Renowned Hollywood actress, artist, and activist Sharon Stone, celebrated for her roles in classics like “Casino,” “Total Recall,” and “Basic Instinct,” recently embarked on a captivating journey to the historic landscape of AlUla in northwest Saudi Arabia.
During her visit, Stone delved into AlUla’s vibrant creative and cultural scene, visiting Madrasat Addeera, a learning hub for traditional crafts situated in the AlJadidah Arts District. Here, in the company of local artisans specializing in palm weaving, pottery, leather making, ceramics, and embroidery, Stone was visibly moved by the skill and dedication of the women. Her connection with the local community was palpable, as she shared heartfelt moments, including a warm embrace with artisan Fayza.
Reflecting on her AlUla experience, Stone expressed her awe, stating, “Being in AlUla, I find myself in one of the most fascinating and beautiful places I have ever been, and Saudi Arabia the fastest growing and most rapidly emerging country.” She dispelled misconceptions about the region, highlighting the emerging wave of women’s rights and the warmth with which she was welcomed.
Stone commended the initiatives in AlUla focused on conserving and protecting traditional crafts, acknowledging the city’s progress in transforming into a dynamic cultural center. She noted, “What makes AlUla fascinating is how they take natural materials like stone, marble, and leather, and skillfully craft them into sophisticated, modern designs – it’s a modern city with ancient roots.”
Stone also joined the local community in their creative space, creating a locally inspired artwork. She marveled at the use of natural materials derived from local plants in traditional crafts, stating, “I am very, very moved by the fact that these dyes are all made from local plants. As an artist, I am inspired by the subtlety of colors here.”
Aside from immersing herself in AlUla’s rich culture, Stone explored the county’s film aspirations during a tour of its new state-of-the-art production facility. The 30,000 square foot soundstage, backlot, production support buildings, workshops, warehouses, recording studio, training and rehearsal space, cafeteria, event space, and iconic administration building showcased AlUla’s commitment to the cinematic arts.
Stone also marveled at AlUla’s cinematic landscape, including the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hegra. She envisioned the locale as a unique setting for film productions, stating, “AlUla is almost like being on Mars, so unusual due to its extraordinary geological history. It is unlike anything you have ever seen, a fantastic setting for beautiful Westerns and films like Dune and Star Wars. I hope filmmakers come and explore AlUla to witness its potential for filmmaking, a beautiful possibility waiting to be captured.”
For those interested in Film AlUla, further information can be found at Film AlUla.