Spike Lee to attend Saudi Arabia's first international film festival

The award-winning director's 1992 film 'Malcolm X' will have a special screening

US director Spike Lee attends the 2020 Vanity Fair Oscar Party following the 92nd Oscars at The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills on February 9, 2020.  / AFP / Jean-Baptiste Lacroix
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Jeddah's Red Sea International Film Festival, the first of its kind in Saudi Arabia, will host a special screening of Malcolm X (1992), which will be attended by its Academy award-winning director Spike Lee.

Malcom X has a history with the Kingdom: it was the first Hollywood feature film to be given permission to film in the holy city of Mecca.

The film festival runs from Thursday, March 12 to Saturday, March 21; Lee will attend the earlier part of the festival, with the Malcolm X screening on Friday, March 13.

The film tells the story of African-American civil rights activist Malcolm X, played by Denzel Washington.

The film gave Washington his second Oscar nomination; he also won the Silver Bear for Best Actor for it at the 43rd Berlin International Film Festival.

Speaking to The National in Dubai last year, Lee said that Washington is "the most intelligent actor on earth", explaining how the actor prepared for the role in a method way.

“There was no pork on his fork and no alcohol. He learnt how to pray in Arabic and he studied the Quran," he said. “There are many biopics, but just because you talk and look like the subject, that is only the surface.”

American director Oliver Stone will also attend the Red Sea film festival, heading up its jury.

The 16 films running in-competition at the festival 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 runs from Thursday, March 12 to Saturday, March 21.