DUBAI-JULY 8,2008 - Cartoon creator Mohammed Saeed Harib pose for a photograph at his office in Media city Dubai. ( Paulo Vecina/The National ) *** Local Caption *** PV Harib 11.JPGPV Harib 11.JPG
DUBAI-JULY 8,2008 - Cartoon creator Mohammed Saeed Harib pose for a photograph at his office in Media city Dubai. ( Paulo Vecina/The National ) *** Local Caption *** PV Harib 11.JPGPV Harib 11.JPG

Freej creator will contribute to film adaptation of Gibran's The Prophet



It may be one of the most widely read books of poetic essays, with estimated sales of more than 100 million since it was first released in 1923, but so far Lebanese author Kahlil Gibran's best-known work, The Prophet, has yet to see any major move towards the silver screen.

Thanks to an eclectic group of filmmakers working across a variety of different borders, however, that is about to change. News emerged early last year that Mexican actress Salma Hayek had teamed up with film executives Clark Peterson and Ron Senkowski to help produce an animated adaptation of the book, which tells the story of Al-Mustafa, a prophet who awaits passage home on a ship after being away for 12 years.

Now, it seems, Hayek – who is of Lebanese descent – has her wish, and pre-production of the film is underway, with co-financing coming from the Doha Film Institute, Participant Media, and several other regional and international organisations. Each of the book's chapters is to be directed by a different filmmaker in a different style, with Roger Allers, who directed The Lion King, overseeing them all to ensure that the story flows from one to the other.

The line-up of directors is an impressive one, featuring Marjane Satrapi (Persepolis), Joan Gratz (who pioneered the animation technique known as claypainting and won the Oscar for Mona Lisa Descending a Staircase in 1992), Chris Landreth (Oscar-winner for CGI animated short Ryan in 2004), Nina Paley (Sita Sings The Blues, which won a Crystal Bear at the 2008 Berlinale) and Oscar nominees Tomm Moore (The Secret of Kells) and Bill Plympton (Guard Dog and Your Face).

Also among the renowned list of filmmakers is the UAE's own Mohammed Saeed Harib, creator of the popular animated TV show Freej, who is now busy at work on the project. "Our office is covered with sheets of drawings," he says, adding that he currently has a team of 15 involved, which is likely to swell up to close to 100 once production starts.

Harib came on board with the project late last year, after a recommendation from the Doha Film Institute. "They were keen to have an Arabic director involved," he says, claiming that it's something that is adding to the pressure. "Since I'm the only Arabic guy and everybody else had been nominated for an Oscar or something, I have a heavy burden on my shoulders to step up to the game."

Each director's portion of the film will be between three to five minutes long and should be based on a chapter, or a particular verse of notion from that chapter. Harib chose the one entitled Crime and Punishment. "It's a fascinating chapter, especially because of what is happening in Arabia. It's very metaphorical, showing how we are very connected as a society. There's one part that says we are only as good as the best of us and only as bad as the worst."

Harib, however, admits that he hadn't read The Prophet before the film project came along, and initially struggled to understand the chapter. "I read it maybe a dozen times and did not understand a word of it. In the end I had to buy a cheat book, 'The Prophet for Dummies' or something."

But now, he's joined the international ranks of Gibran fans, and understands why he's considered the world's third most-read poet behind Shakespeare and Lao-Tzu. "It's a really amazing book. It's not written by human hands, there's something godly about it."

While Harib might be most famous for Freej, which he describes as "his baby" and tells the story of four old Emirati ladies living in Dubai, he says his work for The Prophet will be different. "My team is dying to do something that is not wearing a mask, and this is the chance. We're also going to be doing it in 3D."

The chapter needs to be submitted by October, which could mean the final completed film will be ready for the Doha Tribeca Film Festival in November. It also means that Harib has his work cut out till then. "In animation, we're running behind schedule. There's going to be no new Freej this year."

if you go

The flights

Emirates have direct flights from Dubai to Glasgow from Dh3,115. Alternatively, if you want to see a bit of Edinburgh first, then you can fly there direct with Etihad from Abu Dhabi.

The hotel

Located in the heart of Mackintosh's Glasgow, the Dakota Deluxe is perhaps the most refined hotel anywhere in the city. Doubles from Dh850

 Events and tours

There are various Mackintosh specific events throughout 2018 – for more details and to see a map of his surviving designs see glasgowmackintosh.com

For walking tours focussing on the Glasgow Style, see the website of the Glasgow School of Art. 

More information

For ideas on planning a trip to Scotland, visit www.visitscotland.com

'Outclassed in Kuwait'
Taleb Alrefai, 
HBKU Press 

SPECS

Engine: 1.5-litre 4-cylinder
Power: 101hp
Torque: 135Nm
Transmission: Six-speed auto
Price: From Dh79,900
On sale: Now

A QUIET PLACE

Starring: Lupita Nyong'o, Joseph Quinn, Djimon Hounsou

Director: Michael Sarnoski

Rating: 4/5

UAE athletes heading to Paris 2024

Equestrian
Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi, Abdullah Al Marri, Omar Al Marzooqi, Salem Al Suwaidi, and Ali Al Karbi (four to be selected).


Judo
Men: Narmandakh Bayanmunkh (66kg), Nugzari Tatalashvili (81kg), Aram Grigorian (90kg), Dzhafar Kostoev (100kg), Magomedomar Magomedomarov (+100kg); women's Khorloodoi Bishrelt (52kg).


Cycling
Safia Al Sayegh (women's road race).

Swimming
Men: Yousef Rashid Al Matroushi (100m freestyle); women: Maha Abdullah Al Shehi (200m freestyle).

Athletics
Maryam Mohammed Al Farsi (women's 100 metres).

RESULT

Bournemouth 0 Southampton 3 (Djenepo (37', Redmond 45'+1, 59')

Man of the match Nathan Redmond (Southampton)

The years Ramadan fell in May

1987

1954

1921

1888

UAE athletes heading to Paris 2024

Equestrian
Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi, Abdullah Al Marri, Omar Al Marzooqi, Salem Al Suwaidi, and Ali Al Karbi (four to be selected).
Judo
Men: Narmandakh Bayanmunkh (66kg), Nugzari Tatalashvili (81kg), Aram Grigorian (90kg), Dzhafar Kostoev (100kg), Magomedomar Magomedomarov (+100kg); women's Khorloodoi Bishrelt (52kg).

Cycling
Safia Al Sayegh (women's road race).

Swimming
Men: Yousef Rashid Al Matroushi (100m freestyle); women: Maha Abdullah Al Shehi (200m freestyle).

Athletics
Maryam Mohammed Al Farsi (women's 100 metres).

Visit Abu Dhabi culinary team's top Emirati restaurants in Abu Dhabi

Yadoo’s House Restaurant+& Cafe

For the karak and Yoodo's house platter with includes eggs, balaleet, khamir and chebab bread.

Golden Dallah

For the cappuccino, luqaimat and aseeda.

Al Mrzab Restaurant

For the shrimp murabian and Kuwaiti options including Kuwaiti machboos with kebab and spicy sauce.

Al Derwaza

For the fish hubul, regag bread, biryani and special seafood soup. 

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Almouneer
Started: 2017
Founders: Dr Noha Khater and Rania Kadry
Based: Egypt
Number of staff: 120
Investment: Bootstrapped, with support from Insead and Egyptian government, seed round of
$3.6 million led by Global Ventures

Results:

5pm: Handicap (PA) | Dh80,000 | 1,600 metres

Winner: Dasan Da, Saeed Al Mazrooei (jockey), Helal Al Alawi (trainer)

5.30pm: Maiden (PA) | Dh80,000 | 1,600m

Winner: AF Saabah, Tadhg O’Shea, Ernst Oertel

6pm: Handicap (PA) | Dh80,000 | 1,600m

Winner: Mukaram, Pat Cosgrave, Eric Lemartinel

6.30pm: Handicap (PA) | Dh80,000 | 2,200m

Winner: MH Tawag, Richard Mullen, Elise Jeanne

7pm: Wathba Stallions Cup Handicap (PA) | Dh70,000 | 1,400m

Winner: RB Inferno, Fabrice Veron, Ismail Mohammed

7.30pm: Handicap (TB) | Dh100,000 | 1,600m

Winner: Juthoor, Jim Crowley, Erwan Charpy

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Haltia.ai
Started: 2023
Co-founders: Arto Bendiken and Talal Thabet
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: AI
Number of employees: 41
Funding: About $1.7 million
Investors: Self, family and friends

BRAZIL SQUAD

Alisson (Liverpool), Daniel Fuzato (Roma), Ederson (Man City); Alex Sandro (Juventus), Danilo (Juventus), Eder Militao (Real Madrid), Emerson (Real Betis), Felipe (Atletico Madrid), Marquinhos (PSG), Renan Lodi (Atletico Madrid), Thiago Silva (PSG); Arthur (Barcelona), Casemiro (Real Madrid), Douglas Luiz (Aston Villa), Fabinho (Liverpool), Lucas Paqueta (AC Milan), Philippe Coutinho (Bayern Munich); David Neres (Ajax), Gabriel Jesus (Man City), Richarlison (Everton), Roberto Firmino (Liverpool), Rodrygo (Real Madrid), Willian (Chelsea).

The Year Earth Changed

Directed by:Tom Beard

Narrated by: Sir David Attenborough

Stars: 4


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