RED SEA LODGE 2019-2020
An international committee chose the winning teams out of 120 submissions, drawn from 16 countries. Female directors helm 5 out of the 12 successful projects, and 5 of the projects have female producers attached. The selection includes six Saudi teams alongside projects from Jordan, Egypt, Palestine, Iraq, and Lebanon, demonstrating a commitment to furthering new work from the Arab world.
The committee comprised of industry veterans, including: Mahmoud Sabbagh (Festival Director, Red Sea International Film Festival), Julie Bergeron (Head of the Red Sea Souk), Antoine Khalife (Director of the Arab Program, Red Sea International Film Festival), Jane Williams (Head of Industry, TorinoFilmLab), and Savina Neirotti (Executive Director, TorinoFilmLab).
They were supported by a team of readers, including Fahad Alestaa (Saudi Scriptwriter and Film Critic), and leading media figure Layaly Badr (Arab Radio & TV Network). Saudi producer Jumana Zahid leads the Festival’s development program, as Manager of the Red Sea Lodge. Through unique storytelling styles, the Saudi projects deal with significant socio-political and economic underpinnings, including the discovery of oil and the siege of the Holy Mosque in 1979. The projects also explore the position of women and modern-day challenges to mental health, such as loneliness and isolation.
Inchalla it’s a Boy (Jordan)
Grieving the sudden death of her husband, Nawal must confront the realities of inheritance laws which rule that, without a son, she stands to lose the home she bought for herself and her daughter.
Directed by: Amjad Alrasheed
Written by: Amjad Alrasheed
Produced by: Aseel Abu Ayyash and Rula Nasser
A Journey of Bullets and Bread (Egypt)
Which is more harmful? Bandits cutting us off road to steal our money or those who live among us cutting off the road our humanity
Directed by: Mohammad Hammad
Written by: Mohammad Hammad
Produced by: Kholoud Saad and Mohammed Hefzi
Scheherazade Goes Silent (Palestine)
On the 1000 night Shams is violated. Her dream of playing Sheherazad becomes a nightmare she must wake up from before it breaks her
Directed by: Amira Diab
Written by: Amira Diab
Produced by: Raya Aburub
The Wind Also Sings
A talented musician’s selfishness endangers everyone he holds dear in a town where music is banned
Directed by: Hadi Ghandour
Written by: Hadi Ghandour
Produced by: Habib Attia and Molka Mheni
I Am Arzé (Lebanon)
To find her stolen scooter, a woman must outsmart Beirut’s religious diversity.
Directed by: Mira Shaib
Written by: Louay Khraish
Produced by: Zeina Badran
The Arabic Interpreter (Iraq)
Hassan feels that his paradise in Berlin is threatened when a terrorist from his past reappears.
Directed by: Ali Kareem
Written by: Ali Kareem
Produced by: Khalid Abu Sharif
It is said: “Behind every great man is a woman.” But what happens if there are several women?
Directed by: Malak Qouta
Written by: Malak Qouta
Produced by: Bentley Brown
A daughter moves in to save her father from his delusions not knowing that she’s the one who needs saving
Directed by: Fatima Albanawi
Written by: Fatima Albanawi
Produced by: Abdulrahman Khawj
Four Acts of Disruption
In his constant struggle to survive, Ayed gets caught up in the search for oil forcing him to leave his Bedouin family behind.
Directed by: Hussam Alhulwah
Written by: Hussam Alhulwah
Produced by: Mohammed Alhamoud
When the Star Goes Down
In return for her tears, a Saudi woman goes back in time and space with an angel to change her fate.
Directed by: Mohammed Salman Alsaffar
Written by: Mohammed Salman Alsaffar
Produced by: Mousa Althonian
Hejj to Disney
To win back her lover, a hopelessly romantic Saudi woman flies from Makkah to Florida, only to discover he is not her prince.
Directed by: Maha Alsaati
Written by: Aziz Twaijri
Produced by: Chelsie Diaz
As Haila's eyes are open to cinema and the world around her, after her marriage, the society closes down
Directed by: Hend Alfahhad
Written by: Hana Alomair
Produced by: Talal Ayeel
Red Sea Lodge Winning Projects
The Red Sea Lodge Production Grant for a Saudi Project was awarded to Sharshaf by Hind Alfahhad, written by Hana Alomair and produced by Talal Ayel. The jury said they were enamoured by the “Touching and strong female character, and the bonds in a relationship that can bring us together and tear us apart.” They were also intrigued that it was set in “A period of Saudi Arabia’s history the world knows so little about, unveiled to us by Hind Alfahhad.”
Hind Alfahhad’s Sharshaf is set in 1978. Haila, the daughter of a conservative Imam, marries Mosa’ed, the son of a rich and well-known fabric stores owner. The young couple spend their honeymoon in Cairo. Sharshaf is a romantic drama that follows Haila as she gets to know what she wants through the magic of cinema and how this discovery is challenged later as extremism invades the society.
The Red Sea Lodge Award for an Arab Project was awarded to Bullets & Bread by Mohammad Hammad, produced by Kholoud Saad and Mohamed Hefzy. Mohammed Hammad’s Bullets & Bread is based on the story of the writer Tamer Abdrab Elnaby. About paths were not meant to cross and a true friendship that grows out of it.
The jury enjoyed the dynamic at the film’s heart which they described as “Soldier and Gypsy; Laurel and Hardy; Friendship and Adversity. We can’t wait to be part of this road trip, this cinematic voyage.”
The Jury also gave a special mention to the Saudi Project Four Acts of Disruption directed by Hussam AlHulwah and produced by Mohammad Alhamoud, which will be awarded $25,000 by the Red Sea Lodge for further development. The story is set in the 1930s while the newly formed Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is adjusting to the arrival of American oil prospectors. The jury gave special recognition to the project and stated “The film has huge potential and we hope that Hussam AlHulwah and Mohammad Alhamoud can continue to develop the project and bring it to fruition.”