Coming back for its second edition is Saudi Arabia’s coveted global event, the Red Sea International Film Festival taking place in Jeddah. Kicking off on December 1st, the 10 day spectacle will bring together filmmakers, cinema aficionados and experts all under one roof to celebrate the latest in global and regional talent in the world of filmmaking. More than a hundred films will be taking part from all around the world including India, Korea and Kazakhstan. To get a taste of what to expect at this year’s rendition, we’ve selected the coolest events, programs, and competitions to look forward to.
In Competition: The Arab Film Lineup
A forbidden love between a Syrian refugee and an Ethiopian domestic worker or a young Tunisian in charge of taking care of his two younger sisters after his father’s death are some of the stories explored in this edition’s Arab film lineup. So far this year, these Arab films from across the region have been dominating the industry and taking part in renowned film festivals including the widely acclaimed Venice Film Festival as well as Egypt’s 44th Edition of the coveted Cairo International Film Festival.
These very films will continue to impact global audiences by taking part in this year’s Red Sea competition alongside sixteen other global films. From Lebanese director Wissam Charaf’s, Dirty Difficult Dangerous to Iraqi director Ahmed Yassin Al Daradji’s, Hanging Gardens, the eight Arab films in participation will introduce audiences to worlds seeped in imaginative prowess and rich storytelling.
Several will be making World premieres including Moroccan filmmaker Omar Mouldouira’s feature debut A Summer In Boujad, exploring the story of 13-year old Karim‘s return to his homeland of Morocco and his struggles to understand his roots. Throughout the 10 day festival, each film will be screened to mass audiences and winners will be announced on December 8th.
Unique Film Categories
Film festivals are all about representation and diversity, that is why they are known to have an inclusive and wide net of film categories. Saudi’s coveted film festival is no exception as it will be presenting an expansive range of film programs to satisfy all the unique tastes and preferences of global audiences.
Kids will get to enjoy a fun, action packed collection of animated films under the Families and Children programme while lovers of International cinema can watch spectacles from Japan and Korea all the way to Sweden through the festival’s International Spectacular programme. For a full list of the all the programs taking part in the festival you can check out their official website.
Industry Talks Led By Red Souk
Running alongside the festival will be the Red Sea Souk, a film market that will bring together leading figures in the film industry in one space, giving an opportunity for new talent to form connections and widen their network. Attendees will get to take part in several special events and networking sessions including the Red Sea 360° and Talent Days.
With the 4-day Red Sea 360° event, film enthusiasts will get to meet more than 50 prominent panelists stemming from the film industry including Neom’s Wayne Borg and MBC Group’s Lina Matta and Natasha Matos-Hemingway who will share their knowledge and expertise during thirteen sessions that will cover a wide range of topics from sales and distribution to storytelling and music.
Bigger networking opportunities will also come from attending Talent Days as participants will get to meet the widely acclaimed Arab director, Kaouther Ben Hania, whose film Beauty and the Dogs was nominated during the 91st Academy Awards. Mentorship opportunities with big names like the Saudi filmmaker, Raed Alsemari will also be part of the event’s line up, helping young filmmakers gain industry advice to transform their ideas into tangible works of cinematic art.
Virtual Reality Competition
Bringing something fresh and new, the festival will be entering a new realm through its virtual reality competition with over 10 films taking part, blending art with cutting edge technology. Each entry is not merely a cinematic work as many will be presented as interactive games that will allow audiences to feel as though they are part of the narrative.
A great example would be of the Turkish-Dutch production Elele that has participants enter an immersive world by using controllers and a VR headset where they will get to dance using only their hands. The entire virtual reality program will take place at the Ritz Carleton between two to ten pm from December 2nd till the 8th.
In just four days the Red Sea International Film Festival will kick off its jam packed line-up of events and global film screenings. To take part in this special event, you can purchase tickets through the festival’s official website by browsing through its library of cinematic work and picking the ones you don’t want to miss.