RIYADH, Saudi Arabia – The second edition of the Red Sea International Film Festival will take place from Dec. 1-10 this years, organizers said.
It follows the event’s successful inaugural edition late last year, which presented 138 films to more than 30,000 filmgoers who came out to celebrate the landmark festival in Jeddah.
‘We are grateful to the film and local community who put their trust in us. This was huge undertaking and the team worked extremely hard to deliver a festival that I believe exceeded expectations’, said Mohammed Al – Turki, chairman of the Red Sea International Festival Committee.
‘To bring people together through the universal language of film within the historic surroundings of Jeddah’s historic old – town, and to see emerging local filmmakers present their films alongside international counterparts to full cinemas, was truly extraordinary’, he added.
The festival returns to the cultural heart of Jeddah’s UNESCO World Heritage Site in old – town Al – Balad, and will showcase a compelling slate of new and diverse films alongside a retrospective program celebrating the masters of cinema. It also looks to introduce audiences to new voices from the region and beyond.
The festival hopes to again provide a platform for Arab filmmakers and industry professionals worldwide to connect, host short film competitions and present a series of events, master classes and workshops to support emerging talent.
‘The future is bright for Saudi film, and I look forward to welcoming new guests from around the world for our second edition’, Al – Turki said.
Over the 10 – day inaugural edition, which took place last year in December, screenings were presented in five purpose – built theaters along with venues across the city. There were also showcases of the latest leading art projects and virtual reality storytelling.
An impressive 27 Saudi films from a wave of local filmmakers were presented to an international audience as part of 138 films and shorts from 67 countries. Female directos accounted for 38 percent of the content on offer.
The Saudi films at the festival showcased a unique opportunity for viewers to explore all aspects of Saudi society. The festival provided a valuable platform for Saudi filmmakers to present their work on the big screen to the global film industry.
An array of filmmakers and talent grace the red carpets, hosted master classes and engaged with festivalgoers, including Haifaa Al – Mansour, Yousra, Laila Eloui, Catherine Deneuve, Clive Owen, Hilary Swank, Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone, Anthony Macjie, Vincent Cassel and Akshay Kumar.
The Red Sea International Film Festival also hosts several initiatives, including The Red Sea Lodge, which is now open for submissions from Saudi and Arab directors, producers and scriptwriters.
Last year, the Red Sea Fun announced a $14 million initiative, which to date has supported 97 projects from Africa and Arab world with development and post – production in the form of grants and funds, helping bring films to global audiences.
The Red Sea Souk welcomed an array of exhibiting companies, including buyers, sales agent, film commissions, distributors and exhibitors. It concluded with more than $700.000 awarded to project selected in the Red Souk Awards.
Following the Souk, festivalgoers were able to attend Talent Days, a two – day initiative designed to support the development of the next generation of Saudi filmmakers.
The RSIFF film competition also saw Academy Award – winning Italian director and writer Giuseppe Tornatore at the helm, and along with his fellow jurors, they presented 13 Yusr Awards to recognize the highest achievements in storytelling. ‘Bringhton 4th’, directed by Levan Kogushvili, scooped Best Film, and the Festival’s Audience Award went to Hamzah K. Jamjoom for ‘Rupture’, and ‘You Resemble Me’, directed by Dina Amer.