Luhrmann will chair the jury for the Red Sea Festival, which will grant awards to a competition featuring 17 titles from filmmakers from the Arab region, Asia and Africa.
The Red Sea International Film Festival (RedSeaIFF) has announced that the internationally acclaimed Australian writer, director, and producer Baz Luhrmann, known for his work on films such as Elvis and Moulin Rouge!, will serve as the presiding head of the festival’s Red Sea: Features Competition Jury for the upcoming third edition. The event is scheduled to take place from November 30 to December 9 in Jeddah.
Luhrmann is a celebrated master storyteller, transcending the realms of film, opera, theatre, and music. His latest film, Elvis (2022), achieved global recognition as reportedly the second-highest-grossing musical biopic of all time. His filmography includes the double Academy Award-winning The Great Gatsby (2013), Strictly Ballroom (1992), Romeo + Juliet (1996), the double Academy Award-winning Moulin Rouge (2001), and the sweeping period epic Australia (2008).
The Red Sea: Features competition will be a platform for showcasing the accomplishments of a diverse range of filmmakers from the Arab region, Asia, and Africa. Seventeen features will be carefully selected to highlight the most compelling, unique, and impressive works of the past year. The winners will be chosen by Baz Luhrmann and the esteemed jury, receiving the coveted Yusr Awards. In 2022, the Golden Yusr for Best Feature Film was presented to Hanging Gardens, directed by Ahmed Yassin Al Daradji.
Speaking about Baz Luhrmann, Mohammed Al Turki CEO of the RedSeaIFF, said: “As we work towards our third edition, we are delighted to welcome legendary award-winning director Baz Luhrmann as the head of the Jury. Luhrmann is a pioneer of pop culture with incredible versatility across the creative fields, and it’s a great honour to have him head our third edition jury presidency. We look forward to announcing the films and celebrating the outstanding filmmaking taking place across the Arab world, Asia and Africa.”
Baz Luhrmann added: “As a child in the local cinema that we ran near the tiny country town where I grew up, I was mesmerised by the powerful historical and physical landscapes of Lawrence of Arabia. Since that time, I have had an abiding passion for the Arabian world, but after visiting Saudi Arabia, I felt truly inspired by the remarkable young filmmaking talent coming up across the region and to see how they are now capturing the attention of the global film community. It’s an honour to be presiding over this year’s Red Sea International Film Festival’s Jury, alongside leading and emerging lights in the industry, and to be part of the evolution of change that is happening through cinema across the Arab region, Asia and Africa. Since the early days of my career, I have experienced the power of storytelling and festivals to open doors and forge bridges between artists and across cultures. I look forward to celebrating both emerging talent and the incredible established auteurs from the region in the vibrant, diverse and distinctive cinematic offering that the festival is becoming renowned for presenting in Jeddah.”