x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Wadjda competes in Sydney film fest

Plus: Beyoncé stars in animated film Epic; Ja Rule released from prison; Tim Lambesis arrested in murder-for-hire sting.

A scene from Wadjda, directed by Haifaa Al Mansour,. Courtesy Sydney Film Festival
A scene from Wadjda, directed by Haifaa Al Mansour,. Courtesy Sydney Film Festival

Wadjda, directed by Saudi Arabia’s first female filmmaker Haifaa Al Mansour, has been selected as one of the 12 films in official competition at the Sydney Film Festival, to be held from June 5 to June 16. Al Mansour received a master’s degree in film from the University of Sydney. Also in competition is India’s Monsoon Shootout, the debut feature of Amit Kumar that explores police violence and corruption in Mumbai. Co-produced by Anurag Kashyap, the film stars Neeraj Kabi, Vijay Verma and Nawazuddin Siddiqui. Also up for the top prize is the 2013 Berlinale Golden Bear winner, the Romanian production Child’s Pose, Stories We Tell by the Canadian filmmaker Sarah Polley (which screened at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival) and Only God Forgives, a French-Danish collaboration starring Ryan Gosling. The Australian actor Hugo Weaving will head the jury. Weaving stars in the crime thriller Mystery Road, the festival’s opening film. – The National staff

Beyoncé stars in animated film Epic

Beyoncé loved voicing Queen Tara in the new children’s movie Epic – at least once she stopped crying. The film was the singer’s first work since giving birth to her now 15-month-old daughter Blue Ivy and she says her hormones were raging. “I literally had tears when I played the voice,” she said. “There was a scene where Queen Tara picks out her pod and I just imagined seeing my child.” This role in Epic is not the superstar’s only brush with royalty of late. When performing in London last week, the singer inadvertently singled out Princess Eugenie in the crowd to sing with her. The 23-year-old is sixth in line to the British throne. Beyoncé giggled as she revealed that she had no idea who Eugenie was. “I didn’t know, and I still don’t know. Someone told me and I don’t know what’s going on, but I hope they had a great time and I hope I didn’t insult anyone, making them sing into the mic. But, you know, royalty like to have fun and have a good entertaining night.” – AP

Ja Rule released from prison

The American rapper Ja Rule was released from prison on Tuesday after serving about two years on gun and tax evasion charges. Ja Rule, whose real name is Jeffrey Atkins, was released from federal prison in New York and will be under house arrest until July 28. The 37-year-old rapper is best known for his collaborations with Jennifer Lopez – I’m Real and Ain’t It Funny – which both topped the US Billboard song chart in 2001. – Reuters

Singer arrested in murder-for-hire sting

Tim Lambesis, the 32-year-old lead singer of the heavy metal band As I Lay Dying, was arrested on Tuesday in southern California as authorities said he tried to hire an undercover detective to kill his estranged wife. The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department would give no further details on the investigation. As I Lay Dying formed in San Diego in 2000 and have released six albums, including 2007’s An Ocean Between Us. – AP

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