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JEDDAH: Acclaimed American director Oliver Stone is set to lead the jury of the second edition of the Red Sea International Film Festival, it was announced at the Shangri-La Jeddah on Monday in the presence of local and international celebrities and local press .
Under the slogan “Film is Everything”, the festival will showcase 131 feature and short films, including 23 Saudi shorts, 28 international shorts and seven feature films.

It will also provide a platform for Arab filmmakers and industry professionals from around the world to connect, organize and present a series of events, masterclasses and workshops to support emerging talent.

During the festival, an official competition will be organized for feature and short films from Asia, Africa and the Arab world. The winners of each competition will be announced on December 8.

Samaher Mously, Director of Marketing and Communications for the event, said: “The RSIFF is not just a film festival, it is a cultural forum in which we exchange our technical, cultural experiences, our knowledge and discover new dimensions. It serves as an important platform through which we support the film industry locally and regionally.

Festival CEO Mohammed Al-Turki also unveiled the opening and closing films.

British cross-cultural romantic comedy “What’s Love Got to Do With It” will open the festival, which runs from December 1-10.

The film, directed by Shekhar Kapur, stars Lily James, Emma Thompson, Shazad Latif, Rob Brydon, Shabana Azmi, Sajal Aly and Asim Chaudhry.

“Valley Road” by Saudi director Khaled Fahed will be the last film presented at the film festival.

The festival also announced last week that Film AlUla, an agency set up to promote production in the city, is the new strategic sponsor for this year’s edition.

Film AlUla will award the Audience Award and Best Saudi Film Award, each worth $50,000.

“We went all over the world with the festival and the Red Sea name was everywhere in Cannes, Toronto, etc., so I can’t believe we’re actually ready, a month away from our festival,” Al -Turki added.

“It’s pretty amazing to see so many Arab films making their way around the world. Our mission continues to champion established emerging filmmakers. It’s a transformative moment happening in Saudi cinema within an artificial selection .

Director Antoine Khalife said the growth of the Saudi film industry is exciting.

“The vitality of Saudi cinema is excellent and I am very happy that we can see this great achievement. I would like to mention that the vitality of cinema does not only depend on the dialogues and the script but on the actors and the cooperation built between them and the director. In fact, we have discovered many brilliant Saudi talents and more are yet to come.

This year’s festival will take place at the Ritz Carlton Jeddah which has a capacity of 1,200. Vox Cinema will be the sponsor.

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