The AlUla Creates competition is accepting submissions until August 31, 2023.
Film AlUla, the Royal Commission for AlUla’s film agency, has launched ‘AlUla Creates’ short film competition, joined by London-based production company Vertigo Films (Monsters), Saudi filmmaker Haifaa Al Mansour (The Perfect Candidate) and internationally renowned director, producer and actress Katie Holmes (Rare Objects).
Vertigo Films and Film AlUla will helm the competition to support and establish three Saudi women directors in the international marketplace.
‘AlUla Creates’ is a platform designed to nurture future generations of Saudi Arabian talent in the areas of film, the arts and fashion. Launching the second phase of the AlUla filmmaking mentoring program, this initiative offers filmmakers the chance to receive mentorship from renowned industry experts and equip them with the necessary tools to enhance their projects, ultimately contributing to the development of the future film industry.
The deadline for AlUla Creates submissions is August 31, 2023. Aspiring Saudi women filmmakers have the opportunity to participate in the programme, aiming to collaborate with Vertigo Films, Haifaa Al Mansour, Katie Holmes, and the Film AlUla team to produce a short film, filmed in AlUla. Entrants of all experience are encouraged to submit a piece of audio-visual work they have directed, alongside a synopsis of the short film idea, they would like to develop.
The submissions will be evaluated by a panel of industry experts, comprising Vertigo Films, Film AlUla, Holmes, and Al Mansour. They will assess the entries based on their originality, creativity, thematic depth, character development, and potential to engage and captivate audiences. A shortlist of filmmakers will be invited to pitch directly to the panel before the final three filmmakers are selected.
To complete their 10-minute short films, the winning three filmmakers will receive a $20,000 production grant, three months of mentoring and training, additional funding for treatment development, and on-the-ground support throughout the filmmaking process. The filmmakers will also be flown to London to learn about the international marketplace, meeting with key sales, distribution, post and VFX companies, with each of the filmmakers also being supported through submissions to local and international film festivals.
Speaking about the programme, Charlene Deleon-Jones, Executive Director at Film AlUla, said: “As we continue to develop our AlUla Creates initiative and secure more incredible mentors like the trailblazing Haifaa Al Mansour, we are delighted to welcome Vertigo Films as a partner for the film phase of the programme. Their unparalleled experience as producers and remarkable track record in discovering and supporting up-and-coming talent will be vital as we strive to provide a platform for the next generation of Saudi women filmmakers. We are very much looking forward to engaging with the submissions and seeing the phenomenal stories that are waiting to be told on the international stage.”
Jane Moore, Executive Producer and CEO at Vertigo Films, added: “At Vertigo, we feel passionately about empowering female creatives in our industry, and the Film AlUla Creates programme presents a genuine opportunity to amplify the voices and artistic talents of Saudi female filmmakers on the global stage. By providing a platform for their unique perspectives and craft, we aim to develop their professional growth and nurture their creative identity. With young people of Saudi Arabia only recently experiencing cinema for the first time, it’s exciting to be involved in AlUla’s movement to become a major film and TV hub and will be immensely rewarding to be part of the journey of the talented women selected for this programme and to see them flourish in the industry through their ambitious short films.”
Haifaa Al Mansour stated: “I am beyond thrilled to be working with AlUla Creates to help build and support the coming generation of filmmakers in my home country of Saudi Arabia. When I first started making films the idea of working as a female Saudi director seemed outlandish. But I knew that the world was curious to hear from us, to hear our side of the story, and that films from home would strike a chord with audiences around the world. Now, working on a programme like this to foster and support upcoming female artists in Saudi Arabia feels just as unbelievable. It is an incredible honour for me, and such a wonderful opportunity to meet so many other talented filmmakers. I am so excited to see the infrastructure of a cinematic industry being built here to help realise our creative visions and beyond.”