Jeddah in Saudi Arabia will play to host to an annual film festival starting from the year 2020. Named, the Red Sea International Film Festival, it was announced yesterday, March 27, by Prince Badr Bin Farhan Al Saud, Saudi Arabia’s first ever Minister of Culture. The announcement follows the decision made last year to end the 35-year old ban on cinemas in the kingdom along with the first cinema opening in Riyadh.
Saudi Arabia’s first non-profit cultural organization, the Red Sea Film Foundation will organize the event as a part of their aim to support the growth of the film-making industry in the country. Besides focusing on the Middle Eastern talent and cinema, the festival will also provide a platform for the lesser-known international trends in storytelling.
Running alongside the festival will be a new industry body called the Red Sea Film Lodge, dedicated to developing films by local and regional directors all year round. It will also award production and co-production prizes to the best projects.
According to a statement released, “The new Arab film festival will champion the evolution and growth of the local film industry following a 35-year hiatus during which time there was a ban on cinemas in Saudi Arabia. The festival aims to boost local production and to invigorate distribution in the country for local and international films.”