After announcing a $10 million fund in June, the Saudi Film Commission will offer an additional $4 million for its Red Sea Fund to help support the development of 40 new films from Saudi Arabia and Arab filmmakers, it was announced at the Cannes Film Festival.
In its first year, the initiative aims to help finance 100 projects with development, production and post-production. The fund is currently open for submission and will be distributed across a selection of film categories including short and feature-length, documentaries, animation and more.
Funding will also be used to restore up to 10 classic films from the Arab region. The fund was created as a way to accelerate the growth of the industry and help launch a new generation of filmmakers, as well as provide assistance for already established creatives.
“To join the efforts of the Red Sea Fund with those of the Saudi Film Commission will open new opportunities for filmmakers of the region. It will make a possible substantial new investment to develop and produce short films, features, and documentaries and the restoration of up to 10 classic movies from the Arab world," said Edouard Waintrop, the newly appointed director of the Red Sea International Film Festival.
"The commitment will extend to supporting filmmakers working with virtual technologies and animations. A new breath will be given to a cinema in full revival; a sign of the metamorphosis of the cinema of the Arab world and Saudi Arabia."
What to expect from the Red Sea International Film Festival
The inaugural Red Sea International Film Festival was originally set to run from Thursday, November 11 to Saturday, November 20 but has had its dates pushed to Monday, December 6 to Wednesday, December 16.
The much-anticipated event will be held in Jeddah's Old Town, and will be the kingdom's first international film festival.
The festival will highlight emerging talents from across Saudi Arabia and the Arab world. It comes after the opening of cinemas in the kingdom after a ban lasting nearly four decades was removed.
The festival had been scheduled to take place in March 2020, but was cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The new event will take place under the theme “Metamorphosis”.