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The Red Sea International Film Foundation Celebrates Women In Cinema At The 77th Cannes Film Festival

May 18, 2024

The Red Sea International Film Foundation and Vanity Fair Europe celebrates Salma Abu Deif, Ramata-Toulaye Sy, Adhwa Fahad, Aseel Omran, Kiara Advani, and Sarocha Chankimha (aka Freen) at the Red Sea FF Women in Cinema Gala

The Red Sea International Film Foundation (Red Sea IFF) and Vanity Fair Europe are reuniting to host the Women in Cinema Gala, championing the achievements of rising female talent on both sides of the camera who are reshaping the film industry in Saudi Arabia, Africa, Asia and the Arab world.

During the event held alongside the 77th Cannes Film Festival at the remarkable Hotel du Cap-Eden- Roc in Cap d’Antibes, the Red Sea IFF and Vanity Fair Europe honoured six women who are fiercely redefining what is possible for future generations of female storytellers.

The Women in Cinema honourees this edition are; Salma Abu Deif, a versatile Egyptian actor who made her cinematic debut in 2017 with her role in Sheikh Jackson, a film that represented Egypt in the Best Foreign-Language Film category at the 2018 Academy Awards. Additionally, she played the leading role in a short film titled I Don’t Care If the World Collapses that participated at the 48th Cleveland International Film Festival.

Acclaimed screenwriter Ramata-Toulaye Sy debuted her talent on Sibel by Çagla Zencirci and Guillaume Giovanetti and then went on to write Notre-Dame du Nil by Atiq Rahimi which won the Generation 14Plus Crystal Bear Award at Berlinale. Her first feature, Banel & Adama – shot in the Fulani language – secured a place in the official competition at the Cannes Film Festival in 2023.

Saudi Arabian actor Adhwa Fahad has been prominently featured in the award-winning film “The Tambour of Retribution” recognized at the 42nd Cairo Film Festival. Her Netflix hit “From the Ashes” warmed hearts worldwide as well as “Within Sand” which was showcased at the prestigious Red Sea International Film Festival in 2022. She is also determined to make a meaningful impact on the blossoming Saudi film industry as a producer.

Aseel Omran, a celebrated actor and singer since 2007, has graced screens in TV shows like Netflix’s “Black Crows,” “Qabel Lil Kaser,” “Akoun Aw La,” and “What If?”. With over five years in musical theater, she is known for her captivating performances. Beyond entertainment, she is L’Oreal and Dior’s ambassador, and a UNHCR ambassador for humanitarian causes. A pioneer, she is the first Saudi actress in Egypt’s film industry. Aseel’s musical collaborations include “Don’t You Need Somebody” with RedOne, featuring global stars, and her Arabic rendition of Coca Cola’s “Colors” for the 2018 FIFA World Cup with Jason Derulo.

Kiara Advani is renowned as one of the brightest stars of Indian cinema. Notably, she has starred in seven global 100-crore blockbusters – and has a riveting lineup of projects on the horizon, including the highly anticipated Game Changer, War 2, and Don 3.

Sarocha Chankimha aka Freen is an acclaimed and popular Thai actor who made her breakthrough in the entertainment industry with popular roles in Thai television dramas and films, mostly notably Thailand’s romantic comedy series “Gap”.

In addition to the spotlight honourees, Jomana R. Alrashid; Chairwoman of the Red Sea International Film Foundation, Mohammed Al Turki; CEO of the Red Sea IFF and Shivani Pandya; Managing Director of the Red Sea IFF welcomed an array of film, TV, and fashion talent from around the world including Uma Thurman, Eva Langoria, Yusra, Richard Gere, Asmae El Moudir, Nathalie Emmanuel, Vincent Cassel, James Franco, Lucy Hale, Ikram Abdi, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Carla Bruni, Alexa Chung, Rossy de Palma, Amy Jackson, Lucas Bravo, Naomi Campbell and Michelle Rodriguez.

Jomana R. Alrashid; Chairwoman of the Red Sea International Film Foundation said: “At the Red Sea Film Foundation, Women in Cinema goes beyond just a one night celebration, it’s an initiative at the cornerstone of the foundation and our work – to support the underrepresented yet unparalleled female voices that propel our industry to new, undiscovered heights. Since the inception of the Foundation, we have supported over 79 films from female directors and have supported over 75 female filmmakers, creators, and executives through our Red Sea Labs programs. The future of women in cinema has never been brighter or more promising, and our honorees tonight represent the changing face of film and television.”

Mohammed Al Turki; CEO of the Red Sea IFF added: “The achievements of our six honourees are a testament to the drive and ambition of female storytellers everywhere. We want to highlight them as beacons of inspiration – future generations of filmmakers, actors, writers, and more will look to our honourees as role models who are changing the culture and accessibility of modern cinema. We have always supported trailblazers, with our former honouree Kaouther Ben Hania recently making history as the first Arab woman to secure two Academy Award nominations. We are excited to see where the careers of these six creators take them next!”

The fourth edition of the Red Sea International Film Festival will run in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia from December 5th-14th.

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