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.


All-female Saudi tourist group explores wonders of Tabuk

Updated 21 October 2019

All-female Saudi tourist group explores wonders of Tabuk

  • About 20 women from different parts of the Kingdom took part in the sightseeing trip to the province bordering the Red Sea

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s first all-female tourist group has explored the environmental and archaeological wonders of Tabuk in the northwest of the Kingdom.

About 20 women from different parts of the Kingdom took part in the sightseeing trip to the province bordering the Red Sea.

“They were astonished to see such sights in their country, especially the area of Ras Al-Sheikh Humaid,” said Heba Al-Aidai, a tour guide in Tabuk who organized the trip.

“They did not expect to see such a place in Saudi Arabia. They looked speechless while standing close to the turquoise water of the sea. It is a truly breathtaking view.”

Al-Aidai and her colleague Nafla Al-Anazi promoted the trip on social media and attracted a group of homemakers, teachers and staff workers from all over the Kingdom, aged from 22 to over 50.

The tour was educational, too, and the women were told about the history of the places they visited. “They were taken to the Caves of Shuaib (Magha’er Shuaib), the place where Prophet Moses fled after leaving Egypt, and where he got married to one of the daughters of Prophet Shuaib, according to some historians. It was really a positive experience,” Al-Aidai said.

The visitors also explored Tayeb Ism, a small town in northwestern Tabuk, where there is a well-known gap in the towering mountains through which water runs throughout the year.

Al-Aidai said such trips aim to encourage tourism in Tabuk, and introduce Saudi tourists and other visitors to the landmarks of the region.