The Red Sea International Film Festival announced Monday the programme details, competition lineup and industry initiatives of its first edition at a press conference held in Al-Balad Historic Jeddah, Bait Qabil.
Set to take place March 12-21 at the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Festival will shed light on local talent as well as bringing a diverse selection of films to Saudi Arabia.
Festival Director Mahmoud Sabbagh and Artistic Director Hussain Currimbhoy announced a total of 107 features and shorts that will screen in the Festival.
The selection contains 16 films in-competition, 7 out-of-competition titles, 15 Retrospectives + Classic works, three Generation titles, five Immersive/VR experiences, 11 pictures in New Saudi/New Cinema, 13 titles in the shorts competition, 23 Best of the Year films, 17 Tajreeb titles, which is a collection of experimental films and ‘Untitled Omnibus Feature’, an anthology comprised of 5 short films.
The Competition selection this year opens a window to the world we live in with all of its current challenges. Prevalent themes are the advancement of women’s rights with an intense look at the scourge of domestic violence, as well as immigration, in particular, concerning marginalised individuals.
The Head of the Competition jury will be American three-time Academy Award winner Oliver Stone.
Participating countries in this year’s competition include Angola, Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Columbia, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Kosovo, Lebanon, Mongolia, Nigeria, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Spain and the United States.
“It’s pleasing that we are bringing these great quality films discussing social issues of the day, said Sabbagh, Festival Director. “We have a strong desire to push diversity, particularly in women’s position in public spaces, and for a more open society. The films present a strong look at what makes society function and the relationship between the individual to patriarchy and hegemony.”
Under the theme of “Transmissions”, a masterclass series will be led by Arab and International cinema icons, who will pass on their knowledge, inspiration and experience to young, aspiring filmmakers. Among those presenting sessions are Spike Lee, William Friedkin, Abel Ferrara, Khairy Beshara and Yousry Nasrallah.
TunisianMonitorOnline (Red Sea International Film Festival)