The festival will open with Shekhar Kapur’s romantic comedy ‘What's Love Got to Do With It?’ and conclude with 'Valley Road' by Saudi director Khaled Fahd.
Red Sea International Film Festival (RedSeaIFF), in partnership with Vox Cinemas and the MBC Group, has unveiled the programme for its second edition, which will run from 1-10 December in Jeddah.
The festival will welcome filmmakers, talent, media, industry professionals, and film fans for a 10-day celebration of global cinema.
Under the slogan “Film is Everything,” the event will feature 131 feature films and shorts from 61 countries in 41 languages from both established and emerging talent and will host 34 world premieres, 17 Arab premieres and 47 MENA premieres, with a number of filmmakers and actors in attendance for many of the films. With more films expected to be added in the coming weeks.
What’s Love Got to Do with It? directed by Shekhar Kapur, written by Jemima Khan and produced by Studiocanal and Working Title will open the second edition of the film festival.
Sliding between London and Lahore, love and friendship, tradition and iconoclasm, What’s Love Got to Do with It? is a cross-cultural British romantic comedy that follows a filmmaker who decides to document her best friend’s journey towards an arranged marriage.
The festival’s closing film is the world premiere of Valley Road from award-winning Saudi writer and director Khaled Fahd, starring Hamad Farhan, Naif Khalaf, and Aseel Omran. Valley Road follows Ali who is perceived by his family and the people of the beautiful Saudi Arabian mountain village where he lives, Alwadi, as having a disability. Only his older sister Siham recognises that his difference is part of him. The film beautifully explores human values and encounters that can forge a personality and invites us to take a better look at the fragile people around us.
The festival will also showcase the young voices shaping the filmmaking culture of Saudi Arabia, seven new Saudi features and 18 Saudi short films will be presented to the global film industry and local audiences.
Alongside the Red Sea: Competition, Red Carpet Galas, Outdoor Screenings and Special Presentations, the festival will host a range of cinema in the following sections: Festival Favorites, New Saudi/New Cinema, Red Sea: Treasures, Red Sea: Arab and International Spectacular, Red Sea: Family and Children, Red Sea: Virtual Reality, Red Sea: Series, and Red Sea: New Vision, a new strand dedicated to filmmakers pushing the boundaries of creativity with a style of genre-defining filmmaking that will challenge audiences.
Speaking about the programme lineup, Mohammed Al Turki, CEO of RedSeaIFF, said: “The Red Sea International Film Festival is cementing its position as a unique and powerful platform for celebrating film, connecting cultures, and expanding our horizons. Film is Everything encapsulates the festival this year, a bold, cinematic, progressive, and cultural ten-day event for film lovers, storytellers, talent and industry professionals from around the globe. Our programmers have curated the best of Arab and international cinema, talent-led galas of some of the most anticipated films of the year, and an exceptional selection from astonishing new Saudi talents who are paving the way in our country’s flourishing industry. We are so grateful to the loyal support of our sponsors and the incredible dedication of our talented RSIFF team, and we are excited to welcome everyone to Jeddah for our highly-anticipated second edition.”
Festival goers will be able to access a bespoke programme of in-depth conversations with filmmakers and acting talent which will explore their extraordinary careers and current projects.
This year’s in-conversations include Fatih Akin, a German film director, screenwriter and producer who has won numerous awards for his work including the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival for his film Head On (2004), Best Screenplay at the Cannes Film Festival for The Edge of Heaven (2007), and the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film for In the Fade (2017). His biopic of the German rapper and label boss Xatar, Rheingold, starring Emilio Sakraya, will also premiere at the festival.
Bend it Like Beckham writer and director Gurinder Chadha will discuss her illustrious career and how the film became a cultural phenomenon. Gurinder Chadha is one of the UK’s most respected filmmakers, and was awarded an O.B.E. in 2006 for her services to the British Film Industry. She was the first-ever British-Asian woman to direct a full-length feature film with her 1993 Bhaji on the Beach, going on to gross almost £60m at the box office, alongside receiving global critical acclaim for its wit, coming-of-age relatability and its uniquely authentic representation of British-Asian culture.
From Egypt, the festival will welcome Egyptian actress Mona Zaki and veteran actor Hussein Fahmy whose career spans more than five decades, directing and appearing in over 100 film, television, and theatre productions. This year he returned to the role of president of the Cairo International Film Festival after a 21-year absence. Festival goers will also get the opportunity to watch Fahmy in the Egyptian classic Khali Balak Min Zouzou (Watch Out for Zouzou) directed by Hassan Al-Imam (1972). Celebrating 50 years since its release, the film has been lovingly restored for audiences to discover or see again on the big screen.
Tunisian film director and Oscar nominee Kaouther Ben Hania will share insights into her acclaimed career which began in Tunisia and, throughout her four short films, documentary and four feature films, the work she crafted is deeply rooted in the life and social satire.
The line-up includes Saudi director Fahad Alammari’s Alkhallat+, Lebanese director Lara Saba’s All Roads Lead to Rome, South Korean drama Broker, directed and written by Hirokazu Kore-eda, The Banshees of Inisherin, by director and writer Martin McDonagh, Park Chan-Wook’s Decision to Leave, Empire of Light, by Academy Award-winning director Sam Mendes, Zeyad Alhusaini’s How I Got There, a co-production between Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, Egyptian director, writer and producer John Ikram Sawers’ Kamla, animated comedy adventure film Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, directed by Joel Crawford, Moroccan filmmaker Yasmine Benkiran’s Queens, Moroccan directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah’s latest film Rebel, and Ruben Östlund’s Triangle of Sadness, among others.
Representatives from 46 countries will attend the Red Sea Souk which runs from December 3-6.
All Souk-selected projects will compete for cash prizes offered by the Red Sea Fund, to be awarded by two juries. The Project Market’s jury will award a $35,000 fund for the Jury Special Mention Award both for Development and $100,000 for production. All selected projects are eligible for additional awards sponsored by the Red Sea Souk sponsors and partners totalling $500,000.
Shivani Pandya Malhotra, Managing Director of RedSeaIFF, added: “The country is rapidly securing its position as a hub for film, culture, arts, and fashion as it becomes a world-class centre for film production. The Red Sea IFF is very much at the heart of this transformation providing a platform to showcase a new generation full of energy and creativity. Through the Red Sea Souk, we are in a position to support filmmakers in all stages of their careers and our programmes throughout the year follow the full-cycle of filmmaking. We are delighted to be welcoming acclaimed international and Arab talent, pioneering industry leaders, the next generation of filmmakers and exciting game-changers for a programme of screenings, in-person panels, masterclasses, networking and talks at a time of immense change to ensure we are part of the wider global conversation.”
Taking place on December 7-8, as part of the Red Sea Souk activities, Talent Days is a series of sessions designed to nurture a new generation of filmmakers. Acclaimed director Kaouther Ben Hania will lead the second edition of Talent Days and will be joined by creatives from around the world, including Rania Attieh, Raed El Mansari, Hakim Mao, Kathia Bayer and Jonathan Goldman who will be mentoring to support the professional development of talent.
In addition, Talent Days will feature a special network of international industry key leaders from AFAC, USC, Nomadis Film, Netflix, Cineways, EAVE, and MPM Film who are participating to discover authentic new voices they hope to be working with in the future.
The Red Sea Souk also offers opportunities for networking and building collaborations for future projects. Three sessions hosted throughout the Souk will cover development, production, and distribution and are designed to foster the connections between key industry players, filmmakers, and Festival attendees as well as offer a comprehensive and nurturing journey from script to screen.
The Souk will showcase 43 exhibiting companies from 10 countries including sales companies, film commissions, national cinema pavilion, post-production studios, and main festival industry sponsors.