On its third day, the Red Sea International Film Festival unfolded a diverse array of activities and films, marking a vibrant celebration of the cinematic arts. The event featured captivating seminars and dialogues with internationally acclaimed artist Will Smith and renowned Indian filmmaker Karan Johar. The grand screen witnessed exclusive screenings at both regional and international levels, including the world premiere of the documentary “Khalid El Sheikh: Between the Thorns of Art and Politics.” Additionally, audiences experienced films making their debut in the Middle East and North Africa, such as the Saudi film “Naga,” previously showcased at the Toronto Film Festival, the Korean film “The Deal,” and the inaugural film from Uzbekistan, “Sunday.” Festival attendees also got the opportunity to watch the second installment of the beloved animated film “Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget,” making its debut screening in Saudi Arabia. Today’s In Conversations were with Will Smith.
The Red Sea Souk: Unveiling its Wonders on the Festival’s Third Day
The launch of the Red Sea Souk marked a pivotal moment, establishing itself as a vital meeting point for filmmakers and a platform that seamlessly connects emerging talents with local and international production and distribution companies. This bustling marketplace presents a comprehensive industry program, highlighted by The Red Sea 360° talks program—a series of three insightful seminars delving into the present reality and future trajectory of Arab, African, and Asian cinema. These seminars featured captivating titles, such as “The Author’s Journey: Navigating Film and Television Scripts and the Future of Storytelling,” bringing together a panel of experts and filmmakers.
Another notable session, “Redefining the Experience of Movie Theaters in the Post-Digital Era,” explored the future and destiny of cinemas in the region and globally. The discussion illuminated how contemporary cinematic technologies play a role in ensuring their sustainability. The third seminar welcomed a group of influential women who have left an indelible mark on the film industry, showcasing unconventional and compelling stories. This session delved into the myriad opportunities and challenges encountered by women working behind the scenes in cinema.
Additionally, the Souq played host to pioneering communication sessions, creating interactive spaces that fostered collaboration between film industry experts and emerging filmmakers. The primary goal was to nurture and empower their capabilities within the film industry.
Red Carpet Film Screenings with Saudi Attendance
On the third day of the Red Sea International Film Festival, the red carpet adorned the stars of the Saudi film “Naga,” making its debut in the Middle East and North Africa region. Among the luminaries were the Saudi director, Mishal Al-Jasser, and the Saudi actress, Adwa Bader. Welcoming them on the red carpet were Mohammed Al-Turki, the CEO of Red Sea Film Foundation, and Jumana Al-Rashid, the Chairwoman of the Red Sea International Film Foundation. The film follows Sarah, who embarks on a mysterious adventure after attending a date without her father’s knowledge, relying on her intelligence and perseverance to navigate through a series of peculiar situations.
Additionally, the upcoming documentary “Khalid El Sheikh: Between the Thorns of Art and Politics” had its global exclusive screening for the first time. The documentary chronicles the artist’s creative journey, starting from his university days to his years of fame and the challenges he faced.
The event was graced by the attendance of Khalid Al Sheikh himself, the talented Bahraini singer and musician, along with his family, who were welcomed at the Red Carpet by Jomana Al-Rashid, Chairwoman of the Red Sea Film Foundation, and Mohammed Al Turki, CEO of the Red Sea Film Foundation. The team of Thamanya, the Saudi Broadcast Media Production and Distribution company that produced the documentary, were also in attendance along with a constellation of Arab stars. The screening event featured an introduction from the festival’s Director of Arab Programs & Film Classics, Antoine Khalife, followed by a word from the documentary’s director Jamal Kutbi. At the end of the screening, a Q&A was led by the film’s co-producer, Maysam Almunaie, followed by a heart-felt musical performance by Khalid and his daughter Samawa. The film garnered a wide audience.
Exclusive Premieres from the Asian Continent
During the third day of the Red Sea International Film Festival, Korean cinema solidified its presence by exclusively presenting the film “The Deal” for the first time in the Middle East and North Africa. Directed by Lee Jung-Gon, the film takes the audience on a thrilling journey revolving around three old friends reuniting after a long separation. Moreover, the festival celebrated the exclusive premiere in the Middle East and North Africa of the Uzbek film “Sunday” directed by Shokir Kholikov. The film unfolds a delightful story from the heart of Central Asia about an elderly Uzbek couple, who cling to their traditional way of life, despite their son’s attempts to modernize their lifestyle.