Red Sea: Families and Children, the programme strand designed to inspire younger viewers, today announced the selection of films that will be screened at the upcoming second edition of the Red Sea International Film Festival.
Red Sea: Families and Children celebrates the most exciting releases for young audiences, including the latest animated films and dramas with young lead characters. The specialised screening program is designed to introduce future generations to world cinema, celebrating an interconnected, globalised modern society through the powerful medium of shared storytelling. As well as these premiere screenings, the Festival will present a wide variety of activities and events, aimed at including younger festivalgoers.
Kaleem Aftab, Director of International Programming for the Red Sea International Film Festival, said, “Inclusivity is at the heart of the Red Sea International Film Festival, and making sure young people are included in the programme is our top priority. We believe it is important to introduce the next generation to world cinema, as these young people will be the future of filmmaking in Saudi Arabia. We want to show them stories and characters from around the world, using the power of film to inspire them to look beyond the boundaries of their worlds”.
The Festival’s Family Gala screening will be Puss in Boots: The Last Wish. The animated comedy adventure features Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek and Florence Pugh voicing the characters, and is directed by Joel Crawford. Families are invited to join Puss on an epic journey to find the mythical Last Wish, which will restore his nine lives.
The Festival will screen Academy Award-winning director Guillermo del Toro’s re-imagining of Pinocchio, the classic tale of a wooden boy and the life-giving power of love. The film, crafted by stop-motion legend Mark Gustafson, is a whimsical tour de force that finds Pinocchio on an enchanted adventure that transcends worlds.
Vietnamese director Ham Tran presents his second feature, Maika. His retro, humorous film, inspired by a Czech series popular in Vietnam in the 80s, tells the story of Hung, an eight-year-old science enthusiast who sees a star fall to Earth near his home one night. He gets on his bike and rushes to see the phenomenon. There, he meets Maika, an alien who has shape-shifted to look like a human girl. Hung is delighted to make a new friend with whom to have many adventures, but also helps Maika to get back home. Ham Tran’s first feature film, “Journey from the Fall”, premiered at Sundance Festival in 2006.
Young football fans will love the new film from Camiel Shouwenaar, a Dutch filmmaker specialising in youth productions and animations. Bigman is a film about two friends, Dylan and Youssef, who live, eat and breathe football. Every evening, they train at the park, coached by Dylan’s gruff father, Dennis.
Their hearts are set on winning a cup awarded by their hero, Dutch-Moroccan footballer Soufiane Touzani. But when Dylan is hit by a car and his spinal cord is damaged, the trauma and disappointment almost destroys his friendship with Youssef. Dylan is supported by a skater girl named Maya, while Touzani himself appears as a fantastical mentor, encouraging Dylan to find another way to pursue his dream.
The Festival will screen Michel Ocelot: The Black Pharaoh, The Savage, and The Princess, an animated adventure divided into three parts. In The Black Pharaoh, Sudanese nobleman Tanwekamani is prevented from marrying high-born Nasalsa by her mother, who insists that her daughter be betrothed to a Pharaoh. Tanwekamani sets off for Egypt to prove himself eligible for Nasalsa. The Savage is about a boy prince in Medieval France who is condemned to death by his own father after he releases a prisoner from the royal dungeon. The boy escapes his executioner and learns to live in the wild, becoming a semi-feral champion of the poor. Set in 18th-century Turkey, The Princess is about a penniless prince who has perfected the art of making doughnuts but is determined at all costs to meet the mysterious Rose Princess, who is hidden away in the royal palace.
The Red Sea International Film Festival will take place from 1st to 10th December 2022 in Jeddah.