Skip to content

The Red Sea International Film Festival Announces, “New Saudi, New Cinema: Shorts” Programme

September 27, 2023

Since its foundation in 2018, the Red Sea Film Foundation has been committed to supporting Saudi filmmakers.

  • The films selected for the “New Saudi, New Cinema” screening at the 2023 Red Sea International Film Festival represent the best of Saudi Arabia’s new filmmaking talent.
  • The Red Sea Film Foundation’s initiatives, from the Festival to the Souk to the Fund to the Lodge, are designed to empower the next generation of Saudi and Arabic filmmaking talent.

Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, 25th September – In honor of the 93rd Saudi National Day, the Red Sea International Film Festival announced today the film selection for its “New Saudi, New Cinema: Shorts” programme.

The programme celebrates Saudi cinema of all genres, honoring how far the industry has come in the last five years. The films selected for the “New Saudi, New Cinema: Shorts” programme are a representation of Saudi Arabia’s inspiring talent, painting a bright future for the nation – a future that reflects the “We Dream, We Achieve” motto of the 93rd Saudi National Day. The Red Sea Film Foundation has already supported several Saudi filmmakers who have gone on to find international success; this screening programme will set up a new wave of talent for further success by giving them a wider platform.

The 19 films selected for screening at the Red Sea International Film Festival range from 44 minutes to 5 minutes in length and cover a range of subjects, from confronting extremism to managing social change to overcoming personal struggles. The films are all produced by Saudi teams, with Saudi nationals as the lead creatives, while most films also used the Kingdom as their production or shooting location.

Mohammed Al Turki, the CEO of the Red Sea Film Foundation, said, “This programme is reflective of our continued commitment to support Saudi filmmaking talent. We want to encourage the dreamers of today to become the filmmakers of tomorrow – the “New Saudi, New Cinema: Shorts” will empower those dreamers.”

Mohyee Qari, who heads up the “New Saudi, New Cinema” programme, added, “The Red Sea International Film Festival strives to be representative of Saudi cinema as it matures and gets stronger with every edition of the festival. We are committed to curating a diverse programme that tells stories from all regions of the Kingdom and are always inspired and impressed by the different stories, new voices, and original cinematography from young Saudi filmmakers.”

The selected short films are as follows:

“KHALED AL SHEIKH BETWEEN TWO FIRES, ART AND POLITICS”, directed by Jamal Koutaiby, is a documentary that explores the journey of Bahraini artist Khaled Al-Sheikh as he retreats from politics and explores his musical education.

“THE LAST WINTER”, directed by Hayder Dawood, is a heartfelt documentary that follows the director and his friend Mohsen as they grapple with homesickness in the harsh Nordic winter and reminisce about their homeland, Saudi Arabia.

“STREET 105”, directed by Abdulrahman Aljandal is inspired by the true story of two Saudi Policemen, Marwan and Nasser, battling the remnants of ISIS in Riyadh.

“DETOUR”, directed by Dhafer Alshehry, portrays the life of an employee posted in a remote office whose dreams are slowly eroded due to isolation.

“THE RIDE”, directed by Hania Bakhushwain, follows Aliyah, a single mother, and Uber driver, as she is faced with with societal expectations and personal responsibilities.

“FISHBOWL”, directed by Reema Almajed, is the story of Alia who confronts her inner fears as she embarks on her secret ambition of becoming a screenwriter.

“I’M FINE”, directed by Faisal Alzahrani, tells a magical tale of a mute boy, Khair, and his puppet friend Zaatar, exploring themes of loss and discovery.

“FIASCO RUN”, directed by Sultan Rabea, portrays Samer’s attempts to get some sleep after a night out, despite constant interruptions from his family.

“KUM-KUM”, directed by Dur Jamjoum, tracks the journey of Duna, a 17-year-old girl learning to manage her emotions during a beach getaway with friends.

“SALEEG”, directed by Afnan Bawyan, is a heartwarming tale of Mrs. Hajer turning a kitchen disaster into a special meal shared with her neighbors.

“THE MENACE FROM ABOVE”, directed by Mariam Khayat, is an underwater adventure of a cheerful fish on a mission to save their fellow sea creatures from a deadly monster.

“FISHY”, directed by Alabbas Hamidaddin, is a poignant story set in a war-torn region where two siblings strive to find happiness amidst chaos.

“ANTIDOTE”, directed by Hassan Saeed, follows Ali, a young folk music fan who gifts his favorite singer his last recording, after the singer loses his voice.

“THE OLD SCHOOL”, directed by Abdulla Alkhumais, explores Battal’s struggle to adapt to a modernized workplace after a long absence.

“ART BLOCK”, directed by Abdulrahman Batawie, is about Abood, a creative designer, facing the pressure of completing a time-bound project.

“THE LAST THREAD”, directed by Jwana Alzahrani, is a narrative of Hayat’s endeavor to overcome the limitations that restrict her creativity.

“SALEM’S LEGS”, directed by Talal Almusaad, is a story of two friends whose lives take an unexpected turn when they try something new.

“JAMEEL ALSAEED”, directed by Osama Khalifa, is an inspiring account of mute Jamil’s determination to secure a Happiness Specialist position at a prestigious corporation.

“HADI ALEIS”, directed by Abdullah Saharti, is a documentary about Al-Nyaq’s beauty, showcasing Saudi customs and traditions, bridging the past and present, and connecting Saudis historically, geographically, and emotionally.

Four films in the selection, “ART BLOCK”, “SALEM’S LEGS”,”JAMEEL ALSAEED” and “THE LAST THREAD” were made during the third edition of the 48 Hour Film Challenge, which was organised by the Red Sea Film Foundation in August 2023. The Challenge was designed to encourage new filmmakers to produce films in just 48 hours and was preceded by several workshops and mentoring sessions for the participating teams. “THE LAST THREAD” and “ART BLOCK” won the challenge, while “JAMIL ALSAEED” won the Audience Award and “SALEM’S LEGS” received special recognition from the jury.

Since its inception, the Red Sea Film Foundation has been committed to investing in and supporting Saudi talent, enabling and empowering the next generation of filmmakers while showcasing films from the region on an international platform alongside major blockbusters.