Red Souk Awards are handed out, with exciting Saudi, Palestinian, Ghanaian & Lebanese projects among winners

This year's Red Sea IFF was a good place for Arab and world cinema.
Red Souk Awards are handed out, with exciting Saudi, Palestinian, Ghanaian & Lebanese projects among winners

Red Sea Souk Awards winners were announced today during the ongoing Red Sea International Film Festival (Red Sea IFF) in Jeddah. Aimed at fostering co-production, worldwide distribution, and new business prospects, the Red Sea Souk is a film market created to support the thriving Saudi, African and Arab industries and promote talent. Distributors, sales representatives, and producers looking to expand their regional reach attend it.

This year, the four-day souk attracted a larger crowd and was jam-packed with pitch sessions, meetings, screenings, industry talks, and networking activities. Two distinct juries, one for the Project Market and the other for the Works-in-Progress, deliberated over the awards. The Red Sea Fund and generous industry sponsors contributed to give 24 awards for both Red Sea Lodge Projects and Souk Projects.

Zain Zedan, Red Sea Souk Manager, said: “We are pleased with the successful achievements of this year’s edition of the Red Sea Souk. The awards are meant to bolster the confidence of emerging, aspiring filmmakers and to open more opportunities for them”.

Myriam Arab, Red Sea Souk Co Manager, added: “For this year’s selection the industry enjoyed discovering projects by African and Arab filmmakers and producers including the diaspora. For this second edition, it appears the Red Sea Souk is continuing to expand its border and create new bridges for independent cinema”

You Were the Poet, And I Existed by Saudi filmmaker Sara Mesfer and Trip to Jerusalem by the Lebanese brother duo Gaby and Michel Zarazir were both presented The Arab Cinema Center (ACC) award for participation in the 2023 Rotterdam Lab.

The Cell Co, a fully integrated post-production company, presented three awards to a film in post-production. The first award, consisting of a complete DCP package valued at 8,000 USD, was given to Hounds by Kamal Lazraq, a France, Morocco, Belgium co-production. The second and third awards, each consisting of a full promotion package valued at 12,000 USD, were given to The Burdened by Amr Gamal from Yemen, Sudan, Saudi Arabia and Concrete Land by the Jordanian Asmahan Bkerat.

Leyth Production, a film production company based in Tunisia, awarded the sum of 20,000 USD to Banel E Adama by by Ramata-Toulaye Sy, a France, Senegal, Mali co-production for sound mixing for their work-in-progress film. They also awarded 50,000 USD to Concrete Land for editing for their work-in-progress film.

OTICONS presented the award Composer for Original Film Score worth 10,000 USD to Yunan by Ameer Fakher Eldin for his work-In-Progress film. They also provided an award consisting of Music License and Supervision worth 6,000 USD to The Mother of All Lies by Asmae El Moudir for her Work-In-Progress film. Finally, they presented the award for music consulting worth 2,000 USD to Behind the Palm Trees, by Moroccan filmmaker Meryem Benm’Barek, a Red Sea Project film.

The TITRAFILM Award consisting of subtitles, DCP or broadcasting worth 6,000 USD was awarded to Banel E Adama

The Arab Radio and Television Network (ART), a major player in the Arab Film Industry, awarded two 50,000 USD grants to You Were the Poet, And I Existed and Lebanese filmmaker Samah El Kadi's Bubblegum Brigade, as Saudi, the former, and Arab development projects.

Cinewaves Films, a leading Saudi distribution company with the largest Saudi film library, presented 50,000 USD to the highly anticipated Saudi project Scapegoat by Feras Al-musharrei for the Cinewaves Film Distribution Award. MAD Solutions presented 50,000 USD to Behind the Palm Trees for the MAD Solutions Distribution Award but it remains to be seen if the film will go the way of other titles bought for distribution by the Egypt-based company.

MBC presented three MBC Academy/Shahid cash awards for Arab world distribution rights. The MBC Academy/Shahid Award for an Arab project with an amount of 40,000 USD was awarded to Men in the Sun by award-winning Palestinian filmmaker by Mahdi Fleifel. The other award with an amount of 70,000 USD went to the Saudi project Dancing on Fire by Hana Alomair. Finally, the Saudi project A Last Argument Against Youth by Mohammed Algebreen was awarded 120,000 USD.

And, last but not least, from the Red Sea Fund, six cash awards were granted by the Red Sea Souk Juries. The Red Sea Souk Post-Production Award with a grant of 30,000 USD was presented to The Mother of All Lies. The Zarazir brothers directed Trip to Jerusalem, the recipient of the Red Sea Souk Jury Development Award, walked away with a cash prize of 35,000 USD.

The Red Sea Souk Development Award with a grant of 35,000 USD went to Wolfmother, a Moroccan, France co-production by Ismaël El Iraki.

Top cash prices went to the Ghanian Vagabonds by Amartei Armar which was presented the Red Sea Souk Production Award with a grant of 100,000 USD, as well as two Red Sea Lodge Awards, each with a grant of 100,000 USD, were awarded to the Egyptian production Aisha Can’t Fly Anymore by Morad Mostafa, as an Arab project and Scapegoat by Feras Al-musharrei as a Saudi Project. 

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