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Red Sea International Film Festival

The inaugural Red Sea International Film Festival will take place from December 6 -15, 2021 with live dailies on

The Red Sea International Film Festival brings the best in Arab and World Cinema to Jeddah Old Town. The Festival showcases exciting new films on the Saudi big-screen, alongside retrospective programs celebrating the masters of cinema, the latest Saudi films, and feature and short film competitions. There are also industry events and workshops nurturing the next generation of talent.


HUDA'S SALON - interview from Red Sea Film Festival.



With: Actress Manal Awad (“Huda”) and director Hany Abu-Assad

Interview by Emmanuem Itier for

Another quite shocking film to discover at The Red Sea International Film  Festival was ‘Huda’s Salon’, a co-production between Palestine, Egypt, Qatar and The Netherlands. What a fantastic international collaboration to bring to light the nightmare of a young woman caught up between the secret services of Palestine and the rebels trying to help the Israelis. This is thrilling and visceral horrific tale of one person lost between two dead end choices. We caught up with director Hany Abu-Assad and his lead star, Manal Awad. May the discussion begin…


Q: So, where does this story come from. It’s based on real facts. Did you meet the real people from this story?


Hany: Yes, I heard about this story from friends and I was able to communicate with some of these women who had been approached by the secret services of Palestine to collaborate with them and find traitors who are connecting with the Israelis. It usually worked with women who don’t have good relationships with their families or their husband. I wanted to make a simple movie with 3 characters and 2 main locations. I wanted you to question who is the victim, who is guilty. To show that the bad in us exist in all of us. There is a thin line between doing the right and the wrong thing. It’s about human dilemma, it’s about the contradiction within. At the end of the film you will ask yourself, and me, who am I?


Q: How did you prepare for the role of Huda?


Manal: Because I’m a Palestine I know so many stories since the occupation by the Israelis. Everybody’s life is truly a nightmare. Everybody’s life is threatened in some way by someone. So for me, to play Huda, wasn’t too much of a challenge. As a Palestinian I’m a little bit: Huda. What is sad is that we didn’t screen the movie yet in Palestine. It’s not so simple but I hope we will find a way to show it.


Q: Did you get some feedbacks from people who saw the movie?


Hany: Some of the people who inspired the film saw it and their families. And they were quite shocked. Some of them were really devastated, especially women, it’s quite a revelation. They think the movie could function as an educative film. A film that can stand up for women and who can help with their cause. Hopefully it helps with the conversation.


Manal: I hope women voice and women stories are more shared and more talked about. It’s important to show women have so much to tell and to share. The people who saw the movie are proud of our work and I do hope it helps everybody’s cause. I hope it support their suffering.


Q: Do you think the film can also have an impact here in Saudi Arabia, at the Red Sea International film festival?


Manal: Yes, it’s very important to show it here and to share the vision of the horrors we are exposing in our movie. Every small step that exposes the truth help pave the way for a better future for all women, not only Palestinian women but all Arabic women from the Region, in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere. Sometimes it starts with a movie and then a full movement is created. I’m hopeful this will bring hope and change to our Arabic society. Voices are rising and it’s crucial for our movie to be seen.


Q: Can you tell us what’s going on with your spy movie developed with Hugh Jackman?


Hany: You must be taking about “The Good Spy” based on the life and death of Robert Ames. Well, we are in the process of doing a polish on the script and yes, Hugh Jackman is attached. I hope we have a solid script in the spring and then, maybe we can fi


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