Global stars open Red Sea Film Festival in Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah

Arab, Hollywood, and Bollywood stars made a show-stopping appearance at the Red Sea International Film Festival opening in Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah on Thursday.

The exciting line-up of international celebrities included US actors Johnny Depp and Will Smith, American rapper Kanye West, Lebanese singer Maya Diab, Egyptian actress Yasmine Sabri, Indian cinema icon Ranver Singh, American actress Michelle Williams, and many more.

British actress Amy Jackson, Spanish actress Paz Vega, French actor Lucas Bravo, Lebanese actress Nadine Nassib Njeim, and Brazilian-American model Alessandra Ambrosio were also spotted on the star-studded carpet.

The festival’s third edition – running from 30 November to 9 December – will provide a unique and powerful platform to celebrate film and connect cultures, while welcoming stories from around the world.

The Red Sea International Film Festival launched with the premiere of the Saudi fantasy romance HWJN (2023), directed by Yasir Al Yasiri, at the Opening Night Gala of 2023.

The festival’s ideas of diversity, connection, and cultural exchange – on and off the screens – are manifested in this year’s theme of “Your Story, Your Festival.”

While celebrating cinema on a global scale, the festival sheds a spotlight on films made in the Middle East and North Africa region, including 36 feature-length and short films from Saudi Arabia.

In a statement on the festival’s official website, Mohammed Al-Turki, CEO of the Red Sea Film Foundation, said: “Our theme this year of Your Stories, Your Festival, is born out by the incredible selection of films from the region – which spans both masters as well as debut filmmakers who are testament to the wealth of talent on offer from this part of the world, which is so important to showcase in all its diversity.”

He said it was timely to use film “to look at what connects us.” Al-Turki also said this gives a platform to the voices and experiences of people in the region and beyond to “foster insight, understanding and compassion.”

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