A total of 12 projects have been selected for the eight-month programme that will seek to mentor Saudi and Arab directors, producers and writers to develop inventive feature films.
The Red Sea International Film Festival has announced the 12 Arab projects selected for development at the Red Sea Lodge 2021. Six projects are from Saudi Arabia alongside projects from Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait and Lebanon. Half of the projects are helmed by female directors, with three women in producer roles.
The emerging storytellers will convene four times digitally and finally in-person in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, at the inaugural Red Sea International Film Festival, where the 12 filmmaking teams will pitch to international production companies. An independent jury will award two projects production grants of $100,000. The two awarded films will have the opportunity to have their world premiere at the Red Sea International Film Festival in 2022.
The eight-month monitoring programme is organised in collaboration with TorinoFilmLab. Teams will explore every stage of filmmaking, from script consultations to a commercial focus on financing, sales, and audience engagement. The comprehensive programme includes workshops with expert tutors and international film professionals to further develop 12 original projects.
The selection committee comprised a list of leading industry experts, including Savina Neirotti (Executive Director, TorinoFilmLab), Jane Williams (Head of Industry, TorinoFilmLab), Antoine Khalife (Director of the Arab Programme, Red Sea International Film Festival), Kaleem Aftab (Director of International Programming, Red Sea International Film Festival) and Edouard Waintrop (Advisor, Red Sea International Film Festival).
They were supported by a team of readers, including Faisal Alharbi (Film Producer and Director) and Deema Azar (Film Producer and Script Consultant). Saudi producer Jumana Zahid leads the Festival’s development programme as Manager of the Red Sea Lodge.
The selected projects include biopics, romance, fantasy and journeys of self-discovery, and range across significant socio-political themes, looking at contemporary interpersonal challenges of marriage and family, mental health struggles and the pain and beauty of love. There are also explorations of major moments of societal transformation, including the expansion of the Mongol empire and early oil speculation.