Opera House

DAMASCUS- New films of world companies' production are to be screened for the first time in Syria. The shows come within the framework of "The New Releases in World Cinema Festival" which is due to be kicked off today evening at the Damascus Opera House under the patronage of the Minister of Culture Lubana Mushaweh.

The event, which is organized by the General Establishment for Cinema in cooperation with the General Commission of Dar al-Assad for Culture and Arts "Opera House ", will last until March 27th, 2014. 75 movies, including award winning films and some works nominated for the Oscar of this year, are to be screened.

A movie called "The Words", a mystery romantic drama film written and directed by Brian Klugman and Lee Strenthal, will be the premier in the festival. It stars Bradley Cooper, Zeo Saldana and Olivia Wild.

Among other films, "The Great Gatsby", "Alex Cross", "Star Trek: into Darkness", "Man of steel", "After Earth" "The Paperboy", "Gravity", "The Ice Man", "Promised Land", "Sinister", "Stranger at Home", "The Expatriate" and "The East" will also be on show at different cinema houses in Damascus and other Syrian cities during the festival days.

According to Director of the General Establishment for Cinema Mohammad al-Ahmad, "The New Releases in World Cinema Festival" will compensate for the absence of "Damascus Film Festival" which stopped after the eruption of the crisis in Syria.

"The aim is to provide cinema fans in Syria with up-to-date film productions," al-Ahmad added in a recently held press conference.

He pointed out that despite the boycott of some cinema companies to the establishment, "we managed to get a great opportunity to screen most important international films".

Al-Ahmad clarified that since the stopping of "Damascus International Film", the establishment has been keen to hold a cinema event every two months.

H. Mustafa       

Experience the Land of Million Dreams

Oh , what  wonderful, splendor and astonishing scenes every where? Indeed, it is my true feeling when I was walking in the streets of the capital, New Delhi with a media delegation from many Arab countries at the kind invitation of theIndian Foreign Ministry. Everything around shows clearly the great and significant change which took place in India during the last ten years.

After our interesting tour in the capital, New Delhi, we moved to Hyderabad, that very important and wonderful city. Fortunately, the tourist program which was organized for the media delegation in this city included a visit to a well-known distinctive place, which is Ramoji Film City.

Ramoji Film City is characterized as being one of the mostastonishing places in India. Indeed, I have a distinguished opportunity to visit this great wonderful city which is considered a dream of millions of tourists all over the world. It is really the land of million dreams unending vista of Fun,  Entertainment and Cine-magic. RFC is the only thematic destination in India with magic of cinema where every aspect is silver screen material. Great number of tourists including families, school & college students groups and corporates visit Ramoji Film City every year.

Ramoji Film City stands as a kaleidoscope of attractions where nature and fun of films share space. Rolling landscapes, striking gardens, flamboyant fountains, captivating live and stunt shows and thrill rides, entertainment, interactive games make Ramoji Film City a haven of amusement while exclusive film-based offerings like spellbinding sets, lavish locales and Ramoji Movie magic make it a class apart. Ramoji Film City with extraordinary ambience and film-induced charms is a perfect getaway of fun with exclusive attractions.

It is certified by the Guinness World Records as the world’s Largest Film City, it is a complete, multi-faceted holiday- maker’s destination. The panoramic vistas with flavors of cine-magic make it a powerhouse of amusement; ideal for family holidays, destination weddings, honeymoons and thematic corporate conventions. At first we entered the most interesting place which is called "The Eureka Complex", it lies in the heart of Ramoji Film City. It's a place of fun, wonder and amusement filled with games, rides, shopping, restaurants and entertainment that any one has never experienced before. And all tourists will experience a fun-filled day at Eureka.

We start our day at Ramoji Film City with a welcome ceremony which is a colourful parade that features folk and filmy performances assorted from various cultures. The team of dancers, traditional musicians, acrobats, gymnasts, stunt men and clowns come together to welcome the visitors with full fanfare.

After that we moved to another theatre where we attended an amazing action-packed Wild West themed stunt show filled with guns, bad guys and damsels in distress. Watch our heroes dodge bullets, whips, lassos and punches while our pluckyheroines help tackle the bad guys. An all-in-one variety daily program with dancers, acrobats, jugglers, clowns and other amazing performers from all over India. From gymnastic clowns to hoop-dancing, anything is possible in this exciting colorful show. Our day in Ramoji Film City ended with grand performances on the Eureka stage. We meet dancers, jugglers, acrobats and more!

It is really an entertainment Team which is constantly evolving their act, and it was the closing ceremony The 1666-acre Ramoji Film City, established by the Ramoji Group amid the alluring grandeur of Nature, is the world’s largest integrated film studio complex and one of Asia’s most popular tourism and recreation centres. For the discerning filmmaker, RFC offers comprehensive and international- standard pre-production, production and post-production resources.

For business and leisure travelers, RFC offers a holiday  experience packaged in infinite excitement and rare delights. Every year, over a million tourists come to the complex to revel in the rejuvenating fantasies of a dream world. And filmmakers, who create dazzling celluloid dreams for people around the world, turn to Ramoji Film City for matchless services and facilities. The complex’s state-of-the-art infrastructure and incomparable professional expertise have already been feted by many international filmmakers. In fact, it was unforgettable wonderful day in every sense of the word, I feel as if I was living in a dream. We were moving from theater to another watching the magnificent and skillful shows presented by the nicest young men and women that acquainted us with more of Indian culture and folklore.

M. Wassouf  

India the Wonderland !

India is  described as a "Wonderland", it really deserves this description, and I have been looking  forward for many years to visit this amazing country. Until  the opportunity came a few weeks ago when the Indian Embassy in my country  invited me with a group of journalists from Asian countries to visit India.

The Indian embassies in most of the  Asian countries  selected  many  qualified journalists in order to acquaint them with  the progress that India  witnessed in the  recent years in various  economic, health, political, cultural and agricultural sectors. And I, as a Syrian journalist, have  had the honor  to participate  with this  delegation to visit this wonderful  country. 

The Indian government represented by Mr.Tejinder Anand, Media Liaison Officer, organized a varied program to acquaint  us  with a firsthand  experience of contemporary socio-economic realities in India and highlight the growing engagement between India and West Asia.

The  first tour  of the delegation was launched from New Delhi. Of course, the beginning will be more beautiful with visiting the touristic sites in the city, New Delhi. In the first day, the delegation began a visit to the most important archaeological sites in India such as Indian Gate, Jama Masjid, Qutub Minar, Red Fort, Agra Fort and Taj Mahal.

India Gate is situated in the heart of New Delhi, it was designed by Sir Don Bradman. Originally known as All India War Memorial, it is a prominent landmark in Delhi and commemorates the 90,000 soldiers of the British Indian Army who lost their lives while fighting the British Indian Empire.

It is impossible for any visitor to visit India and see, but this grandeur and magnificence in this palace, which is characteristic of the Seven Wonders.

We also visited Taj Mahal, a mausoleum is one of the most recognizable structures in the world. It was built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal. It is widely considered as one of the most beautiful buildings in the world and stands as a symbol of eternal love. Taj Mahal is the finest example of Mughal architecture, a style that combines elements from Persian, Islamic and Indian architectural styles.

After New Delhi, the delegation moved to Hyderabad, well know as the  hub of India's information technology sector.

Firstly, in Hyderabad we visited Ramoji Film City, which is considered a wonderland that has been exciting millions of visitors to realize their dream holidays and recognized by the Guinness World Records as the world's largest film city.

Apart from comprehensive movie-making opportunities that it is best known for, Ramoji Film City is also an extremely popular destination for tourists seeking recreation. Approximately 1.5 million tourists come to Ramoji Film City annually.

The next place of the delegation's tour was to Golconda Fort,  which is considered as one of the famous forts in India. This fort is famous for its acoustics, palaces, ingenious water supply system and the famous Fateh Rahben gun, one of the cannons used  in the last siege of Golconda by Aurangzeb, to whom the fort ultimately fell.

The glorious past of Golconda Fort  is narrated effectively with matchless Sound and Light effects. We have seen the unique Sound and Light Show, it is really very interesting and fantastic show, because it takes the audiences right back in time, when Golconda was full of life, glory and grandeur.

I am indeed caught in a dilemma whether I feel homesick to India in Damascus or to India deep inside my spirit as well as memory.



"Golden Cypress" Award Goes to Syrian Director Bassel al-Khateeb for his al-Ghalibon TV Series

TEHRAN–Syrian Director Bassel al-Khateeb has recently won the "Golden Cypress" Award for his TV series "al-Ghalibon" at the international Jam Jam TV Festival in Tehran.

Al-Ghalibon depicts the situation of the Lebanese Resistance in South Lebanon, Beirut and Baalbek, where important events had taken place and where the film was shot.

Participants from nineteen countries presented their artistic production of novels and documentaries in addition to 1000 drama series most of them talk about the Islamic revolution of Iran and its 35th anniversary.

Earlier, al-Khateeb had won the awards of Wahran Film Festival in Algeria and al-Dakhila Film Festival in Morocco for his movie "Mariam".

The director is now busy filming his next film, "The Mother", in Syria. A number of Syrian drama stars, including Sulaf Fawakherji, Dima Qandalift, Sabah Jazaeri, Noura Rahhal, Lina Hawarneh, Sameer Hasan, Amer Ali and others, will take part in the movie.  

Al-Khateeb expected "The Mother" to get international awards as his previous film "Mariam" did.

H. Mustafa   

Dureid Lahham: "Revolutions" Should Bring Good to Countries not Kill People, Destroy Homelands


BEIRUT- In his recent interview with al-Mayadeen TV, the iconic and legendary Syrian actor Dureid Lahham hoped that he will be able to produce a film on the Syrian crisis, particularly to tackle the suffering of Syrian women under the human rights violations being committed against them at refugee camps in neighboring countries.

Lahham expressed his sadness because of the catastrophic events Syria has been experiencing as a result of the global war which aims at destroying the country and eliminating its history, civilization and heritage.

He pointed out that there is a systematic campaign to distort, destroy and burn everything in Syria, wondering "why people from more than 80 countries came to kill the Syrian people in the name of freedom and democracy while their own states have nothing to do with such slogans."

"What did Syria do to have its antiquities looted and its civilization destroyed," he said, adding that even Aleppo factories, which are the most important in the Middle East, were dismantled and smuggled to Turkey by the thieves and looters who claim that they are "revolutionaries".

"Syria's civilization is more than 6000 years old. It is an international example of national unity and co-existence among religions," Lahham added. 

"Revolutions should bring the good to countries not kill people and destroy homelands. We never heard about a revolution that blew up a civilian railway station, destroyed electricity networks or exploded a booby-trapped car at a public place," the actor stressed.

On a solution to the crisis in Syria, Lahham said "only the Syrians can solve the crisis of their country trough sitting to the negotiation table." He affirmed that the Syrians shouldn't allow foreign powers to interfere in their affairs as they must sit together and hold dialogue to attain a settlement that avoids more bloodshed and destruction.   

Lahham condemned the use of chemical weapons in Syria, saying that "the economic siege imposed by America and Western countries on Syria has an equal effect of  the use of mass destruction weapons, affirming that hundreds of children and elderly die because of medicine and milk shortage."

The Syrian actor reiterated that he is not leaving Syria despite the threats of killing he received because of his national stances.

"The homeland is man's memory. It is not a hotel in which one can stay when the service is good and leave it when the service is not," he said.

Lahham pointed out that he resigned from his post as a UN goodwill ambassador in 2006 in protest of the Israeli aggression on Lebanon.

H. Mustafa