The Red Sea International Film Festival, the Consulate general of France in Jeddah and Alliance française in KSA announce the two winners of the second edition of their short film competition designed to challenge and support aspiring Saudi and Saudi-resident filmmakers to produce new works. The 48Hr Film Challenge is a collaboration between The Alliance Française of Saudi Arabia, The Consulate General of France in Jeddah, VOX cinemas, and the Red Sea International Film Festival. The 48Hr Film Challenge supports up-and-coming filmmakers (18-25 years old) to write, shoot and produce a short film in just two days.
The challenge, which took place in June, received 103 applications and consisted of two days of mentorship, including a production workshop led by award-winning Saudi producer and director Aymen Khoja, a filmmaking workshop led by Tunisian filmmaker Mehdi Barsaoui, a cinematography workshop led by acclaimed Lebanese cinematographer Muriel Aboulrouss, and a scriptwriting workshop led by Greek screenwriter Stavros Raptis. This was followed by an intensive 48-hours where the selected teams wrote, shot, and edited their short film from scratch, working around a set theme and incorporating additional, ‘surprise’ elements set by the challenge organizers. The jury was chaired by award winning actor Dhafer L’Abdine as the Head of Jury; other jury members included renowned filmmaker and journalist Wael Abu Mansour and the French filmmaker Claude Mourieras, who founded the cinema school Cinefrabrique. A shortlist was created of 14 finalists, before the two winners were selected.
The Challenge winners
The first winner of the competition is Bright Frame, led by Khaled Zidan, who created the film ‘The Child in His Own Closet’ together with his teammates Abdulaziz Alissa and Khalid Basoudan. The second winner is Night Owls, led by Tala Alharbi, who produced ‘When Red Blooms’ together with Lujain Sallam, Nathali Sarraj, Raghdah Baharith and Madhawi Alyahya.
These winning films will be screened at an awards event hosted by VOX cinemas on September 29th and the teams will be presented 48Hr Film Challenge trophies designed by the artist Rabi Alakhras. The winning team leaders will go on to enjoy a tailored educational residency program with renowned French cinematographers during 2023, where they will benefit from sessions with professionals and experts from the film industry, designed to benefit the specific development requirements of the winners. The Consulate General of France in Jeddah and the Alliance Française of Saudi Arabia will thereby give the two winners the benefit of their privileged relations with a large selection of film-related companies, institutions, and associations.
Dhafer L’Abdine, president of the jury, commented “Competitions and programs like the 48Hr Film Challenge help us to seek out and uncover the untapped talent that is clearly prevalent in the Saudi film community and equip them with the knowledge and experience to create their own work. These excellent films, produced in a mere 48 hours, demonstrate what such fresh Saudi talent is capable of.”
Mohamed Al Hashemi, Country Head, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Majid Al Futtaim Leisure, Entertainment, Cinemas & Lifestyle, added: “Growing and nurturing a pipeline of talent is essential to building a sustainable film industry in the region, and initiatives such as the 48Hr Challenge provide much-needed support and critical professional development for local creatives to hone their craft. VOX Cinemas was proud to showcase the winning films on the big screen, which underscores our commitment to champion emerging talent and provide audiences with a window into the rich culture of the Arab world. Congratulations to all the participants and the overall winners, who represent the future generation of filmmakers.”
The 48Hr networking meetings
On the occasion of the second edition of the Challenge, the organizers wished to offer a bonus prize to the participants in the competition. On September 28 and 29, they will be welcomed during two days of networking meetings which will be held at the residence of the Consul General of France in Jeddah. These meetings will be run by up to ten Saudi and French experts and will include individual interviews, workshops, group projects and networking, for the benefit of these young Saudi and Saudi-resident filmmakers.