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Siraj Syed

Siraj Syed is the India Correspondent for and a member of FIPRESCI, the International Federation of Film Critics. He is a Film Festival Correspondent since 1976, Film-critic since 1969 and a Feature-writer since 1970. He is also an acting and dialogue coach. 



288 days to go for the 2024 edition of the Red Sea International Film Festival

288 days to go for the 2024 edition of the Red Sea International Film Festival

At the end of the third edition of the Red Sea International Film Festival (RSIFF), on 09 December 2023, audiences, media and professionals alike were left craving for more. And more is coming your way. While some film festivals have fixed dates, and other international film festivals announce their dates much closer to the event, RSIFF has chosen to announce its dates almost ten months in advance. With very high profile attendees gracing the event every year, such advance planning is key to making it a festival to look forward to.

The fourth edition will run from 5th to the14th of December, 2024, in the historical town of Al Balad, Jeddah. Al Balad is an upmarket area where there are many luxury hotels, and a sandy corniche (beach). It is here that RSIFF has built its brand-new headquarters. Saudi Arabia’s Visit Saudi website describes Al Balad as the place chosen amongst UNESCO World Heritage List, where the ancient homes transformed using the latest technologies and expertise into art galleries and specialty cafés. Whenever you look up in Al-Balad, you see the wooden Rawashins hanging overhead, as an example of authentic architecture that oversees the modern life that passes beneath it. The name “Roshan,” originally derived from the Persian word “Rosen,” meaning balcony, evolved over time into “Rawashin,” in reference to the prominent traditional wooden panels, used to cover windows and external openings.

The magic of Al-Balad site, “Historic Jeddah”, is not limited to the heritage value surrounding you, but also to the unique location being twenty minutes away from the best shopping experiences and international restaurants, and another twenty minutes away from the largest and most important car race in the world; the STC Formula 1 Saudi Grand Prix.

The recently concluded third edition showcased 125 films from 75 countries, with internationally renowned writer, director and producer Baz Luhrmann (Elvis, Moulin Rouge!) presiding as Head of the Jury, showcasing 17 features and 25 short films in competition. The festival and industry Souk (market, bazaar) welcomed over 5,000 delegates, attending screenings and panels, with 938 companies in attendance, networking and deal-making.

RSIFF is organsised by the Red Sea Film Foundation, a non-profit organisation that is transforming Saudi Arabia and the Arab world into a global hub for film-making. Under its umbrella, the Foundation consists of several departments, including the Red Sea Souk, Red Sea Fund, Red Sea Labs, and the Red Sea International Film Festival, to holistically cover all aspects of the film value chain. The Foundation provides a platform for aspiring film-makers to make their mark on the global film stage, while also preserving the heritage of classic Arab cinema.


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About Siraj Syed

Syed Siraj
(Siraj Associates)

Siraj Syed is a film-critic since 1970 and a Former President of the Freelance Film Journalists' Combine of India.

He is the India Correspondent of and a member of FIPRESCI, the international Federation of Film Critics, Munich, Germany

Siraj Syed has contributed over 1,015 articles on cinema, international film festivals, conventions, exhibitions, etc., most recently, at IFFI (Goa), MIFF (Mumbai), MFF/MAMI (Mumbai) and CommunicAsia (Singapore). He often edits film festival daily bulletins.

He is also an actor and a dubbing artiste. Further, he has been teaching media, acting and dubbing at over 30 institutes in India and Singapore, since 1984.

Bandra West, Mumbai


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