DUBAI: Saudi filmmaker and actress Fatima Al-Banawi is proving she’s a force to be reckoned with both in terms of fashion and film at the ongoing Red Sea International Film Festival in Jeddah.
The star has made a number of red carpet appearances at the festival so far in an array of gowns by designers from across the Arab world, including one show-stopping look by a Saudi label.
Before that, Al-Banawi dazzled fans and photographers in a sea blue gown by Lebanese designer-to-the-stars Zuhair Murad, complete with billowing sleeves, ruffled details and panels of elegant sheer material.
“Lots of smiles and moments of gratitude to our dreamy youthful days, to the resilient forces, to the collective energies, to hearts that beat with stories… and stories to tell,” she captioned a carousel of photos posted on Instagram at the time.
Styled by Cedric Haddad, the star finished off the look with sparkling jewelry by Cartier, which is only fitting considering the French fine jewelry fashion house unveiled Al-Banawi as its Middle East ambassador in June.
Next up, Al-Banawi — who directed part of an omnibus film titled “Becoming” that recently screened at the festival — was photographed wearing a form-fitting red gown by Saudi label Honayda.
Designer Honayda Serafi has seen her gowns sported by the who’s who of Hollywood, including Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Lupita Nyong’o, so it is only fitting that Al-Banawi opted to champion the label on a jaunt down the red carpet in Jeddah.
The one-shoulder look featured exquisite embroidery on the neckline and draped material on its single sleeve. The striking color was a bold choice for Al-Banawi, who pulled it off with panache.
“Five female directors, five producers, and an umbrella of executive producers overlooking and structuring from top, it was worth the wait. Tonight, our work becomes complete with an audience! What a humbling and rewarding moment,” the director posted alongside a clutch of photos detailing her journey down the red carpet at the screening of “Becoming.”
Other outfits she has shown off at the festival so far include a tiered lacy look in dusty pink, as well as a dramatic monochromatic gown with an oversized ruffle on one shoulder at the “Daughters of Abdulrahman” premiere on Dec. 10.
The multi-hyphenate studied Psychology at Jeddah’s Effat University and then went on to pursue her master’s degree in Theological Studies at Harvard.
She first gained prominence for her role in the 2016 drama “Barakah Meets Barakah.”
She also starred in Egyptian Netflix series “Paranormal.”
In 2020, she directed her first short film “Until We See Light.” That same year, she co-wrote, co-directed and starred in “Al-Shak,” a Shahid Original series, which she shot fully from home during the pandemic.