Red Sea partners with Venice's Final Cut and supports five titles in this year's fest

Among the titles which received support from the Red Sea Fund is Syrian filmmaker Soudade Kaadan's magic realism masterpiece 'Nezouh', pictured here.
Red Sea partners with Venice's Final Cut and supports five titles in this year's fest

The Red Sea International Film Festival (RSIFF) has partnered with Final Cut, the Venice Production Bridge program that supports films in post-production from African and the Middle East nations of Iraq, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine, which will hold its tenth edition at this year’s festival. Additionally, five films funded by RSIFF will be presented during the Venice Film Festival which runs from 31 August to 10 September. The 79th edition of the festival welcomes ten Arab and Middle Eastern films set to make their mark on the Lido di Venezia from some of the region’s most exciting filmmakers.  

Along with the newly formed partnership, the Red Sea has backed two projects in the Final Cut selection and they are the dark comedy Inshallah A Boy from Amjad Al Rasheed and The Cemetery of Cinema, a documentary directed by Thierno Souleymane Diallo, which along with six other projects will be shown to producers, buyers, distributors, post-production companies and film festival programmers. The Red Sea will also be presenting a financial reward to a winning project selected during the Final Cut run in Venice.

There are also five films in the line up of this year's festival which have benefited from the support of the Red Sea Fund -- launched to nurture Arab and African filmmakers and provide funding at key stages of production, post-production and development.

These titles include Nezouh directed by Syrian director Soudade Kaadan, whose feature debut premiered in Venice in the Orizzonti competition in 2018. The Day I Lost My Shadow went on to win Kaadan the coveted Lion of the Future – “Luigi De Laurentiis” award at the festival. Kaadan’s second feature is a stunning film, set against the backdrop of Syria’s civil conflict but featuring our human ability to overcome all odds, thanks to art, and features Hala Zein, Kinda Aloush, Nizar Alani, and Samer Almasri.  Nezouh will screen in Orizzonti Extra.

Iraqi writer-director Ahmed Yassin Al Daradj’s debut feature Hanging Gardens featuring Wissam Diyaa, Jawad Al Shakarji, Hussain Muhammad Jalil, and Akram Mazen Ali, follows As’ad, a 12-year-old rubbish picker, who adopts an American sex doll from the Baghdad dumps, crosses into a perilous red zone, finding himself caught in the crossfire. The film won Venice’s 2021 edition of Final Cut for the best film in post-production and will also premiere in Orizzonti Extra.

Giornate degli Autori will see the world premiere of Lebanese-French director Wissam Charaf's DirtyDifficultDangerous, featuring an unconventional, seemingly impossible love story between Ahmed, a Syrian metal picker on the streets of Beirut and Mehdia, an Ethiopian domestic. The film stars Clara Couturet, Ziad Jallad, Darina Al Joundi, and Rifaat Tarabay and will screen in the successful independent sidebar of the Venice Film Festival renowned for the quality of its film selection.

French-Algerian director Damien Ounouri and Algerian actress, scriptwriter and producer Adilia Bendimerad present The Last Queen, a full-scale costume drama also premiering in the Giornate degli Autori program. The film is set in the Mediterranean port city of Algiers in 1516, and revolves around the heroic female figure of Zaphira, who stood up to the infamous pirate Barbarossa after he killed her husband King Salim Toumi, took control of the city and demanded her hand in marriage. As well as co-directing Bendimerad stars in the film and is joined by Dali Benssalah and Tahar Zaoui. 

Rounding out the five films is Moroccan director and writer Yasmine Benkiran’s debut feature Queens which will close the selection of the Venice International Film Critics’ Week, the sidebar of the Venice Film Festival -- playing out-of-competition. The story is set in Casablanca and follows a trio of women (played by Nisrin Erradi, Nisrine Benchara, Rayhan Guaran) with the police on their tail, as they embark on a long escape that takes them across the rugged red terrain and flower-filled valleys of the Atlas to finally reach the Atlantic coast. Moroccan trio's Thelma & Louise anyone? 

Pascal Diot, Head of Venice Production Bridge said: " The Venice Production Bridge is honored to have the additional support of the Red Sea International Film Festival for our Final Cut in Venice workshop and more generally to have such a privileged relationship. The RSIFF has become in a very few years an unavoidable player in the MENA region and one of the key investors and supporters of Arab cinema and new immersive content. "​

Mohammed Al Turki, CEO of the Red Sea International Film Festival added: “We are thrilled to form a partnership with the Venice Film Production Bridges ‘Final Cut’ program to strengthen our commitment to filmmakers from the region to bring more projects to fruition so they can make the selection at the world’s most prestigious festivals. The calibre of films presented from the region this year is remarkable and are guaranteed to make their mark on global audiences.”  

This year's Red Sea International Film Festival is scheduled to take place from

You may also like