In the past three years, the Red Sea International Film Festival's presence at A-list film festivals around the world has been unmissable. From ads welcoming weary travelers at the airports in Cannes and Venice, to wondrous receptions reminiscent of those held during Hollywood's golden era, Red Sea has made its entrance with a bang on the worldwide cinema landscape.
For the past two editions of the Venice International Film Festival, industry insiders, world-renowned journalists and cinematic figures from the Region have also had the chance to mingle and share their thoughts at a lunch held inside the Excelsior hotel -- a staple on the Lido where the cast of Competition delegations are housed.
The festival has definitely encouraged filmmakers from the Region, with incentives and grants that have helped to finance or finish many of the MENA titles in Venice this year, such as Wissam Charaf's Dirty, Difficult, Dangerous, screening in the Giornate degli Autori lineup, as well as Ahmed Yassin Al Daradj's Hanging Gardens, screening in Orizzonti and Soudade Kaadan's Nezouh in Orizzonti Extra.
This year, the crowd present at the lunch event held on September 1st at the downstairs restaurant overlooking the Excelsior beach, was even more numerous and the celebrities more visible, as was the case with beloved Saudi filmmaker Haifaa al-Mansour and Tunisian helmer Kaouther Ben Hania, pictured above with Red Sea IFF's CEO Mohammed Al Turki. Seen above with Tunisian actress Dorra Zarrouk, in the red dress.
Wissam Charaf and his handsome leading man Ziad Jallad (a future star to watch, mark our words!) also made an appearance at the event.
Other attendees included Berlinale Artistic Director Carlo Chatrian, Shivani Pandya Malhotra, (seen above) the Managing Director of Red Sea IFF, a brief appearance by Cannes Director Thierry Frémaux, Hollywood publicists, various international programmers and the list goes on and on.
The lunch itself was a great assortment of cuisines, with little Venetian specialties dotted along on the individual tables but also a buffet spread which seemed to never end -- with sweets and fresh fruit to reward the visitor who made it to the finish of the "smorgasbord".
This year's edition of the Red Sea International Film Festival is scheduled from December 1st to the 10th in Jeddah. For more info, check out their website.