CANNES: The Red Sea Film Festival has announced that it will receive an additional $4 million for its Red Sea Fund from the Saudi Film Commission in order to support the creation of 40 new films from Saudi and Arab filmmakers.
The Red Sea Film Festival Foundation established the Red Sea Fund, now totaling $14 million, in early 2021 to produce 100 feature films and short projects as well as episodics with directors from the Arab World and Africa. The new funding, announced over the weekend at the Saudi Pavilion at the 74th edition of the Cannes Film Festival, will help empower a larger pool of filmmakers.
The fund will also be used to restore up to 10 classic films from the Arab region.
Three committees of industry professionals have been selected for each section of funding. Dora Bouchoucha, producer and founder of Nomadis Images and director of the Manarat Film Festival in Tunisia, will preside over the committee that will award development funding and will be joined by Viola Shafik, filmmaker and curator, Lamia Chraibi, producer and founder of La Prod, director and producer Amjad Abu Alala, and Ayman Jamal, founder and producer of Barajoun Entertainment.
Gianluca Chakra, distributor and founder of Front Row Filmed Entertainment will preside over the committee that will select projects for production funding, alongside producer Karim Aitouna, founder of Haut Les Main Productions, Faisal Baltuyoor, director, producer, and founder of Cinewaves Films, Ahmed Shawky, Middle East Head of Development of Viu and Deana A. Nassar-Fernandez, Program Director for the Middle East Media Initiative.
The committees for the awarding funds for post-production will be headed by Edouard Waintrop, Artistic Director of the Red Sea International Film Festival, along with producer and film commissioner Georges David, Habib Attia, Producer and Managing Director of Cinetele Films, Chadi Abo, director, producer and founder of HECAT Studio and Ahmed Abdalla, director, screenwriter, editor, and photographer.
Edouard Waintrop, Red Sea International Film Festival Artistic Director said: “To join the efforts of the Red Sea Fund with those of the Saudi Film Commission will open new opportunities for filmmakers of the region. It will make a possible substantial new investment to develop and produce short films, features, and documentaries and the restoration of up to 10 classic movies from the Arab world. The commitment will extend to supporting filmmakers working with virtual technologies and animations. A new breath will be given to a cinema in full revival; a sign of the metamorphosis of the cinema of the Arab World and Saudi Arabia.”