The Red Sea International Film Festival announced that the inaugural edition will be held from March 12 - 21, 2020, in the old town of Jeddah, on the Saudi Arabian Red Sea coast.
Freshly released details by the Festival disclosed more information on its previously announced Red Sea Lodge script and feature lab, which will unfold under the banner of ’The New Arab Wave’ in its inaugural year.
The initiative is being created in collaboration with the TorinoFilmLab and will select 12 Arab projects for a five-month development program involving national and international film industry experts.
At least six of the projects will be from Saudi filmmakers. All the projects will be eligible for two $500,000 prizes as well as additional smaller development awards.
A call for projects for the first edition will open on July 1.
Festival organizers also released names of panelists and technical and administrative teams. They included high-profile directors responsible for eyebrow-raising productions.
Former Sundance Film Festival documentary programmer Hussain Currimbhoy as been named artistic director and Shivani Pandya Malhotra is managing director.
Pandya Malhotra managed the now-defunct Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) for 15 years.
They will work with filmmaker Mahmoud Sabbagh (Barakah Meets Barakah), who was appointed as festival director and CEO of the event in March.
Former DIFF staffer Antoine Khalife has joined the team as director of the Arab program, with Samaher Mously as director of marketing and communications and Ibrahim Modir as head of operations.
The festival has the mandate to support the development and promotion of Saudi filmmaking talent as well as a cinema from the Arab world and the wider ’Global South’.
The festival is supported by The Red Sea Film Festival Foundation, an independent, non-profit organization chaired by Saudi minister of culture Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan Al-Saud.