The theme of the fest’s first edition Metamorphosis celebrates cinema’s ability to adapt to post-industrial, digital new normal and as an interface between Saudi Arabia and the world.
The first edition of the Red Sea International Film Festival will take place from November 11-20, 2021 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The inaugural edition of the festival will take place in the UNESCO world heritage site of Jeddah Old Town in the cosmopolitan city on the Red Sea Coast.
The festival will be delivered by a team of Saudi and international curators, film specialists, and industry veterans, including Managing Director Shivani Pandya and Director of Arab Programmes & Film Classics Antoine Khalife – both formerly of the Dubai International Film Festival. Film Critic Kaleem Aftab joins as Director of International Programming, bringing distinctive global cinema to Saudi across In Competition, Out-of-Competition, and thematic categories. Jumana Zahid leads the Red Sea Lodge, the foundation’s incubator for Saudi and Arab filmmakers, now in its second edition. The Red Sea Souk, the festival’s industry platform for distributors, sales agents, and producers is helmed by Zain Zedan, Industry/Souk Manager. The senior team, which has a 50/50 gender split, is completed by Ibrahim Modir, Head of Shared Services.
The 2021 theme of Metamorphosis celebrates cinema as a force for positive change. It reflects on the festival’s local context: the impact of cinema’s triumphant return to Saudi Arabia since 2019, as well as, the blossoming local and regional film scenes, exploring how cinema culture can create an interface connecting a new, outward-looking Saudi and the world.
The ten-day festival will look at how cinema has successfully adapted from analogue to digital and to the new platforms delivering content. It will also focus on the changing role of women in cinema. Members of the Red Sea International Film Festival team will be attending the Berlin Film Festival and more programming details are set to be revealed in the coming months.
The festival provides a vital new platform to strengthen creative connections between Saudi and the world with a programme of the best in global cinema, classic and contemporary Arab film, alongside professional and industry strands.