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The 2023 Red Sea Souk Projects And Industry Programme Announced By The Red Sea International Film Festival

November 8, 2023

The Red Sea International Film Festival (Red Sea IFF) has revealed full details of the projects selected as part of this year’s Red Sea Souk Market which will run from 2-5 December, highlighting the diverse range of talent representing the MENA region’s bold new cinematic output. A part of the Souk will be the 360° industry events program and Networking Session which will encourage international delegates to share experiences and insights during exclusive forums. The Souk will finish with Talent Days from 6-7 December giving new regional talent and short filmmakers a chance to connect with industry experts. 

Shivani Pandya Malhotra, Managing Director, said: “We are excited to host the Red Sea Souk as part of the Red Sea IFF for a third year and to showcase some of the most innovative, inspiring new talent from the Arab and African region. The Red Sea Souk’s marketplace offers a vital and pivotal platform dedicated to the introduction of new stories to the prospect of international audiences. The Souk continues to support international connections between the key players and talents in the region as well as developing opportunities for those at the start of their careers. With the addition of financial and in-kind awards from our generous partners, the future of filmmaking creativity will be further bolstered. 

The Red Sea Souk Project Market will present 26 feature length projects from across the Arab and African region, offering a first opportunity for the industry audience to connect and build future opportunities with these projects. 

Within the Market selection are twelve Red Sea Lodge projects which were developed during the year through intensive workshops and in partnership with the Torino Film Lab. Four of these projects will be awarded the annual Red Sea Lodge production prizes of $50,000 each.  

14 projects in the Souk Project Market will compete for cash prizes to be awarded by an international jury of producers: $35,000 for development, $25,000 for the Jury Special Mention Award and $100,000 for production.  

To complement this, the Work-in-Progress Showcase will take six films by exceptional independent filmmakers, all at the stage of post-production, and present them to distributors, producers, buyers, financiers and festival programmers, for future collaborations and to bring these films to audiences. All selected films in the Work-in-Progress Showcase will compete for the Red Sea Souk Post-Production Award of $30,000 and the Special Jury Mention of $10.000. 

All the listed cash awards are offered by the Red Sea Fund

Participating projects are also eligible for additional awards funded by the Red Sea Souk sponsors and partners.  

The Red Sea 360° industry events programme will bring together international film professionals and invite them to connect with Souk audiences through a series of workshops, panels and sessions. The Red Sea 360° creates a vibrant platform that will offer up to 15 inspiring conversations with unparalleled insights to the present and future of the Arab, African and Asian film industries, including their far-reaching impact on the global entertainment landscape.  

The over-arching program will bring together some of the most influential and thought-provoking voices from the regional and international industry.  

Speakers will include:  

  • Karim Zreik (Entertainment Industry Veteran – USA) 
  • Tima Al Shomali (Writer, Director – Jordan) 
  • Woo-Sik Seo (Producer at Barunson C&C – South Korea) 
  • Malek Nejer (Animation Director at Myrkott- KSA) 
  • Diego Ramírez Schrempp (Producer at Dynamo – Colombia), with more contributors to be confirmed.  

Three accompanying Networking Sessions will introduce festival attendees and filmmakers to a large roster of professionals through a series of structured, informal speed-meeting sessions. Regional and international key players will offer guidance and support, catering to filmmakers’ career development. 

Talent Days is a series of workshops connecting new Saudi and international talent to global industry professionals. Valuable insights and perspectives will be shared, while new connections may be established to drive the next generation of the filmmakers. Notable figures from prestigious institutions will attend, including the Tribeca Film Festival, Amman Film Industry Days, La Biennale di Venezia, Netflix, Neom, Red Sea Fund and the Doha Film Institute. This confluence of industry experts encompasses a strong mentoring component at its core. 

Access to 360°, Networking Sessions and Talent Days are open to all Red Sea International Film Festival badge holders. 

Accreditation for Red Sea Souk 2023 is open at: 


Wael Abumansour – Producer/Director, Telfaz 11, Saudi Arabia 

Carnival City (2020) by Wael Abumansour – selected for 1st edition of Red Sea IFF  

Night Courier by Ali Kalthami (2023) Selected at 3rd edition of Red Sea IFF and presented at the Red Sea Souk Project Market in 2021 

Jean Bréhat – Producer, Tessalit Productions, France 

Produced 45 films with 11 official entries for the Academy Awards and 4 nominations; 12 awards at Cannes Film Festival, 2 Grand Prizes, 1 Berlinale Silver Bear including: 

France (2021) by Bruno Dumont (Cannes) 

Joan of Arc (2019) by Bruno Dumont (Un Certain Regard Special Mention Cannes) 

Belleville Cop (2018) by Rachid Bouchareb 

Lamia Chraibi – Producer, La Prod, Morocco 

Mica (2020) by Ismael Ferroukhi (Festival du Film Francophone Angouleme 2020) 

Achoura (2018) by Talal Selhami’s (Best Film Award at Hardline Festival and Jury Special Mention Sitges Fantastic Film Festival) 

Las Mimosas (2016) by Oliver Laxe (Grand Prize, Cannes Film Festival’s Critics’ Week) 

Oumar Sall – Producer, Cinekap, Senegal 

Atlantique (2019) by Mati Diop (Jury Prize Cannes Film Festival, shortlisted for Academy Awards 2020).  

Félicité (2017) by Alain Gomis (Jury Prize La Berlinale 2017, Second Golden Stallion at FESPACO 2017, shortlisted for Academy Awards 2018) 

Tey (2013) by Alain Gomis (first Golden Stallion of Senegal FESPACO 2013) 

Jasmila Žbanić – Producer/Director, Deblokada, Bosnia 

Grbavica (2006) by Jasmila Žbanić (Golden Bear on Berlinale 2006, Best film at American Film Institute (AFI) 

Quo Vadis, Aida? (2020) by Jasmila Žbanić (Venice Film Festival, Independent Spirit Awards – Best International Film; European Film Academy Award – Best film, director and main actress – Academy Award nominee in 2021 


Gaia Fürrer – Artistic Director, Italy. 

Since 2003 Head of Programming at the Noir in Festival. Programmer and Head of Programming since the very first edition, in 2020 she was appointed as the new Artistic Director of Giornate degli Autori (Venice Days) 

Wanuri Kahiu – Filmmaker/Speaker/Science fiction writer, Kenya 

Washington Black (2022 – Hulu/20th Century Fox) Adaptation of the book by Esi Edugyan. 

Look Both Ways (2022 – Netflix) 

Rafiki (2018) – first Kenyan film to be invited to Cannes Film Festival and has since won multiple awards across the world 

Haider Rashid – Writer/Director/Producer, Iraq/Italy 

Europa (2020) by Haider Rashid (Independent Critics Prize – Director’s Fortnight Best Director and Best Actor Red Sea IFF) 

Street Opera (2015) 

It’s About to Rain (2013) 


The Red Sea Souk Project Market  

A CHILDHOOD, by Scandar Copti  

Hybrid Creative Documentary-Animation 

Palestine, France 

DJELIYA, MEMORY OF MANDING, by Boubacar Sangaré  

Creative Documentary 

Burkina Faso 

LOVE CONQUERS ALL, by Danielle Arbid                   

Lebanon, France 

MADNESS AND HONEY DAYS, by Ahmed Yassin Al-Daradji  

Iraq, Canada 

MIRACLE IN CELL NO.7, by Dina Amer 

Lebanon, UAE 


Syria, Germany, Italy 

SADNESS, by Emmanuela Lalanga  

1st feature 

Central African Republic, France, Republic of Congo 

SELFLESS, by Meriem Mesraoua  

1st feature 

Algeria, France, Qatar 

TANZANITE, by Kantarama Gahigiri                           

1st feature 

Rwanda, South Africa, Kenya, Switzerland 


Egypt, Tunisia, France 

THE STRANGER, by Gaya Jiji             

Syria, France 

THE TREASURE, by Abdellah Taïa 


THREE DAYS 1/3, by Rakan Mayasi   

1st feature 

Palestine, Lebanon, USA, Belgium 


1st feature 


The Red Sea Lodge Projects 

AN ENDLESS NIGHT, by Mohamed Kassaby 

1st feature 


BLACK SNAKE, by Naishe Nyamubaya  

1st feature 


BY HASNAA’S SIDE, by Amaal Youssif 

1st feature 

Saudi Arabia 

FANTASTIC TALE, by Vincho Nchogu  

1st feature 


IN THE BEGINNING, IT IS THE END by Ghadeer Binabbas 

Saudi Arabia 

MECCA, BERLIN, by Mujtaba Saeed & Ghiath Al Mhitawi 

1st feature 

Saudi Arabia/ UAE/Germany 

MY FATHER KILLED BOURGUIBA, by Fatma Riahi & Louai Haffar 

2nd feature Documentary 


TEMPORARY LIVES, by Wessam Hachicho 

1st feature 



1st feature 


THE MIDDLE ONE, by Sarah Almuneef 

1st feature 

Saudi Arabia/France 

THE NIGHT WHISPERER, by Lina Mahmoud  

1st feature 

Saudi Arabia 


2nd feature  


The Red Sea Souk Work-In-Progress Showcase 

ANIMALE, by Emma Benestan  

Algeria, France, Belgium 

MEN IN THE SUN, by Mahdi Fleifel  

Palestine, UK, Greece, The Netherlands, France, Germany 

MY SEMBA, by Hugo Salvaterra  

1st Feature 


RED PATH, by Lotfi Achour 

Tunisia, France, Belgium, Poland 

RISING UP AT NIGHT, by Nelson Makengo   

1st Feature, Creative Documentary 

Democratic Republic of the Congo, Belgium, Germany, Burkina Faso 

YUNAN, by Ameer Fakher Eldin   

Palestine, Germany, Canada, Italy, Jordan