The Red Sea International Film Festival Announces Dates |

Saudi Arabia Will Have its First Film Festival Next Year

And the event will include a filmmaking competition leading to a grand prize of $500,000

Posted on

2 July 2019

Last updated on 3 July 2019
Teaser: First Film Festival in Saudi Arabia Releases Dates

The Kingdom is expanding cinematic experiences and fostering sleeping talent

Come March 12 - 21, 2020 Saudi Arabia will reach a film-making milestone: the nation's first film festival, the Red Sea International Film Festival, will take place at Jeddah. The event joins a significant time of momentous change in the kingdom's entertainment industry, following the launch of the first cinema in Jeddah after lifting the 35-year ban.

SEE ALSO: An Enormous Entertainment City is Coming to Saudi Arabia

Previously, Saudi residents had to purchase films months after its release in order to watch it or travel to neighboring nations to enjoy a movie at a cinema. This breakthrough transformation is in line with the country's Vision 2030 program, dedicated to transforming and expanding Saudi Arabia's economy.

The festival is chaired by Saudi Minister of Culture, Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan Al-Saud and led by festival Director and CEO Mahmoud Sabbagh, who directed Barakah Meets Barakah and Amra and the Second Marriage. Notable members of the team include Sundance Film Festival documentary programmer Hussain Currimbhoy, and former Dubai International Film Festival manager Pandya Malhotra.

The official trailer was shot in Jeddah Old Town, with a cast of young Saudi artists, cinematographers, and performing artists, illustrating the kingdom's support for up-and-coming talent. It also presents Saudi's aspirations to be a world-class contributor to the film industry.

Nurturing storytellers and evolving KSA's film industry

Created and hosted by local and international artists, actors, and filmmakers, you can expect master classes, educational workshops, and showcases of experimental film and art projects at the Red Sea International Film Festival.

To help in developing existing talent, the festival announced The Red Sea Lodge: The New Arab Wave. It's a Script & Feature Lab in collaboration with the TorinoFilmLab where filmmakers can submit their passion projects.

12 Arab projects will be selected, and at least six will be from Saudi participants. Selected filmmakers will participate in five-month learning and support programs where they can develop and hone their skills with film industry experts.

US$500,000 will be awarded each to two of the best projects from the Script & Feature Lab to financially support their films.

Submissions opened on July 1 and will close on August 15.

Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan Al-Saud aims to foster a new Saudi film industry through the festival, long-term educational programs, and film-making and artist grants supported by the independent, non-profit organization The Red Sea Film Festival Foundation.