12 Projects selected for 8-month program mentoring Saudi and Arab directors, producers and writers, developing inventive feature films
Two teams will be awarded $100,000 production grants at the inaugural Red Sea International Film Festival
The Red Sea International Film Festival announces the 12 Arab projects selected for development at the Red Sea Lodge 2021. Six projects are from Saudi Arabia alongside projects from Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, and Lebanon. Half of the projects are helmed by female directors, with three women in producer roles.
The emerging storytellers will convene four times digitally and finally in-person in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, at the inaugural Red Sea International Film Festival, where the 12 filmmaking teams will pitch to international production companies. An independent jury will award two projects production grants of $100,000. The two awarded films will have the opportunity to world premiere at the Red Sea International Film Festival in 2022.
The 8-month monitoring program is organized in collaboration with the acclaimed TorinoFilmLab, leaders in international talent development. Teams will explore every stage of filmmaking, from script consultations to a commercial focus on financing, sales, and audience engagement. The comprehensive program includes workshops with expert tutors and international film professionals to further develop 12 original projects.
The selection committee comprised a list of leading industry experts, including Savina Neirotti (Executive Director, TorinoFilmLab), Jane Williams (Head of Industry, TorinoFilmLab), Antoine Khalife (Director of the Arab Program, Red Sea International Film Festival), Kaleem Aftab (Director of International Programming, Red Sea International Film Festival) and Edouard Waintrop (Advisor, Red Sea International Film Festival).
They were supported by a team of readers, including Faisal Alharbi (Film Producer and Director) and Deema Azar (Film Producer and Script Consultant). Saudi producer Jumana Zahid leads the Festival’s development program as Manager of the Red Sea Lodge.
The selected projects include biopics, romance, fantasy and journeys of self-discovery, and range across significant socio-political themes, looking at contemporary interpersonal challenges of marriage and family, mental health struggles and the pain and beauty of love. There are also explorations of major moments of societal transformation, including the expansion of the Mongol empire and early oil speculation.
The selected projects are:
Director and writer: Abduljalil Al-nasser
Producer: Ayman Jamal
Set in the 1940s, amid the vast deserts of the newly established Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Batla finds herself in a tense conflict with the men of her tribe after her husband goes missing.
Director: Jowaher Alamri
Writer: Jowaher Alamri and Jude Elmasoud
Producer: Mohammed Sendi
Trapped in a marriage to a toxic narrow-minded man, a desperate wife decides to leave their crippling relationship, leading both to go on life-changing journeys.
Raoya – The Bookkeeper
Director: Mahmoud Zaini
Writer: Ieva Radina
Producer: Omar Mugeem
It’s the 12th century, and the Mongol empire is expanding across the world. During the siege of Baghdad, a young girl finds herself trapped in a strange world inhabited by flightless birds.
The Photographer of Madina
Director: Dalyah Bakheet
Writer: Afnan Bawyan
Producer: Saleem Homsi
Based on the true story of Khadija, a female photographer from Medina who opens a studio for women, the first in Saudi Arabia.
Director: Moe Alatawi
Writer: Moe Alatawi
Producer: Mohammad Alghamdi
Snam, a 23-year-old tobacco merchant, is ambushed by thieves in the desert, leaving him with only a dagger. He encounters a lone wolf on his desperate search for a way home.
Director: Abrar Abdulaziz
Writer: Bashayer Abdulaziz
Producer: Bakr Alduhaim
In 1938, at the port of Jeddah, three generations of women journey towards Mekkah, much to their Afghani family’s chagrin.
The Zarqa Girl
Director: Zaid Abu Hamdan
Writer: Zaid Abu Hamdan
Producer: Ahmad Abu Koush
In Zarqa, Jordan, an abandoned girl grows up to become the biggest and most feared thug in the city. Based on a true story.
Seeking Haven for Mr. Rambo
Director: Khaled Mansour
Writer: Mohamed El-Hosseiny
Producer: Rasha Hosny
30-year-old Hassan lives with his mother and Rambo, his dog and only friend, in an old and impoverished Cairo district. After a neighbor proposes a dogfight, Hassan must flee with his trusted companion.
The Sea Needs to Heave
Director: Zain Duraie
Writer: Zain Duraie
Producer: Alaa Alasad
Nadia has a special bond with her eldest son Basil, a 17-year-old genius. However, Nadia ignores the warning signs of a mental health problem when Basil begins to behave erratically.
The Day of Wrath: Tales from Tripoli
Director: Rania Rafei
Writer: Rania Rafei
Producer: Jinane Dagher
A hybrid-documentary recreating five uprisings from different periods in history. A portrait of Tripoli through its collective desire for change.
Director: Haya Alghanim
Writer: Haya Alghanim
Producer: Nadia Ahmad
After years of living abroad, Dima, the daughter of a diplomat, returns to Kuwait, where she has to adapt to her new surroundings and classmates in an all-girls school.
It’s a Sad and Beautiful World
Director: Cyril Aris
Writer: Cyril Aris
Producer: Georg Neubert
Lebanese couple Nino and Soraya seemed destined to live happily-ever-despite the harsh world around them. But things go awry after Soraya unexpected falls pregnant.