The start of the first edition of the Red Sea International Film Festival in Jeddah was covered in Arab and international media on Monday evening, to finally achieve Saudi filmmakers’ goal of establishing an art festival in the country.
On the first day of the festival, which is the first of its type in Saudi Arabia, Jack Lang, Catherine Deneuve, an icon of French cinema, and Egyptian artist Laila Elwi were honored.
During the opening ceremony, Haifaa Al-Mansour, a Saudi director and producer, was recognized as the owner of the first feature film shot entirely in the Kingdom in 2012, titled “Wadjda.”
This is part of the Red Sea International Film Festival’s goal to highlight the importance of women in the film industry; films directed by women account for 38% of the festival’s overall screenings.
The festival’s inaugural session will feature 135 films from 67 nations, including 48 Arab debuts, 27 Saudi premieres, and 17 world premieres, beginning with Joe Wright’s British musical “Cirno.”
In addition to the Interactive Cinema Competition, 16 films in the Feature Film Competition and 18 films in the Short Film Competition are competing for the Al Yusr Awards awarded by the Red Sea Film Festival. The Red Sea Market Awards will reward over $700,000 to the top projects.
The festival will end on Wednesday, December 15, 2021, with an award ceremony and the global premiere of one of the “New Generation” program’s films, Egyptian director Amr Salama’s “Out the Approach.”
The first edition of the Red Sea International Film Festival was supposed to begin in March 2020, but owing to the Corona pandemic, it was postponed for more than a year.