Red Sea International Film Festival to open with new Saudi feature film

'Shams Al-Maareef', supported by the Tamheed Fund, will world premiere in Jeddah on March 12

A still from 'Shams Al-Maaref' (The Book of Sun), the Saudi film which will open the Red Sea International Film Festival in March. Courtesy of Red Sea International Film Festival
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The first Red Sea International Film Festival, which kicks off in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia next month, will open with the world premiere of Saudi feature film Shams Al-Maaref (The Book of Sun), directed by Faris Godus, and produced and starring his brother Suhaib. The duo are known as the Godus brothers.

The Godus brothers came to fame through their work in projects such as Telfaz 11, their short film Depressing Scene (2016) and the Saudi Ramadan TV series Another Planet.

Shams al-Maaref (The Book of Sun) was one of two to receive a $500,000 (Dh1.8 million) production grant from the Tamheed Fund, a one-time award for emerging Saudi filmmakers.

The film captures the story of a generation whose lives are transformed by the internet. Set in 2010, high school senior Husam (Baraa Alem) finds himself drawn into the world of video production, an obsession that takes his focus away from the ordinary pursuits of high school and teenage life.

His best friend Maan (Ismail Alhasan), their one-time foe Ibrahim (Ahmed Saddam), and teacher Orabi (Sohayb Godus) also become preoccupied with the online world and the possibility of a medium that comes to represent freedom to them. The group set out to produce a no-budget horror movie – a wild adventure of self-expression and creativity that their families believe will put their futures at risk. The film is also competing in the Festival’s In Competition category.

"An insider's look at the origins of new cinema in Saudi Arabia, Shams al-Maaref (The Book of Sun) is a fitting opening to the Kingdom's first-ever international film festival. The Godus brothers have created a testament to the passionate community of pioneering filmmakers, who have inspired and drive Saudi cinema culture," said festival director Mahmoud Sabbagh in a statement.

The inaugural Red Sea International Film Festival takes place from March 12 to 21 in Jeddah. For more information visit