The festival, was set to kick off on March 12-21 in Jeddah, has been postponed amid coronavirus concerns.
Saudi Arabia’s inaugural Red Sea International Film Festival has been postponed due to concerns around the spread of the coronavirus, the organisers announced on Tuesday. American filmmakers Oliver Stone and Spike Lee were two of the announced celebrity guests.
A statement from the festival’s organisers read: “Following the precautionary measures taken by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and with our primary consideration being the safety and wellbeing of our guests, staff and audiences, the Red Sea International Festival is postponing its inaugural edition, which was scheduled to run 12-21 March 2020, in Al Balad, Historic Jeddah.”
“The spread of coronavirus is a battle we all must face around the globe, and it’s with no hesitation that we are respecting the measures needed to meet the current health emergency,” it added.
They added that they will be deciding on new dates for 2020 “as soon as feasible” and renewing their commitment to their goals and plans.
“Rest assured, the Festival will take place at a later date, as we remain committed to all filmmakers, producers, partners and audiences,” they wrote. “We hope you remain in good health.”
It comes just days after the kingdom confirmed its first case of the virus and closed two of its most sacred Muslim shrines to foreign visitors. It has also blocked pilgrims from entering the country.