Driven by works from the Global South, including of Saudi Arabia, the Arab world, and beyond, the competition values cinematic forms that push traditions, recognizing the innovators of independent filmmaking.
The Yusr awards offer cash prizes in the fields of directing, screenwriting, acting, and other categories. These prizes are designed to elevate new voices and encourage Saudi and regional filmmaking culture.
Focused on original, daring productions by emerging and established voices, fiction, documentary, and animated films are welcome. A cash prize will be awarded by a jury of world-renowned filmmakers and film professionals.
NEW SAUDI/NEW CINEMA
A curated introduction to vital filmmakers and artists. Engaging audiences and makers with the energetic new wave of cinema, the showcase envisions a robust future for the national film industry. Diverse and dynamic, the program is a deep-dive with the voices shaping the scene, including feature-length documentaries and arthouse offerings, all primed for launch on to the international circuit.
OUT OF COMPETITION
Story-driven and audience-forward with a focus on craft and pace, this is the home for international filmmaking icons and established voices. A curated collection of premiere films, as well as those sourced from the festival circuit, Out of Competition features independent and studio productions. Audiences will encounter the trailblazers, the adventurers, the heroines – the characters who have lived a life less ordinary, inspiring us to do the same. Catch the next prize winner here.
RED SEA SHORTS COMPETITION
The pulse of next-generation Arab creativity is represented in a carefully curated selection of short films produced or directed by the most exciting contemporary voices, all vying for a prize juried by their peers. The selection foregrounds fresh takes on the genre and explores the limits of what short films can be. Diversity and innovation make this a region-leading competition, a place to discover something new and to connect with the creators. Open to student directors, first-time filmmakers, and artists of any discipline from the Arab world.
Freeform. No limits on duration. No borders. Yes to life. Tajreeb is dynamic, extroverted, and impressionistic. A punk program celebrating films that capture the zeitgeist and instigate change – these films could be viral moments that spark shifts and mark innovations. Designed for those who chase the restless and embrace the mercurial elements of film culture, Tajreeb is a hot-line to the best renegade creators. It doesn’t matter where the film has screened, where it lived before or how it came to find us – what matters is that rare vibe, the kind you have to see to feel … And once seen, it compelled the team to rewatch, share, and screen.
The makers who stand apart are welcome here – new directors, non-directors, and cinema agitators forging new paths anywhere in the world, online, in TV and film, or with video-art experiments.
Digital experiments will transform the urban environment and transport audiences like never before. Encounter site-specific installations at the vanguard of cinematic innovation, existing somewhere between film and contemporary art. Commissions by dynamic digital artists will embrace Jeddah Old Town in a wholly unique program shaped by new takes on narrative form and technology – including powerful sound installations, holographic experiences, and 2-channel experiments.
RETROSPECTIVES & CLASSICS
Framing the art of cinema in an exciting new context, this proud, spirited focus on the classics includes acclaimed titles from the Arab canon and a selection of unmissable gems. See the masterpieces that have inspired generations of directors – many screened for the first time in Saudi Arabia. Publications and special presentations will enhance knowledge and deepen conversation and connection around these seminal works.
BEST OF THE YEAR
An expansive roundup of the year’s international festival hits – audience winners and critics' favorites, screen alongside a focused selection of experiential and escapist cinema chosen by the Red Sea International Film Festival team. Explore this panorama of films, fresh from the international circuit and racing for awards. Discover a classic or find your next favorite – before they hit the cinemas.
Entrancing stories for younger audiences with a big appetite for film, featuring leading studios, networks, and filmmakers from around the globe, alongside works by break out directors and actors. These worlds are united in Generations and include a program of activities and events taking the fun beyond the cinema.