With all eyes on Jeddah this December, here are all the ways the inaugural edition of Saudi Arabia's Red Sea Film Festival will honour Egyptian cinema, and the impact it has made on global culture.
Nothing like the Red Sea Film Festival in Saudi Arabia has happened before. It was only recently, in 2018, that the Kingdom reopened cinemas across the nation after 35 years of closure. Like a flood breaking through a dam, Saudi Arabia’s passion for cinema has poured forth with the organisation of this unprecedented festival. It’s been promoted in some of the most important events in the film industry, like the Venice International Film Festival, where the Red Sea Film Festival held a gala dinner celebrating women in cinema, attended by the likes of Kate Hudson, Demi Moore and Fatima Albanawi.
It is not an exaggeration to suggest, then, that the inaugural edition of the Red Sea Film Festival will encapsulate the best of regional and international cinema - not just in terms of modern releases, but in terms of the vast history of movie making that never had the opportunity to appear on the Saudi silver screen. In that spirit, it is more than appropriate that the festival will feature some of the most important cinematic figures from Egypt. From a lifetime achievement award for legendary actress Laila Eloui, to a showcase of classic Egyptian films, these are all the ways that the Red Sea Film Festival looks to honour the impact that Egyptian cinema has made on global culture...
LAILA ELOUI’S ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
On-screen icon Laila Eloui will be honoured for her lifetime achievements, having been a part of over 70 films including ‘Hob El Banat’ and ‘El Maseer’. The acclaimed actress will lead a masterclass, giving a few lucky participants some insight from her celebrated career.
YOUSSRA’S ACTING WORKSHOP
Titan of Egyptian cinema Youssra will oversee an acting workshop, where she will divulge her best-kept secrets that have earned her over 50 awards from festivals around the world.
WORLD PREMIERE OF ‘BARAA AL MANHAG’
Celebrated director Amr Salama’s newest work, ‘Baraa Al Manhag’, will be screened for the first time during the festival’s closing ceremony. Starring Maged El Kedwany, Asmaa Aboul Yazid, Ruby, the film follows a 13-year-old boy who develops an unlikely friendship with an elderly neighbour.
TRIBUTE CONCERT FOR EGYPTIAN CINEMA
A special tribute concert will be held to celebrate the history of Egyptian cinema, featuring Lebanese singer Rima Khcheich.
SCREENING OF SHORT FILM ‘REMAINED’
Titled ‘Kan Lak Ma’aya’ in Arabic, this Egyptian short starring Mahmoud Kabil and Safia al-Omari will participate in the festival’s short film competition.
SCREENING OF SHORT FILM ‘THE PYRAMID’
From Egyptian filmmaker Mohamed Ghazala, this animated short about a man who tries to build an inverted pyramid will participate in the short film competition.
SCREENING OF CLASSIC FILMS
The festival will screen restored versions of historic Egyptian works, including ‘Doaa Al Karwan’(1959), Youssra’s ’ Strawberry War’(1994), Laila Eloui’s ‘A Little Love, More Violence’ (1995) and ‘El Ekhteyar’ (1970) - some of which are being screened in Saudi Arabia for the first time.