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.