As part of the partnership, five films funded by the Red Sea International Film Festival will also be present at the 79th Venice Film Festival.
The Red Sea International Film Festival (RedSeaIFF) has collaborated with Final Cut, a programme by Venice Production Bridge that supports projects from Middle Eastern and African countries.
The initiative, now in its 10th year at the Venice Film Festival, will help films in post-production from Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine and Syria as well as African countries.
Additionally, five films funded by RSIFF will be presented during the Venice Film Festival which runs from August 31 to September 10. The 79th edition of the festival welcomes ten Arab and Middle Eastern films set to make their mark on the Lido di Venezia from some of the region’s filmmakers.
The Red Sea International Film Festival is supporting two works in Final Cut — Inshallah A Boy, a dark comedy by Amjad Al Rasheed and The Cemetery of Cinema, a documentary by Thierno Souleymane Diallo, which along with six other projects will be shown to producers, buyers, distributors, post-production companies and film festival programmers. The Red Sea will also be presenting a financial reward to the winning project.
The five films being announced at the oldest film festival in the world have benefited from the crucial support of the Red Sea Fund which was launched to nurture Arab and African filmmakers and provide funding at key stages of production, post-production and development. This is part of the RSIFF’s mission to champion emerging and established filmmakers to bring authentic, untold narratives from the past, present and future to global audiences.
Presented in Orizzonti Extra, the festival’s official international competition dedicated to films that represent the latest aesthetic and expressive trends is the highly anticipated coming-of-age story Nezouh directed by Syrian director Soudade Kaadan. Kaadan’s first feature The Day I Lost My Shadow went onto win the Lion of the Future – Luigi De Laurentiis award in 2018.
Running in the same section is Iraqi writer-director Ahmed Yassin Al Daradj’s debut feature Hanging Gardens featuring Wissam Diyaa, Jawad Al Shakarji, Hussain Muhammad Jalil, and Akram Mazen Ali. The film won Venice’s 2021 edition of Final Cut for the best film in post-production.
Lebanese-French director Wissam Charaf’s Dirty, Difficult, Dangerous will feature in Giornate degli Autori, a successful independent sidebar of the Venice Film Festival renowned for the quality of its film selection.
French-Algerian director Damien Ounouri and Algerian actress, scriptwriter and producer Adilia Bendimerad present The Last Queen a full-scale costume drama in the Giornate degli Autori programme. The film is set in the Mediterranean port city of Algiers in 1516, it revolves around the heroic female figure of Zaphira, who stood up to the infamous pirate Barbarossa after he killed her husband King Salim Toumi, took control of the city and demanded her hand in marriage. As well as co-directing Bendimerad stars and is joined by Dali Benssalah and Tahar Zaoui.
Moroccan director and writer Yasmine Benkiran’s debut feature Queens will close the selection of the Venice International Film Critics’ Week, the sidebar of the Venice Film Festival, playing out-of-competition.
Speaking about the films, Pascal Diot, Head of Venice Production Bridge, said: “The Venice Production Bridge is honoured to have the additional support of the Red Sea International Film Festival for our Final Cut in Venice workshop and more generally to have such a privileged relationship. The RSIFF has become in a very few years an unavoidable player in the MENA region and one of the key investors and supporters of Arab cinema and new immersive content.”
Mohammed Al Turki, CEO of the Red Sea International Film Festival, added: “We are thrilled to form a partnership with the Venice Film Production Bridges ‘Final Cut’ programme to strengthen our commitment to filmmakers from the region to bring more projects to fruition so they can make the selection at the world’s most prestigious festivals. The calibre of films presented from the region this year is remarkable and are guaranteed to make their mark on global audiences.”