The second edition of the Red Sea IFF took place in early December, 2022 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The event was applauded for significantly expanding the industry and events program alongside presenting 143 films from 66 countries to 39,410 filmgoers and 4,345 film professionals, media and students, with an overall percentage capacity increase of 12%.
The 2022 edition of the festival showcased seven new Saudi feature films and 16 short films from an exciting wave of filmmakers, demonstrating the flourishing local industry and innovative filmmakers responsible for driving and bringing an exciting new vibrancy to Saudi cinema. Over the 10 days of the festival, cinema talents including Sharon Stone, Spike Lee, Antonio Banderas, Akshay Kumar, Nadine Labaki, Jackie Chan, Andy Garcia, Luca Guadagnino, Ranbir Kapoor, Hrithik Roshan, Gurinder Chadha, Nelly Karim, Andrew Dominik, Fatih Akin, Adil El Arbi & Bilall Fallah, Mo Amer, Michel Ocelot, Kaouther Ben Hania and Gaspar Noé participated in a series of In-Conversations hosted at VOX cinemas for festival goers.
Shining a light on films from Saudi Arabia, the Arab world, Asia, and Africa, the Festival’s film competition saw Academy Award-winning filmmaker Oliver Stone at the helm and along with his fellow jurors, present 13 Yusr Awards to recognise the highest achievements in storytelling. The Golden Yusr for Best Feature Film was awarded to the Iraqi story Hanging Gardens directed by Ahmed Yassin Al Daradji and the Film AlUla Audience Award for Best Saudi Film was won by How I Got There, directed by Zeyad Alhusaini.
The Festival also presented Gold Yusr Honorary Awards to legendary superstar, actor and producer Shah Rukh Khan, Egyptian cinema icon Yousra, acclaimed British director Guy Ritchie and Academy Award winning actor and filmmaker Jackie Chan.
The Red Sea Souk welcomed industry professionals, acclaimed talent and pioneering filmmakers from around the world for four days to exchange knowledge, discuss creative and business collaboration and explore the rapidly evolving film industry with Saudi and beyond.
The Souk comprised of the Project Market with 23 projects, six work-in-progress films, 50 exhibition stands, 13 panel discussions and facilitated over 1190 meetings across all the Souk initiatives including Talent days, a two-day initiative designed to support the development of the next generation of Saudi filmmakers. The Red Sea Souk concluded with more than a million USD awarded to projects selected in the Red Sea Souk Awards.
Throughout the year the Festival supports the next generation of filmmakers and since 2019, the Red Sea Film Foundation has supported the development, production, and post-production of 170 films from the Arab world and Africa.
Mohammed Al Turki; CEO of the RedSeaIFF explained: “Our second edition was a huge success and signified that The Red Sea International Film Festival is evolving into a global event that we are very proud of and grateful to everyone who supported us. We are still navigating our way being a young Festival and film industry but have been delighted with the feedback from the local community, regional and international guests. We were honoured to welcome some of the leading voices in Hollywood, Bollywood, South Korea, Africa and Arab cinema, sharing their journeys to the big screen with a new generation of Saudi creatives who are capturing the attention of the global film industry. Throughout the year, we will continue to support emerging filmmakers, welcome productions to shoot against our extraordinary landscapes and plan for our third edition as we continue to make our mark on the Festival circuit.”
Red Sea International Film Festival aims to provide a platform for Arab filmmakers and industry professionals from around the world to connect, host feature and short film competitions, and present a series of events, masterclasses, and workshops to support emerging talent. Running alongside the Festival is the Red Sea Souk, the Festival’s industry market, designed for global exchange and partnerships between the international and Saudi film industries. The four-day market will offer a packed program of curated events to foster co-production, international distribution, and new business opportunities. The Souk offers unbeatable access to the new vibrant Saudi scene, as well as the best of the Arab market through pitching sessions, one-on-one meetings, screenings, industry talks, and networking events.
Header photo of Red Sea Film Foundation Chairperson Jomana R. Alrashid courtesy of the Red Sea IFF, used with permission.