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Saudi Arabia’s First Film Festival Announces Winners of The Tamheed Fund

Saudi Arabia‘s Red Sea International Film Festival has announced two projects that would receive production grants of USD500,000 each. The festival is the Kingdom’s first cinematic-themed celebration of regional and international filmmakers, and the initiative is a part of its one-time competition known as the Tamheed Fund.

The Tamheed Fund aims to financially support, develop, and promote the film industry in Saudi Arabia. The winners of the one-time competition are two aspiring Saudi filmmakers Faris Godus and Mohammed Alholayyil and their work would premiere at the Red Sea International Film Festival. Godus’ The Book of Sun and Alholayyil’s Forty Years and a Night were selected from among 24 submissions.

The Book of Sun is a story about a teenager named Hussam, who is intrigued by the rising wave of Saudi YouTube content. As he’s about to graduate, Hussam jeopardizes his educational future to make a no-budget feature film. Whereas, Forty Years and a Night is a family drama that takes place on Eid-al-Fitr, and explores the story of how secrets can poison relationships, threaten solidarity, and transform memories.

Saudi Film Festival, Tamheed Award Winners

Instagram @redseafilm

The family project is joined by Godus’ brother Sohayb as a producer. The Godus brothers are well-known for their exceptional teamwork in the YouTube community. Together, the brothers have created a short film titled Depressing Scene in 2016, and also participated in Another Planet, a series on Saudi TV for the 2019 Ramadan season. Alholayyil is a young writer and filmmaker who has made several films including Mator and 300KM, that have reached multiple Arab and regional festivals.

The open call targeted films of every genre. “The projects covered diverse geographic and social environments, from major cities to villages and deserts. A range of schools and approaches were represented, including realism, neorealism, psychodrama, sci-fi, and fantasy, with one animation project,” said a representative from the Tamheed Fund.

The Tamheed Fund’s primary focus was to attract narratives that explored local stories while implementing innovative film techniques. Additionally, the film festival will feature a mentoring and development program Red Sea Lodge, as well as an omnibus film project led by the new generation of Saudi female directors.

The Kingdom of Saudi will host the inaugural edition of the Red Sea International Film Festival to celebrate regional and international films and filmmakers from March 12 to 21, 2020 in Jeddah.

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