Gearing up for what is about to become the Red Sea Film Festival’s (RSIFF) second edition, organizers of the prestigious cinematic gathering, often hailed as one of the most important ones hailing from the region, are slowly teasing what to expect from the sophomore iteration of the gala.
Building on the success of the debut event, which took place last December, the Red Sea Film Festival is finally making its much awaited come back, cutting the proverbial ribbon on its second edition from Dec. 1 to 10 in the Ritz Carlton Jeddah. This week, organizers shared all there is to know about the region’s celebration of cinema, including opening and closing titles, selected features, and participating judges, to keep us patiently waiting until D-Day is upon us.
So far, reports have confirmed that 131 features and short films from 61 countries in 41 languages will be presented throughout the 10-day-long festival, 34 of which will be making their world premiere, in addition to 17 Arab premieres, and 47 MENA premieres.
The festival will kick off with Indian director Shekhar Kapur’s rom-com What’s Love Got to Do with It? on RSIFF’s first night, while Valley Road directed by award-winning Saudi writer and director Khaled Fahd will wrap up the 10-day-long cinematic event.
What’s more, American film director, producer, and screenwriter Oliver Stone has been designated as head jury of this second edition. The Oscar-award-winning icon, responsible for some of the industry’s most decorated titles including Scarface, The Doors, and Midnight Express, was initially announced as jury president for the festival’s inaugural edition in 2020, which was cancelled and postponed to 2021 as a result of the pandemic. Two years later, Stone is finally able to honor his appointment at RSIFF, and bring his knowledge and expertise to spearhead and navigate the features section of the competition.
“Our programmers have curated the best of Arab and international cinema, talent-led galas of some of the most anticipated films of the year, and an exceptional selection from astonishing new Saudi talents who are paving the way in our country’s flourishing industry,” commented RSIFF CEO Mohammed Al-Turki on Monday.
“RSIFF is not just a film festival, it is a cultural forum in which we exchange our technical, cultural experiences, knowledge, and discover new dimensions. It serves as an important platform through which we support the film industry at the local and regional levels,” Samaher Mously, director of marketing and communications at the event, added.
As they did last year, the festival will also invite industry-recognized individuals to connect, support, and provide insight to the next generation of trailblazing talent. This year’s In-Conversations program will include talks from Tunisian filmmaker Kaouther Ben Hania and Egyptian actors Mona Zaki and Hussein Fahmy, Bend It Like Beckham director Gurinder Chaddha, as well as German filmmaker Fatih Akin.
For more information, head to RSIFF’s official website.