Film submissions open for Saudi Arabia’s inaugural Red Sea International Film Festival

The inaugural Red Sea International Festival is expected to attract talent not only from the Kingdom and the Middle East but around the world. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 18 September 2019

Film submissions open for Saudi Arabia’s inaugural Red Sea International Film Festival

  • Filmmakers have until Nov. 15 to submit their entries
  • Prizes totaling $250,000 (SR938,000) will be up for grabs in the Yusr Awards in sections including directing, screenwriting, and acting

JEDDAH: Lights, camera, action! Film submissions  opened on Tuesday for the inaugural Red Sea International Film Festival due to be staged in Saudi Arabia early next year.

The new event will offer big cash prizes to winners of the international competition running across a range of movie categories including feature-length, short and immersive works.

Filmmakers have until Nov. 15 to submit their entries for the festival which is expected to attract talent not only from the Kingdom and the Middle East but around the world.

Taking place in the ancient Jeddah Old Town in March 2020, the gathering will offer an international program celebrating innovative approaches to storytelling, judged by leading global cinema figures.

International films will be required to have Middle East premiere status, and Arab movies must be original works by emerging and established filmmakers, with special attention given to promoting films from the Global South (Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean).

Prizes totaling $250,000 (SR938,000) will be up for grabs in the Yusr Awards in sections including directing, screenwriting, and acting. The awards are designed to recognize daring, elevate new voices, and encourage film culture in Saudi and the region.

A special Golden Yusr award will be made for the best short production from the Arab world as part of a movie-shorts competition dedicated to Arab filmmakers.

A pioneering program exploring Saudi cinema titled “New Cinema/New Saudi” will introduce movie producers and artists from the Kingdom’s energetic new cinema wave.

The festival’s setting in the UNESCO-listed, ancient coral labyrinth of Jeddah Old Town will be transformed through immersive cinema experiences including augmented and virtual reality.

Entry details and conditions can be found at redseafilmfest.com/programme/film-submissions and are open via Eventival from Sept. 17 until Nov. 15, 2019.


Saudi Arabia’s AlUla provides a perfect ‘Corner of the Earth’ for Jamiroquai to shine

Updated 25 January 2020

Saudi Arabia’s AlUla provides a perfect ‘Corner of the Earth’ for Jamiroquai to shine

  • “I was transported into a completely different world”: Jay Kay

ALULA: British band Jamiroquai thrilled a delighted audience at Maraya Concert Hall in Saudi Arabia on Friday night during a show packed with hits.

In a first for a venue more used to hosting opera and classical concerts, the British funk/acid jazz outfit had fans dancing along to the music.

The show, at the distinctive, mirror-covered concert hall in historic AlUla, was part of the second Winter at Tantora festival. It opened with “Shake It On,” followed by the hit singles “Little L,” “Alright,” and “Space Cowboy.” By this time the crowd was well and truly warmed up, and “Use the Force” got them on their feet.

“The song seemed to resonate with everyone” Jay Kay told Arab News in an exclusive interview after the show.

During the gig, Kay dedicated the 2002 song “Corner of the Earth” to AlUla, which he described as a “magical and wonderful place, which is absolutely stunning.” The opportunity to perform there was “an honor and privilege” he added. He also thanked “Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman for his vision, and Prince Badr for making this happen and the great hospitality.”

After a further selection of singles and album tracks, the show ended on a high with a quartet of hits — “Cosmic Girl,” “Virtual Insanity,” “Canned Heat” and “Lovefoolosophy.”

Kay praised the Maraya Concert Hall as “a brilliant place to play.” He admitted that initially he was a little worried when he saw it because he was under the impression it would be an outdoor venue. However, any concerns he had were gone by the time the first sound check was done.

“I was transported into a completely different world; the acoustics were unbelievable, like being in a German concert hall,” he said. “It is obviously very well thought out and that’s what makes it so good. The sound was fabulous — I never looked at my sound guy once.”

Jamiroquai’s music videos often feature Kay in super cars, of which he owns many, and he revealed that he would love to shoot such a promo in AlUla.

“In reality, I’m desperate to get in one of the dune buggies, and would kill to have a (Ariel) Nomad and have a go in one in AlUla, where it’s supposed to be driven, for a day or five and dune bash, which is such a rare thing for us in England,” he said.

The singer also said he wants to bring his family to AlUla, which has become a hub for culture and creativity in Saudi Arabia.

“I would like to come out with my family and my youngest, who is called Talula, so hopefully we can have Talula come to AlUla, which would be wonderful,” said Kay.

He added that he was looking forward to exploring the area on Saturday, before leaving the country, but added: “I’m sure you can never have enough time to see everything there is to see.”