Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Film Festival Sets Dates, Announces New Team


After a delay as a consequence of coronavirus, Saudi Arabia’s nascent Red Sea Worldwide Film Festival is now on monitor to carry its first version in November with a partly renewed crew in place.

The bold occasion, which is Saudi’s first full-fledged movie pageant and market with worldwide ambitions, is about to run Nov. 11-20 within the historic district of Jeddah, a Unesco World Heritage website.

The theme of the fest’s first version might be “Metamorphosis,” supposed as a celebration of “cinema as a drive for constructive change,” organizers stated in a press release. The theme “displays on the pageant’s native context: the impression of cinema’s triumphant return to Saudi Arabia since 2019, in addition to the blossoming native and regional movie scenes, exploring how cinema tradition can create an interface connecting a brand new, outward-looking Saudi and the world.”

Moviegoing is now booming in Saudi after the nation in late 2017 eliminated its religion-related ban on cinemas, and a serious effort is underway to foster a Saudi movie trade.

When it comes to administration, the fest’s normal supervisor stays Shivani Pandya, the now defunct Dubai fest’s former high exec, whereas Antoine Khalife, additionally a Dubai fest veteran, can also be nonetheless on board as director of the Saudi fest’s Arab Program.

Nonetheless, following the exit of Saudi director Mahmoud Sabbagh as Red Sea fest chief, there have been some adjustments within the crew. London-based movie critic Kaleem Aftab is becoming a member of as director of worldwide programming, accountable for deciding on worldwide titles in numerous sections — a job much like the one beforehand held on the Red Sea fest by former Sundance creative director Hussain Currimbhoy, who has stepped down.

Jumana Zahid leads the Red Sea Lodge program to nurture new voices in Arab cinema, now in its second version. The Red Sea Souk, the fest’s trade platform for distributors, gross sales brokers and producers is headed by Zain Zedan, who replaces French trade veteran Julie Bergeron.

The Red Sea fest’s senior administration crew, which has a 50/50 gender cut up, is accomplished by Ibrahim Modir, head of shared providers.



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