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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.


RSIFF Thursday 9 December in focus

With the Red Sea International Film Festival well under way and the Red Sea Souk in full swing, we are expanding the number of cinemas showing films. From today, the Vox Cinemas at the Red Sea Mall will become part of the festival. That means loads more fabulous films. All day! To make it more manageable, there are shuttle services running between the venues in Al Balad and the Red Sea mall. There is also a shuttle from Al Balad to Hayy Jameel, where Red Sea Immersive is still bloinw minds. Your only challenge is to fit them everything in.


Welcome to the Souk!



Project Market

Souk badge-holders only 


10.00 – 16.00 (with break from 13.00 to 14.00)

Souk Project Markets room


One-on-one meetings with industry professionals for teams attached to Red Sea Souk and Red Sea Lodge projects.



Souk Talks

 All badge-holders welcome 


Sustainable Media Production


Souk Talks Room

Paul Federbush convenes a panel to discuss the most pressing issue of our time, as it relates to our industry. Bassam Alasad (Greener Screen), Jad Abi-Khalil (BeirutDC) and Georges Schoucair (Abbout Productions) talk about what needs to be done.



Working with MENA Partners: case study Kandahar


Souk Talks Room

Kandahar, starring Gerard Butler as a CIA agent who must fight his way out of enemy territory to an extraction point in Kandahar, along with his Afghan translator, is currently shooting in Saudi Arabia’s spectacular northwestern AlUla region. Directed by Ric Roman Waugh, it is the first big-budget production to shoot in the area, which includes the UNESCO World Heritage site of Hegra and has been heavily promoted as a filming location. Nick Vivarelli of Variety magazine moderates a discussion with producer Christian Mercuri from US financiers Capstone, and Steve Strahan, Film Commissioner at Film AlUla.



Networking Session

17.00 – 18.00

Mingle at the close of the day’s business with those in the know; today’s focus is on distributors and sales agents.



Industry-only screenings

All are for Souk badge-holders only



Work in Progress


10.00 -11.20

Vox Cinema, Souk

Directed by Lotfy Nathan




Market Screening


1500 -16.30

Vox Cinema, Souk

Algerian director Salah Issaad directs Soula Bahri playing herself in this story of a young single mother rejected by her family and society, trying to survive a long night on the road.



Work in Progress

Cemetery of Cinema

14.00 – 15.16

Vox Cinema, Souk

 Directed by Thierno Souleymane Diallo



Work in Progress

Fragments of Heaven

16.00 – 17.08

Vox Cinema, Souk

Directed by Adriane Baraka



And welcome back to the Festival!


Today the festival expands to take over a second venue: the Vox cinemas at Red Sea Mall. Screenings continue at the Vox Cinemas a Al Balad, while the Red Sea Immersive programme is bookable all day at Hayy Jameel, conveniently close to the Red Sea Mall.


Check out the film page on the festival website for more information on all the films playing – meanwhile, we can’t resist listing a few highlights here. There are three galas, a world premiere in Episodic and nine competition films screening today, so there is tons to choose from. Read on….




Festival Talks


Red Sea: In Conversation with Laila Eloui


Vox cinemas,

Al Balad 1

Egyptian actress Laila, who became known as “the kitten of Egyptian cinema” when she was a child actor, will talk about her diverse subsequent career that includes 85 films and 41 series. Laila has been a champion of women’s rights both in her work and in real life, well before MeToo, and has a definite social agenda with the projects she chooses. Among numerous awards, she was recently given a lifetime achievement award at the Cairo Film Festival.



Red Sea: In Conversation with Farhan Akhtar


Vox cinemas,

Al Balad 2

Born into Bollywood royalty in 1974, Farhan Akhtar made his first feature, Dil Chartta Hai, at the age of 26. An immediate hit, it allowed Farhan and his production partner Ritesh Sidhwani to found their own company to make quality films within the commercial world of Bollywood, while Farhan turned his attention from directing to acting and singing.  With Rock On! Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and the much-lauded biopic Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, they have had one success after another and won numerous national awards, while Farhan has achieved superstar status. Come and hear how he does it!



Festival Films


Red Sea Gala Screenings


The Alleys


Red Sea Gala Theatre

Vox Cinemas, Al Balad

 A break-out hit at Locarno Film Festival and in competition here, Bassel Ghandour’s thriller set among the petty gangsters and stand-over merchants of Amman is as full of twists and turns as the streets it depicts.



Memory Box

18.30 -20.27

Red Sea Gala Theatre

Vox Cinemas, Al Balad

 A Lebanese expatriate living in Montreal receives a box of letters she sent to her best friend from war-torn 1980s Beirut. She doesn’t want to confront these memories and won’t open the box – but her daughter does. Directed by Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige.



Casablanca Beats


Red Sea Gala Theatre

Vox Cinemas, Al Balad

 A rapper takes a job at a cultural centre where he inspired local kids to express themselves through music in Nabil Ayouch’s uplifting film.



Red Sea Competition



15.00 – 16.50

Vox cinemas, Red Sea Mall 6

 US actor Billy Zane stars in Saudi director Hamzah K. Jamjoom’s psychodrama about a woman who must break through her own delusional fog to be able to defeat a real killer. A world premiere.




15.00 – 16.15

Vox cinemas, Red Sea Mall 4

 Director Nejib Belkadhi also plays Kais, a psychotic who urgently needs medication, in this two-hander about a couple struggling with lock-down.



Paka (River of Blood)


Vox cinemas, Al Balad 4

 Two enemy clans fight a centuries-old blood feud across an apparently peaceful river in NIthin Lukose’s drama. But when two members of the young generation fall in love, there may be hope of peace.




Vox cinemas, Al Balad 1

 The arrival of a fanatical teacher at the primary school in a peacefully mixed Kurdish village at the centre of Mano Khalil’s film creates a new mistrust that is dangerous, but also absurd.



Brighton 4th (repeat)


Vox cinemas, Red Sea Mall 4

 A former Olympic wrestler travels from Georgia to New York to try to sort out his son, who has become a gambling addict. Levan Koguashvili’s film is Georgia’s official Oscar entry.



Hit the Road (repeat)

1830 – 20.08

Vox Cinemas Red Sea Mall 6

 Panah Panahi’s funny, moving road movie about a chaotic family heading across Iran, their emotional tug-of-war being played out inside a borrowed car.



Life Suits Me Well


Vox cinemas, Red Sea Mall 5

 Karim Debbagh’s touching story of a village postmaster whose death brings his family closer than ever and shows the indomitable love at the heart of his marriage.




22.00 – 23.40

Vox Cinemas Al Balad 1

 Even in prison, naïve Sharaf believes he can work enough angles to make his fortune. Director Samir Nasr worked with renowned novelist Sonallah Ibrahim to adapt his novel for the screen.





Zone B

14.00 – 15.45

Vox Cinemas Al Balad 1

 A group of lifelong friends in Helsinki come together to get a music video done in time for a competition deadline, but problems threaten to break up their friendships. Director Juho Kuosmanen won the Grand Prix in Cannes this year for a feature, Compartment No 6.



Family Portrait


Vox Cinemas Al Balad 2

 A Korean family’s life shown to be hilarious, absurd and yet uncomfortably recognisable. Directed by Kyunghwan Chin.




And there is plenty more to see! The Stranger, The Lost Daughter, Becoming, A Little Love Much Violence, Bigger Than Us, Official Competition, Their Head are Green and Their Hands are Blue, Amira, As in Heaven and Ted K!! Check the film pages for more information.





Red Sea: Immersive 


A journey into current VR film-making continues at Hayy Jameel.

One-hour slots available at 11, 1215, 1330, 1515, 1630, 1745, 1930, 2045 and 2200. Shuttles are available from Al Balad.



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