The second edition of the Red Sea Film Festival begins on Thursday, December 1, kicking off 10 days of cinematic action in the Saudi coastal metropolis of Jeddah.
To save time for international participants, The Hollywood Reporter browsed through the festival program to spot several things not to miss.
The Onstage Talks – Spike Lee, Sharon Stone, Luca Guadagnino and more
Considering it’s only in its second year and not exactly a short haul flight away, the Red Sea Film Festival has managed to attract a hugely impressive assortment of international talent. on its shores for special events in conversation. Sharon Stone, Andy Garcia, Guy Ritchie, Luca Guadagnino, Gurinder Chadha, Nadine Labaki, Akshay Kumar, Spike Lee, Andrew Dominik, Fatih Akin and Adil El Arbi and Bilal Fallah are among those lined up to appear on stage at Red Sea Mall . . El Arbi and Fallah are in town with their feature Rebelbut will they make headlines with any mention of their infamous scrapping bat girl? Worth staying to find out.
The chance to explore emerging Saudi cinema
The first-ever Red Sea Film Festival, due to take place in March 2020, was set to open with a local feature film The Book of the Sun brothers Faris and Suhaib Godus. Unfortunately, the COVID pandemic had other plans, and the inaugural event was eventually postponed to December 2021 (by then The Book of Sun had become a local box office hit and topped the Netflix charts ). This year’s opening may not be Saudi (it’s What’s love got to do with it?), but there is still an impressive array of local films on the schedule, especially for a country where cinema was banned less than five years ago.
Among the Saudi feature films that get their world premieres are crow song by Mohamed Al Salman, about a man forced to make quick decisions when diagnosed with a brain tumor, and Moe Alatawi In the sand, following a young man crossing the desert (with the help of a wolf, no less) to join his very pregnant wife. The festival also closes with Khaled Fahd’s valley road, focusing on a young boy perceived to have a disability and set in the mountain village of Alwadi. All three are first feature films. Giving a hint of what’s to come, the festival also features an exceptional selection of Saudi short films.
Talks and round tables in the souk
As with most film festivals, it’s not all about the films. In the so-called Red Sea Souk, the industry-focused section of the festival, alongside pitch and networking sessions and market screenings, there are also a number of talks in association with Winston Baker, many of which are strongly focused on the local sector. . Topics covered include the regional sales and distribution landscape, current opportunities for filmmakers in the Arab world, navigating international co-productions and different funding avenues, while Netflix is involved in both a workshop on budget writing and a post-manufacturing case study.
The chance to watch the heavy hitters (and Oscar contenders) from other festivals you might have missed
Alongside the strong assortment of Middle Eastern offerings in the lineup, Rea Sea programmers have booked a decent crop of major titles from 2022’s A-list festivals, many of which will likely be part of the next awards conversation. International films include Martin McDonagh’s acclaimed film Banshees of Inisherin (for which Colin Farrell should get a Best Actor Oscar nomination), plus Luca Guadagnino bones and allwho both bowed out in Venice, alongside Ruben Ostlund’s Palme d’Or triangle of sadness and other titles from the Cannes competition Decision to leave by Park Chan-Wook (strongly tipped for Best International Oscar Run) and Hirokazu Kore-eda Broker. Elsewhere, there is Sam Mendes’ ode to cinema Empire of Lightmore Hunt, squid game the directorial debut of star Lee Jung-jae.
To explore Jeddah itself
There’s no point in flying to a place that dates back to the 7e century and spend all of its time in dark screening rooms and auditoriums. Saudi Arabia’s second largest city (about 4.7 million people) and its commercial and tourist capital has plenty to offer those with spare time, including its bustling corniche, the ancient district of Al- Balad (featuring many of the city’s oldest quarters and finest wooden and coral stone buildings), and the famous Floating Mosque (also known as Al-Rahman Mosque), which juts out into the ‘water. Meanwhile, its coastal position puts fresh seafood at the top of the local culinary list (although there’s pretty much everything else too).
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Red Sea Film Festival: 5 things not to miss – CNET – ApparelGeek