Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Film Festival reveals lineup

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The festival will also celebrate the work of great Arabic directors who made great contributions to the Arab cinema. (AN photo)
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Shine Your Eyes directed by Matias Mariani
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Aznavour by Charles directed by Marc di Domenico
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Made in Bangladesh directed by Rubaiyat Hossain,
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Better Days directed by Derek Tsang
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Beirut, la vie en rose directed by Èric Motjer
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The Assistant directed by Kitty Green
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Verdict directed by Raymund Ribay Gutierrez
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Updated 19 February 2020

Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Film Festival reveals lineup

  • Spike Lee, Abel Ferrara presenting sessions during nine-day event

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s first major international film festival revealed its lineup on Monday in Jeddah.
The Red Sea Film Festival will run from March 12 to 21 and will screen 107 features and short films, including a lineup of 16 films in-competition, seven non-competition films, 11 Saudi features, and 13 short films for the shorts competition, 23 films for best of year category, and 17 experimental films for the Tajreeb category, which is based on local narratives of Saudis and non-Saudis living in the Kingdom.
It will be held in Jeddah’s Al-Balad district, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The first seven days will be dedicated to the festival, while the last two days will screen the winning titles across Al-Balad’s Buhairat Al-Arbaeen, a site that has been constructed specifically for the festival to include the 1,200-seat Coral Theater, four smaller theaters, a workshop space and a cinema.
The festival’s noncompetition category will feature films like “Malcolm X” by Spike Lee, who will be giving a master class.
The festival will also celebrate the work of great Arabic directors such as Khairy Beshara, Youssef Chahine and the late photographer and cinematographer Safouh Naamani, who was one of the pioneers of color photography in the Kingdom.


• The Red Sea Film Festival runs from March 12 to 21.

• It will screen 107 features and short films.

• It will be held in Jeddah’s Al-Balad district, a Unesco World Heritage site.

“We worked hard to ensure that the films being presented showcase Saudi Arabia's emerging film industry, and encourage a more open cultural exchange. This isn't just about exporting our stories; we are bringing different perspectives, new conversations into Saudi Arabia too,” Mahmoud Sabbagh, the festival director, said.
The festival will also feature an art exhibition with original doodles and artwork by director Federico Fellini, titled “When Fellini Dreamt of Picasso,” which was inspired by the Spanish artist.
Festival tickets go on sale on Feb. 23 at a price range lower than commercial cinemas.
“We want to engage with a large number of audiences and have it be accessible to all social classes,” Sabbagh said.
The opening night will be on a par with Cannes and Berlin, featuring a red carpet, gala and two screenings with the premiere of Saudi film “Shams Al-Maaref” (The Book of Sun), directed by Faris Godus.

It was Russia, not Saudi Arabia, that pulled out of OPEC+ deal: Saudi ministers

Updated 04 April 2020

It was Russia, not Saudi Arabia, that pulled out of OPEC+ deal: Saudi ministers

  • Saudi foreign and energy ministers say Moscow's claim that Kingdom withdrew from the OPEC+ deal was unfounded
  • They said it was Russia that abandoned the agreement, leading to a collapse in world oil prices

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia's foreign and energy ministers on Saturday denied Russia's claim that the Kingdom abandoned the OPEC+ deal, leading to a collapse in world oil prices.

In a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said "a statement attributed to one of the media of President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation claimed that one of the reasons for the decline in oil prices was the Kingdom's withdrawal from the deal of OPEC + and that the Kingdom was planning to get rid of shale oil producers."

"The minister affirmed that what was mentioned is fully devoid of truth and that the withdrawal of the Kingdom from the agreement is not correct," the statement said.

In fact Saudi Arabia and 22 other countries tried to persuade Russia to make further cuts and extend the deal, but Russia did not agree, it said.

Prince Farhan expressed surprise that Russia had to resort to "falsifying facts" when Saudi Arabia's stance on shale oil production is known, the statement said.

He pointed out that Saudi Arabia is one of the main investors in the energy sector in United States, implying that there is no reason for the Kingdom "to get rid of shale oil producers" as Russia has claimed.

He further said the Kingdom "is also seeking to reach more cuts and achieve oil market equilibrium for the interest of shale oil producers."

OPEC+ refers to the cooperation between members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and non-OPEC oil producers. The cooperation deal which called for cuts in production by the producers was meant to stabilize oil prices. 

In a separate statement, Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman rejected Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak’s similar claim that the Kingdom refused to extend the OPEC+ deal and withdrew from it.

Novak "was the first to declare to the media that all the participating countries are absolved of their commitments starting from the first of April," Prince Abdulaziz said in a statement.

He said Novak's statement led other countries to decide "to raise their production to offset the lower prices and compensate for their loss of returns." 

On Thursday, Saudi Arabia called for an urgent meeting of oil exporters after US President Donald Trump said he expected the Kingdom and Russia to cut production by 10-15 million barrels per day.

Prince Farhan said he was "hoping that Russia would take the right decisions in the urgent meeting" so that a "fair agreement that restores the desired balance of oil markets" could be achieved.

The global oil market has crashed, with prices falling to $34 a barrel from $65 at the beginning of the year, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Fuel demand has dropped by roughly a third, or 30 million barrels per day, as billions of people worldwide restrict their movements.

A global deal to reduce production by as much as 10 million to 15 million barrels per day would require participation from nations that do not exert state control over output, including the United States, now the world’s largest producer of crude.

A meeting of OPEC and allies such as Russia has been scheduled for April 6, but details were thin on the exact distribution of production cuts. No time has yet been set for the meeting, OPEC sources said.