Skip to content

The Red Sea International Film Festival Celebrates Women’s Stories At The 76th Cannes Film Festival

May 20, 2023

In celebration of female voices in film, the Red Sea International Film Festival (RedSeaIFF) and Vanity Fair Europe hosted the Women’s Stories Gala event this evening, shining a light on the achievements of women both on and behind the camera who are helping shape the film industry and inspire a new generation of talent in Saudi Arabia, Africa, and India.


During the event held alongside the 76th Cannes Film Festival at the spectacular Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc in Cap d’Antibes, the RedSeaIFF and Vanity Fair Europe honoured six women making significant strides, breaking down barriers and paving the way for future generations. 


They include; Fatima AlBanawi – Saudi actor, director and writer who received international acclaim for her leading role in Barakah Meets Barakah (2016) and broke cinema records with her latest AlHamour (2023). She has played an array of roles ranging from the road-trip thriller Route 10, family drama Champions, Egyptian psychological thriller 60 Minutes, Egyptian horror Paranormal, and Saudi’s Covid inspired mini-series Al-Shak, which she co-wrote and directed. This year marks her directorial debut; this time with her screenplay Basma that received great acclaim in stages of development.


Sara Ali Khan is emerging as one the most popular talents in Bollywood today, since her debut with Kedarnath in 2018 and memorable performances in Simmba, Love Aaj Kal and Atrangi Re. She recently wrapped on her upcoming film Murder Mubarak in Delhi.


Acclaimed Saudi actor Mila Al Zahrani who was cast in the lead of Haifaa Al-Mansour’s Perfect Candidate and will soon be seen alongside Jeremy Irons in Darren Lynn Bousman’s upcoming horror Cello which was shot in the Kingdom. Her career so far has spanned 16 TV series and 4 films.


Egyptian supermodel and actor Tara Emad is the first Arab model to appear as the face of Chanel, and most recently starred in the Arabic adaptation of US drama “Suits” – starring as the character played by Meghan Markle in the original version. She is also an activist and philanthropist, starting a podcast and educational platform called “Bullying Explained” which aims to provide insight and coping skills to listeners. 


British-Lebanese actor Razane Jammal is the star of Netflix’s first Arabic original series Paranormal; she joined the DC Universe in Netflix’s The Sandman and Marwan Hamed’s star-studded film, Kira & El Gin the highest-grossing film in the history of Egyptian cinema. Razane is currently starring in MBC1 and Shahid’s hit show, Al Thaman.



Jáde Osiberu is an award-winning Nigerian filmmaker, screenwriter, director, and producer (Isoken, Sugar Rush, Brotherhood). She is the founder and CEO of Greoh Studios and most recently directed, produced and co-wrote the gritty crime thriller, Gangs of Lagos, the first Nigerian original film set to stream exclusively on Amazon. 


In addition, the six women have been interviewed as part of the Women’s Stories – a Vanity Fair Italia podcast in collaboration with Red Sea International Film Festival. The podcast is available to listen to here.


Jomana Alrashid; Chairwoman of the Red Sea Foundation and Mohammed Al Turki; CEO of the RedSeaIFF welcomed an array of film, TV, and fashion talent from around the world including: Kaouther Ben Hania, Naomi Campbell, Catherine Deneuve, Gurinder Chadha, Katie Holmes, Eva Herzigova, Hend Sabry, Fan BingBing, Alessandra Ambrosio, Naomie Harris, Rossy de Palma, Storm Reid, Maïwenn, Gaspard Noe, Ed Westwick, Sara Sampaio, Malika Ayane, Raya Abirached and Lucas Bravo.


Jomana Alrashid; Chairwoman of the Red Sea Foundation said: “Although women are still underrepresented within the global film industry, it’s encouraging to see a record number of films directed by female filmmakers in the Official Competition in Cannes – and in fact that two of the six, Ramata Toulaye-Sy and Kaouther Ben Hania, are Red Sea supported. Women are crucial contributors to cinema, and through the Red Sea Foundation we will continue to support and champion their voices which will help the industry thrive and evolve.”  


Mohammed Al Turki; CEO of the RedSeaIFF added: “I’m in awe of the women we are honouring this evening, they are at the forefront of cultural change and evolving the face of modern cinema. Our aim through our film funding and support programmes is to help elevate the number of women behind the camera, bringing strong female-driven stories to the big screen. Testament to this goal is our involvement in Maïwenn’s sumptuous drama Jeanne du Barry – which opened this edition of the festival.”


The third edition of the Red Sea International Film Festival will run in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia from November 30 – 9 December 2023.