All 26 selected projects will compete for cash prizes offered by the Red Sea Fund, to be awarded by an international jury of producers.
The Red Sea International Film Festival (RedSeaIFF) has unveiled a comprehensive roster of projects for this year’s Red Sea Souk Market, set to run from December 2 to December 5. The event aims to celebrate the burgeoning cinematic output from MENA, reflecting a diverse array of voices and stories.
At the heart of the Red Sea Souk Market is the 360° industry events programme and Networking Session. It is designed to foster interactions between international delegates, encouraging them to share their experiences and insights in exclusive forums. The Souk will culminate in Talent Days on December 6-7, providing a platform for emerging regional talent and short filmmakers to connect with seasoned industry experts.
The Red Sea Souk Project Market will present 26 feature-length projects representing the MENA region, offering industry professionals their first chance to connect and explore future opportunities with these projects.
Among the selected projects, 12 are part of the Red Sea Lodge, having been developed over the year through intensive workshops in collaboration with the Torino Film Lab. Four of these projects will be awarded the annual Red Sea Lodge production prizes, each receiving $50,000.
All 26 selected projects in the Market will vie for cash prizes offered by the Red Sea Fund, with amounts ranging from $25,000 for the Jury Special Mention Award to $100,000 for production, as decided by an international jury of producers.
Additionally, the Work-in-Progress Showcase will shine a spotlight on six films by independent filmmakers in the post-production stage, presenting them to distributors, producers, buyers, financiers, and festival programmers for potential collaborations and audience reach. All selected films in the Work-in-Progress Showcase will compete for the Red Sea Souk Post-Production Award of $30,000 and the Special Jury Mention of $10,000.
Participating projects are also eligible for additional awards sponsored by the Red Sea Souk’s partners.
The Project Market jury comprises Saudi Producer Wael Abumansour (Telfaz 11), French producer Jean Bréhat (Tessalit Productions), Moroccan producer Lamia Chraibi (La Prod), Senegalese producer Oumar Sall (Cinekap) and Bosnian producer and director Jasmila Žbanić.
Judging the Works-In-Progress are Venice Days artistic director Gaia Furrer, Kenyan filmmaker Wanuri Kahiu and Iraqi-Italian director Haider Rashid.
Speaking about the selected projects, Shivani Pandya Malhotra, Managing Director of RedSeaIFF, said: “We are excited to host the Red Sea Souk as part of the RedSeaIFF for a third year and to showcase some of the most innovative, inspiring new talent from the Arab and African region. The Red Sea Souk’s marketplace offers a vital and pivotal platform dedicated to the introduction of new stories to the prospect of international audiences. The Souk continues to support international connections between the key players and talents in the region as well as developing opportunities for those at the start of their careers. With the addition of financial and in-kind awards from our generous partners, the future of filmmaking creativity will be further bolstered.”
The Red Sea 360° industry events programme will unite global film professionals, inviting them to engage with Souk audiences through a series of workshops, panels, and sessions. This programme promises up to 15 conversations offering insights into the current and future landscape of the Arab, African, and Asian film industries, and their global impact on entertainment.
Distinguished figures from the international and regional industry, including Karim Zreik (Entertainment Industry Veteran – USA), Tima Al Shomali (Writer, Director – Jordan), Woo-Sik Seo (Producer at Barunson C&C – South Korea), Malek Nejer (Animation Director at Myrkott- KSA), and Diego Ramírez Schrempp (Producer at Dynamo – Colombia), are set to participate, with more contributors to be confirmed.
Three Networking Sessions will facilitate introductions between festival attendees, filmmakers, and professionals through structured, informal speed-meeting sessions. Both regional and international key players will offer guidance and support, nurturing filmmakers’ career development.
Talent Days will host a series of workshops that connect new Saudi and international talent with global industry professionals, providing insights and perspectives while forging connections that will drive the next generation of filmmakers. Eminent figures from prestigious institutions, including the Tribeca Film Festival, Amman Film Industry Days, La Biennale di Venezia, Netflix, Neom, Red Sea Fund, and the Doha Film Institute, will participate, emphasising a strong mentoring component at its core.
Projects at the Souk in various stages comprise Egyptian-American director Dina Amer’s Arabic-language remake of the hit Korean movie Miracle in Cell No. 7; Tunisian producer and director Fatma Riahi’s My Father Killed Bourguiba; and French-Algerian director Emma Benestan’s female-revenge drama Animale.
Projects in development include Palestinian director Scandar Copti’s A Childhood, Lebanese-French filmmaker Danielle Arbid’s Love Conquers All and Madness And Honey Days by Iraq’s Ahmed Yassin Al-Daradji.
Another six projects will be showcased in the Works-In-Progress section including Men In The Sun by Palestinian director Mahdi Fleifel, Red Path by Tunisia’s Lotfi Achour and Yunan by Kiev-Born, Germany director Ameer Fakher Eldin, who is of Syrian descent.
Access to the 360° programme, Networking Sessions, and Talent Days is open to all Red Sea International Film Festival badge holders.