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Wednesday 8 December 2021 Time: 10:00 am – 12:00 pm

AGC’s MENA Partnerships: Desert Warrior and Beyond


Nick Vivarelli of Variety leads Stuart Ford of AGC Studios in a discussion about AGC’s extensive partnerships in the Arab region. Zeinab Abu Alsamh, General Manager of MBC Studios KSA, will join Ford to discuss MBC’s partnership with AGC on Desert Warrior, the biggest-budgeted English-language film to be shot in KSA to date. The discussion will extend to include AGC’s partnership with ImageNation on Al Kameen (The Ambush) as well as an entire slate of English and Arabic language films. Ford will elaborate on the attraction and the challenges of being a Hollywood partner in the region, as well as on his strategy bringing output to the Arab world.

Wednesday 8 December 2021 Time: 12:30pm-2:30 pm

Trends in Immersive Storytelling


Liz Rosenthal, curator of Red Sea Immersive and Venice International Film Festival’s Venice VR, will give an overview of how XR creators are using immersive technologies to approach a wide spectrum of genres and formats; from social impact, fiction, animation to multiplayer, location based and virtual storyworlds. This masterclass will outline the different routes to audiences and predict how the various formats will develop in the near future.

Thursday 9 December 2021 Time: 10am-12:00 pm

Sustainable Media Production


If there is a silver lining to the pandemic, it was how international quarantine offered irrefutable proof that climate change was caused by human activity. While we put our lives on pause, carbon emissions were reduced, and we got a glimpse of nature returning to an equilibrium with air pollution vanishing from some major cities and reports of marine life returning to clearer water in the Venice canals. Furthermore, we will come out of the pandemic knowing that we can all work together to make a difference, and with new networks in place that can be utilized to stop the climate crisis. Film and TV production generates a substantial carbon footprint, varying from 4 to 40 tons per produced hour, depending on genre and production method. As our industry continues to transform, we can’t lose this opportunity to positively restructure the production process. Join Bassam Alasad of Greener Screen and Jad Abi-Khalil of BeirutDC as they explain how they arrived at a MENA-specific sustainable production manual, as well as producer Georges Schoucair of Abbout Production’s on shooting Mounia Akl’s Costa Brava Lebanon as MENA’s first sustainable production, and how content producers must lead in this area.

Thursday 9 December 2021 Time: 12:30pm – 2:30 pm

Capacity Building in the Arab World


A heightened worldwide demand for content is increasing the need for content creators in many countries and regions around the world. This panel will introduce you to the top organizations–both worldwide and regional–dedicated to training emerging content creators in this area, and how their organizations address the specific challenges of the region. We will outline the opportunities available from each organization, as well as what they look for when evaluating applicants, and how best to take advantage of their respective programs. Time permitting, we will expand the discussion to the substantive impact of the pandemic on the entire field of education and learning, and any new evidence emerging or lessons learned from the broader field that may usher in new educational techniques.

Panelists: Jane Williams (TorinoFilmLab); Jad Abi-Khalil (BeirutDC); Hana Atallah (FilmLab:Palestine); Dominique Welinski (Cannes Directors Fortnight Factory); Diana Elbaum (EAVE) and Jana Yamani (MBC Academy).

Thursday 9 December 2021 Time: 3pm-5:00 pm

Working with MENA Partners 


Case Study: Kandahar and its Saudi partners

In the week leading up to the Red Sea International Film Festival, film director Ric Roman Waugh and actor Gerard Butler teamed up again in the AlUla region of Saudi Arabia and started shooting Kandahar, a big-budget production financed by Capstone and MBC. Join Nick Vivarelli of Variety as he leads producer Christian Mercuri, MBC’s Ali Jafaar and Film AlUla’s Stephen Strachan in a conversation about how the film came together and the partnership with KSA.


Friday 10 December 2021 Time: 10am-11:30am

Realities & Anticipations : Contemporary Palestinian Cinema


If cinema, as described by Jean Luc Godard, is not a reflection of reality, but rather the reality of this reflection, then for more than 50 years, Palestinian cinema has done just that. From a crack in the wall, the light of Palestinian cinema has refracted a narrative of struggle and resistance, of memories of a homeland and the resilience of its people. It has managed to bring world attention to the reality of its reflection, and sparked the collective imagination to what it means to be Palestinian – never colonized. It has awakened the passive viewer to the experiences of the oppressed everywhere.

Rashid Abdel Hamid of the Palestinian Film Institute (PFI) invites Hany Abu Assad, Annemarie Jacir, Rashid Masharawi and Cherien Dabis to discuss their influences and inspirations–both political and personal–that have played a significant role in contemporary Palestinian cinema.

Friday 10 December 2021 Time: 12:30pm – 2:30pm

Arab Distribution Panorama


This vivisection of the Arab distribution apparatus highlights entities from 3 disparate spheres within the distribution sector of the media industry. We will take a closer look at how they define success for themselves, what are their primary challenges in the post-pandemic industry, and finally, their prophecies for the future of Saudi Arabia’s burgeoning media industry. Toni El Massih, The Chief content officer at VOX Cinemas, will discuss the state of theatrical exhibition, and Tareq Al Ibrahim (Director of MBC1, MBC DRAMA, and Shahid Content) will talk about creating content across MBC’s television platforms as well as the Broadcaster’s approach to their streaming platform, Shahid. Additionally, Faisal Baltyuor of Cinewaves and Abdallah Al Shami, Managing Partner of Mad Solutions, will discuss their respective approaches to distributing specialized film.

Friday 10 December 2021 Time: 3:00pm-05:00pm

Editing the Creative Non-Fiction Film


A Doc Edit Masterclass by Andrea Chignoli

Chile’s most prolific fiction and nonfiction film editor leads a masterclass on editing the creative documentary. Chignoli will cover such topics as how best to view and organize rushes, finding the narrative within hours of footage, and editing devices and techniques used to help shape and enhance the narrative.

Andrea Chignoli has worked as a film editor since 1995. Her filmography includes the award-winning films The Desert Bride (2017 Cannes Un Certain Regard); The Family (2017 Cannes Critics Week); NO (Pablo Larrain’s nominee for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2012 Academy Awards); Violeta Went to Heaven (2012 World Competition Jury Award Sundance Festival) and Circumstance (2011 US Competition Audience Award Sundance Festival). Andrea holds an MFA in Film from Columbia University, New York. She was a 2002-2003 Fulbright Scholar, and mentor of the 2017, 2018 and 2019 Sundance Documentary Edit and Story Labs. She has also been an active member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science (AMPAS) since 2018.

Saturday 11 December 2021 Time: 10am-12:00 pm

From Script to Screen : A Netflix Guide to Deal Making


A Workshop with Izzy Abidi, Moderated by Sadeem Al Goblan


Do you feel discouraged when pursuing a creative idea in your head because of the confusing nature of navigating a content deal? This workshop simplifies the production business and legal principles needed to get an idea from script, to shoot, to screen. Whether you are an upcoming writer, a seasoned producer, a director or someone established in social media wanting to step into the production world–this session will help build your business skill set to negotiate in the production industry, which can be just as important as the creative idea itself.


The leading MENA production dealmaker at Netflix, Ismat Abidi, will take the stage to discuss how to celebrate your storytelling on a global scale. You will leave this workshop with a better understanding of the basic principles required for a successful deal negotiation with a global studio or platform. The workshop will be moderated by Sadeem Al Goblan, part of Al Tamimi’s KSA-based team, focusing on media, data and digital law, whose clients include major media platforms across MENA.

Saturday 11 December 2021 Time: 12:30-2:30pm

A Netflix Guide to Post production


A Masterclass Presented by Karim Boutros Ghali

Post-production is the final step in taking a story from script to screen–a combination of images and sound that fuels a story, immerses an audience, and drives emotions. Whether that’s building suspense in a horror film, setting up tension in a comedy, or creating exhilarating sequences in an action film, the post-production magic is undeniable. 

A duo of leading post-production experts from Netflix, Karim Boutros Ghali and Frank Piazza, have tailored their masterclass especially for the Red Sea International Film Festival, and will be in Jeddah to discuss budgeting and building the perfect post-production crew for your project. This is in addition to taking a closer look at some of the common pitfalls of post-production and how to avoid them. Along the way, we will look at some of the exciting work Netflix has been producing in the MENA region.