The Red Sea Festival honors “Haifaa Al-Mansour and Laila Elwi”


The Red Sea International Film Festival revealed the program of its inaugural session, which will be held from 6-15 December on the eastern coast of the Red Sea in Jeddah, a country classified as a world heritage according to UNESCO, with the participation of many talents, stars, directors, media professionals and film industry professionals from all over the world, in a celebration Waiting for ten days. The festival is held in partnership with VOX Cinemas, MBC Group, and Saudi Airlines.

Chosen to open the festival, the award-winning British director Joe Wright’s musical film “Cirno” is a sentimental drama written by Erica Schmidt, based on the 2018 musical of the same name. The film reinterprets this wonderful classic with the participation of 4- Emmy Award-winning “Game of Thrones” star Peter Dinklage, Haley Bennett, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Ben Mendelson et al. The festival concludes with the world premiere of Amr Salama’s upcoming movie “Before the Method”, starring screen stars Majed El-Kadwany, Omar Sherif, Ruby, Dina Maher, and others.

Red Sea International Film Festival

Red Sea International Film Festival

The first international film festival

On this occasion, Mohamed Al-Turki, Chairman of the Red Sea International Film Festival Committee, said, “This is the moment we have been waiting for a long time to announce the launch of the first international film festival to celebrate local, Arab and international cinematic voices and creations, and present them to our audience and guests from Saudi Arabia and abroad. The festival also represents a platform to support and launch the new generation.” From Saudi and Arab talents, as we continue to support this cinematic movement and transform it into a strong and thriving industry, introduce our guests from all over the world to the features of this promising creative scene, and link the poles of the local and international film industry with the aim of exchanging experiences and knowledge, and establishing fruitful networks of relationships and partnerships. We invite the public and participants in Jeddah to enjoy the activities, performances and events we have prepared.”

The festival program includes 138 long and short films from 67 countries in 34 languages, by well-known directors and promising new voices that are being discovered for the first time, including 25 films in world premieres, 48 ​​films in Arab premieres, and 17 films in premieres in the Gulf region. The festival will also witness the presence of many talents and stars participating in these films.

Saudi movie talent

The festival provides a real opportunity to discover the new generation of Saudi cinematic talents, as it screens 27 long and short films that reflect the diversity and vitality of Saudi society, in addition to presenting templates and stories that the international community may discover for the first time, which opens a window on a new Saudi cinematic scene and local works capable of attracting audiences. and competition globally.
In addition to the Red Sea Competition for Long and Short Films, Red Carpet Shows, and Special Shows, the festival will host a number of programs, including “International Choices”, “New Saudi Cinema”, “Treasures of the Red Sea”, “Masterpieces of Arabia”, “Masterpieces of the World” and “Masterpieces of the World” and A New Generation”, in addition to “Interactive Cinema” and “Red Sea Episodes” shows.

The official competition, both for long and short films, includes the most important cinematic creations from Asia, Africa and the Arab world. The festival will screen 18 films in the short film competition and 16 films in the long film competition, competing for the Yusr Awards presented by the jury at the awards ceremony on December 13.

Originality, creativity and innovation

In this context, Edward Weintraub, artistic director of the Red Sea International Film Festival, said, “We are pleased to announce the list of films that we have chosen for our inaugural session. The list of films is based on the diversity and richness of cinematic topics and styles, and also emphasizes originality, creativity and innovation, whether from well-known directors or talents that we are proud to discover and present for the first time.

Honoring Al-Mansour and Laila Alawi

Emphasizing the festival’s quest to celebrate the role of women in the film industry, two talents who have made their mark in the world of cinema will be honored. The first character is director and producer Haifaa Al-Mansour, the first Saudi female director, who was able to break all barriers and consolidate the position of women in the Saudi film industry. Haifaa Al-Mansour directed “Wadjda” (2012), the first feature film to be shot in Saudi Arabia, to win many international awards, including being nominated for the British Academy Award (BAFTA) for Best Foreign Film. Then Haifa Al-Mansour accomplished many international cinematic and television works, and established her position as one of the most important Saudi, Arab and international talents.

The festival also honors the Egyptian star and icon, Laila Elwi, who has starred in more than 70 films. Among her works are “Baheb El Sima” (2004) directed by Osama Fawzy, and “A little love, a lot of violence” (1995), directed by Raafat El Mihy, and “Love of Girls” (2004), directed by Khaled Al-Hajar. Laila Elwi has received many Arab and international awards in a career full of achievements. Festival participants can attend a specialized lecture on acting, in which Laila Elwi presents her experiences and her rich artistic career.

Jack Lang tribute

On the international level, the festival honors Jack Lang in appreciation of his contributions to strengthening cultural and artistic relations between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and France, and his role in building cultural bridges between the Arab world and France. Lange has served as the French Minister of Culture and Minister of Education, and is currently the President of the Arab World Institute in France.

The festival will host a specialized session with the able star and icon of Egyptian cinema, Yousra, who participated in more than 80 films and won more than 50 awards from Egyptian, Arab and international film festivals and forums, where Yousra is considered one of the most famous and popular movie stars throughout the Arab world. The festival will also witness the presence of international actress and French film star Catherine Deneuve.

Discussion seminars

Four seminars will be organized to highlight the career and achievements of Haifaa Al-Mansour, Tunisian star Hend Sabry, and Jasper Noi from Argentina, in addition to Joanna Hajji Touma and Khalil Joreige from Lebanon.

In terms of films, festival-goers will have the opportunity to participate in the red carpet shows, which include a bouquet of the latest and most important Arab and international cinematic creations, in a showroom that can accommodate 900 spectators, and was built specifically for this purpose in the heart of Jeddah. These opening presentations include:
The latest film by the Oscar-nominated Palestinian director and Golden Globe winner Hani Abu-Assad. The movie “Huda Salon” will open the Red Sea competition, an exciting drama inspired by real events, co-starring Ali Suleiman, Maysa Abdel Hadi, Samer Basharat, and Manal Awad.

Saudi directors Sarah Mesfer, Jawaher Al Ameri, Nour Al Amir, Hind Al Fahd and Fatima Al Banawi join the list in the Gulf premiere of “Blog”, a cinematic project featuring five stories from five Saudi female directors.

From the Venice Film Festival to London to the Red Sea, American star Maggie Gyllenhaal will make her directorial debut in The Lost Daughter, based on the novel of the same name by Elena Ferrante and starring Oscar-winning actress Olivia Colman, alongside Dakota Johnson and Jesse Buckley.

The presence of Arab cinema

Arab cinema has a strong presence on the red carpet, beginning with the movie “The Hart”, the first feature work by Jordanian director Basil Ghandour, and its events take place in the alleys of the Jabal Al-Nazif neighborhood in east Amman, where rumors and violence spread, and visitors to the neighborhood hide mysterious secrets.

This is followed by “Mayas Notebooks”, a joint work of Joanna Hajji Touma and Khalil Joreige, whose events are inspired by real memoirs that Joanna wrote and sent to her friend who immigrated to Paris to escape the civil war in Lebanon.

Arab cinema continues its presence on the red carpet with the opening screening of award-winning Moroccan director Nabil Ayouch’s film. “Ali Your Voice” tells the story of Anas, a former rapper assigned to a cultural center in Casablanca, where he meets a group of young people talented in music and singing, and helps them free themselves from the shackles of tradition and religious fanaticism, in order to express themselves and their talents. The show will be followed by a special concert by five of the rap talents who participated in the film.

The red carpet of the Red Sea International Film Festival will also host the first directorial experience of Tunisian star Dhafer El Abidine in the movie “Ghadwa”, which depicts the relationship between a father and his son when the roles are reversed between them.

directorial experience

Jordanian director Zaid Abu Hamdan offers his first directorial experience in the field of feature films, after his short films won many awards. In “Daughters of Abdul Rahman”, he tells the story of sisters who meet after life separated them, but this time to search for their father, who suddenly disappeared.

The red carpet will witness the opening screening of “A New Generation” with the film “Bell” by Japanese director, nominated for an Academy Award Mamoru Hosada, which tells the story of a shy girl who lives a simple life and enters a digital virtual world, in which she takes on the new character of a famous singer who is adored by everyone.

Among the “Masterpieces of the World”, the red carpet will witness the inaugural screening of “Anio”, a documentary from the award-winning director, writer and actor, from Academy Awards to BAFTA Giuseppe Tornatore. The film is about the life of the late composer and conductor Ennio Morricone, considered one of the most important musicians of the twentieth century.

Also “Masterpieces of the World” is “Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon” written and directed by Anna Leila Amirpour, a fantasy thriller that tells the story of a girl with supernatural powers, who escapes from a mental hospital, and tries to survive in New Orleans. The film, starring Jeon Jong-Seo, Kate Hudson, Craig Robinson, and Ed Skrein, premiered at this year’s Venice International Film Festival.


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