“The Pilgrimage to Makkah”(1963) is a historic visual record of the yearly holy ritual, shot by Safouh I. Naamani, a pioneer of color photography in the Kingdom. The festival is honored to present “The Pilgrimage to Makkah” in the presence of Mr. Naamani’s son, Omar.
For 13 years, from 1950 to 1963, Naamani was determined to produce a documentary about the Pilgrimage. Receiving official approval in 1963, work began and was completed nine months later in San Francisco where an Arabic and a differing English version were produced. The film was one of many projects documenting the life of the Kingdom recorded by Naamani, including internal events as well as official international visits hosted by His Majesty King Faisal.
Also screening for the first time as a collected work is unique Jeddah footage, captured by Naamani from 1954-1968 on his 16 mm camera.
The Red Sea International Film Festival aided the restoration of five reels of raw film belonging to Naamani at a film restoration lab in Munich, Germany. The footage has been edited into a short film premiering at the Festival. This rare collection reveals the urban transformations that redrew the city, with particular relevance to the further significant changes taking place today.