The Red Sea International Film Festival has announced that its third edition will open with the Saudi film Hwjn. Taking place in Jeddah from November 30-December 9 this year, the festival will screen Yasir Al Yasiri’s fantasy romance at its opening gala night.
The fantasy romance is based on a young adult novel by Saudi writer Ibraheem Abbas and is in modern-day Jeddah where a kind-hearted jinn (Baraa Alem) learns the truth about his royal lineage. On his journey to reclaim his birthright while balancing between the human and supernatural worlds, he meets Sawsan (Nour Alkhadra), a young medical student, and develops an unexpected romantic connection.
Hwjn, pronounced “haw-jen” is one of the biggest productions to come out of a landmark 2018 partnership between the UAE’s Image Nation Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia’s MBC Studios, and Middle East exhibitor Vox Cinemas’ Vox Studios production arm. Co-written by co-written by Yasiri, Abbas, Sarah Taibah, and Hussam Alhulwah, it also stars Nayef Althifery, Alanoud Saud, and Mohsen Mansour.
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“Opening the festival with a highly anticipated film like ‘Hwjn’ is a momentous event,” said Antoine Khalife, the festival’s director of Arab programs and film classics. “With ‘Hwjn,’ Saudi cinema proves its capacity to bring together talents from across the Arab world at both the production and artistic levels. Through this choice, the Red Sea not only honors Saudi cinema but also all Arab talents, highlighting the remarkable progress that the Kingdom has witnessed in recent times.”
Mohammed Al-Turki, CEO of the Red Sea Film Foundation, adds in the statement: “Opening the festival in its third edition with a Saudi film is a real testament to how far the cinema industry has come in such a short time. As a Saudi filmmaker myself this is a transformative moment. It is both exciting and humbling for us to be the center of growth for film in the region by providing a platform that is recognized on a global stage. We are thrilled to kick off our upcoming edition with ‘Hwjn.’”