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Formula 1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Jeddah
My home city of Jeddah is hosting the Formula 1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in March this year and it’s an event I’m really looking forward to. It’s going to be a great way for visitors to discover and experience Formula 1 and other immersive activities – and also to explore Jeddah and the Red Sea coastline.
7th – 9th March 2024
Red Sea International Film Festival
The Red Sea International Film Festival is something I look forward to every year and I haven’t missed it since it launched in 2021. Hosted in Jeddah, usually towards the end of the year, the festival mainly focuses on new storytelling, as well as emerging talent from Saudi Arabia, the Arab world and the rest of the Global South.
2024 dates TBC
Riyadh Fashion Week
I’m really looking forward to this year’s edition of Riyadh Fashion Week. Following the success of the inaugural event last year, I’m excited to see what my favourite Saudi designers – including Ashi Studio and Honayda Serafi – will send down the runway. From avant-garde concepts to timeless elegance, I find the week really showcases the richness and creativity of Saudi fashion.
2024 dates TBC
An amazing project led by my husband, Ahmad Angawi in Albalad Old Town in Jeddah is a cultural institution that focuses on art, design and craftsmanship. I love attending the workshops and meeting fellow creatives there. Expect to see craft installations, browse artisan markets and to get some great insights into the local culture.
Diriyah Contemporary Art Biennale
The Diriyah Contemorary Art Biennale will kick off on 20th February at the JAX District in Diriyah, offering visitors the opportunity to engage with Saudi’s burgeoning local art scene. Amid the evolution and growth of Saudi Arabia, the biennale showcases some of the world’s leading artists and encourages cultural exchange between the Kingdom and various international communities, whilst also establishing Saudi Arabia as an important cultural centre.
20th February – 24th May 2024
Six Senses Southern Dunes
I love discovering new hotels and holiday destinations across Saudi Arabia that are not so commercial – which is why I’m really looking forward to staying in the stunning Six Senses Southern Dunes resort which is a part of the Red Sea Project. The resort pays homage to Nabataean architectural heritage and its majestic desert surroundings by curating personalised experiences, while also focusing on wellness and sustainability.
Another hotel I’m really looking forward to checking out is also the St Regis Red Sea Resort, also in conjunction with the Red Sea Project. It has recently opened and looks ultra relaxing and serene with endless views of the sea, surrounded by nature.
This film actually came out last year but I’m yet to watch it – I’d actually like to read the book first. HWJN is a romance-fantasy novel in which a jinn (spirit) falls in love with a human girl while unraveling the truth about his royal lineage.
Watch the trailer here
Another film I enjoyed at last year’s Red Sea International Film Festival was Naga, which can only be described as a chaotic comedy thriller. It tells the story of a young girl who sneaks out to attend a secret party, but as she’s trying to make it back home in time for her curfew, she’s met with several obstacles. It’s just dropped on Netflix, so I’ll definitely be watching it again.
Ahlam Alasr is another Saudi movie I saw at the Red Sea International Film Festival and I’ll likely be watching it again this year – it has a special place in my heart as it was filmed in Jeddah. It’s about a retired football star who is oppressed by the media and co-operates with his daughter to take his revenge on social media.
Follow @Ahlam.Alasr on Instagram
Directed by Saudi cinema pioneer Ali Kalthami and produced by studio Telfaz11, which he co-founded, Mandoob is about Fahad, who is fired from his job in a call centre and ends up colliding with Riyadh’s underworld as he battles adversity to save his extremely unwell father. I loved this film and it happened to be the most successful Saudi film in 2023!
For more inspiration follow @ZaharAlSayed