Oliver Stone to head Saudi Arabia's Red Sea International Film Festival jury

The festival has announced a total of 107 features and shorts as part of its programme, including 16 films screened in competition

TRONDHEIM, NORWAY - JUNE 21: Oliver Stone poses for a picture during the Starmus Festival on June 21, 2017 in Trondheim, Norway. (Photo by MICHAEL CAMPANELLA/WireImage)
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Oscar-winning American director Oliver Stone will lead the jury for the international competition at the Red Sea International Film Festival, Saudi Arabia's first major film festival.

The international competition that Stone will help judge is focused on original production from the Arab world and the Global South. Its jury will give six awards: Golden Yusr for Best Feature Film (Dh367,000), as well as Silver Yusr for Best Director (Dh183,000), Best Screenplay, Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Cinematic Contribution. The Yusr Awards are named after the black coral formations found in the Red Sea near Jeddah.

The results will be announced during an awards ceremony on Thursday, March 19. The festival also announced today that a total of 107 features and shorts will screen, including 16 films in-competition.

"We are most pleased to have Oliver Stone leading our jury," said festival director Mahmoud Sabbagh in a statement. "Penning Scarface and Midnight Express, directing Platoon and Natural Born Killers, to name a few, he cherishes originality, craft and creativity, values at the heart of the Red Sea Film Festival. For a new breed of filmmakers competing for the Yusr awards, his watchful eye and sense of authorship will be inspirational."

At the festival, Stone will also present a classic film that inspired him, Z by Costa Gavras. In 1970, it became the first Arab film to win an Oscar: the French-Algerian production was submitted by Algeria. It's a film about a Greek progressive deputy who is assassinated, and the person in charge of the investigation highlights the role of the government, in particular the army and the police.

The 16 films running in-competition are:

Air Conditioner by Fradique

Le Regard de Charles by Marc Di Domenico

Better Days by Derek Tsang

Ee Allay Ooo! by Prateek Vats

Made in Bangladesh by Rubaiyat Hossain

Verdict by Raymund Ribay Dutierrez

The Assistant by Kitty Green

Resistance by Jonathan Jakubowicz

The Perfect Candidate by Haifa Al Mansour

Shine Your Eyes by Matias Mariani

Black Milk by Uisenma Borchu

Los Conductos by Camilo Restrepo

Exil by Visar Morina

The Red Sea International Film Festival will take place from Thursday to Saturday, March 12 to 21, in Jeddah Old Town, on the Red Sea coast