In the heart of the old city of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia's port city, the kingdom's first film festival opened, welcoming dozens of international and Arab stars. The Red Sea Film Festival will be held until December 14 to present about 60 Arab and international films, and will reward new talents of the Saudi and Arab cinema.
It is on a red carpet rich in color and glitter that several dozen stars of the Arab, French and international cinema and song have paraded. These dozens of VIPs have all posed under the flash of Arab, French, Italian and American photographers, happy to cover this unique event.
The Red Sea Film Festival is the first of its kind to be held in Saudi Arabia, in the heart of the old Al Balad district of Jeddah, a seaside city renowned for its cosmopolitan and artistic aspect, and classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
انطلقت اليوم الدورة الافتتاحية ل #مهرجان_البحر_الأحمر_السينمائي_الدولي من مدينة جدة التاريخية (البلد). انضموا لنا لمشاهدة أكثر من ١٠٠ فيلم عالمي من جميع أنحاء العالم.#أمواج_التغيير pic.twitter.com/Wmuaym1Cvl
— RedSeaFilm (@RedSeaFilm) December 6, 2021
Several Arab, French and American personalities were present
For the occasion, the organizers of the Festival did not skimp on the means. On a red carpet installed among the palm trees decorated with lights, and overlooked by the great buildings of the old city, the flashes of photographers did not stop capturing the incredible panel of stars who paraded. The French ambassador Ludovic Pouille, who is used to cultural events held by Saudi Arabia, followed in the footsteps of Jack Lang, President of the Arab World Institute, and Cecilia Attias, former First Lady of France.
After the arrival of Youssra, Egyptian singer with millions of albums sold worldwide, several international models made their entrance, such as supermodels Alessandra Ambrioso, Candice Swanepoel and Shanina Shayk.
Then the famous actor Clive Owen posed in a black velvet jacket, followed by Haifa Al Mansour, a Saudi director, who was acclaimed by photographers and other personalities present on the red carpet.
To end on a high note, the Festival welcomed the actress Catherine Deneuve (is it really necessary to introduce her?) and the actor Vincent Cassel accompanied by his wife, Tina Kunakey.
Catherine Deneuve and Thierry Frémaux at the Red Sea Festival.
This selection of prestigious personalities was warmly welcomed by Mohammed Al Turki, President of the Festival, who is delighted that such an event has been created in Saudi Arabia: “I am honored to join the Red Sea to support this exciting new festival and to bring people together through the universal language of cinema“, he said when he was appointed last July.
A festival that is new in every way
In addition to the novelty of holding such a festival in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the space that hosts the rich selection of films is particularly impressive. In the very heart of the historical district of Al Balad, between the 7th century houses with their colorful shutters, there are several ephemeral movie theaters that are more real than real: inside their green facades, there is a ticket office where you can pick up your tickets for the movies, as well as a popcorn and drinks dispenser. In short, just like in a real cinema!
Holding such an event, just after the Formula 1 Grand Prix and the Justin Bieber and David Guetta concert last weekend, as well as the opening of the Hayy Jameel Art Center, is another step for Saudi Arabia’s investment in culture.
And it is a feeling felt by all, including Vincent Cassel, who said to Kawa News: “I was at the F1 circuit, now I’m here, it’s far from the image we have of this country, we feel that it moves, that there is change.“
See you in the coming days to follow the screening of films and the first impressions of spectators and film personalities on this first festival very promising for the future of Saudi cinema.