Hollywood stars help kick off Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Film Festival

Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Film Festival kicked off its second edition in Jeddah on Friday with a host of Hollywood stars and celebrities from across the world making dazzling appearances on the red carpet.

The festival – which will feature 131 films and short films from 61 countries in 41 languages, including both established and emerging talent – will run until December 10.

Priyanka Chopra poses on the red carpet at the Red Sea Film Festival in Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah on December 1, 2022. (Twitter)
Priyanka Chopra poses on the red carpet at the Red Sea Film Festival in Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah on December 1, 2022. (Twitter)

Celebrities who walked the red carpet on Friday to mark the official launch of the festival included Saudi actress Mila Alzahrani, Egyptian actors Hussein Fahmy, Yousra and Nelly Karim, Hollywood actors Michelle Rodriguez and Lucy Hale, Lebanese actors Nicolas Mouawad and Nadine Nassib Njeim, Australian director Andrew Dominik, South Korean actor Park Hae Soo and Indian actors Shah Rukh Khan and Bollywood sensation Priyanka Chopra.

Egyptian actress Yousra poses on the red carpet at the Red Sea Film Festival in Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah on December 1, 2022. (Twitter)
Egyptian actress Yousra poses on the red carpet at the Red Sea Film Festival in Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah on December 1, 2022. (Twitter)
Hollywood actress Lucy Hale poses on the red carpet at the Red Sea Film Festival in Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah on December 1, 2022. (Twitter)
Hollywood actress Lucy Hale poses on the red carpet at the Red Sea Film Festival in Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah on December 1, 2022. (Twitter)

Held in partnership with VOX Cinemas and MBC Group, the festival, opened with ‘What’s Love Got to Do with It?,’ a romantic comedy directed by Shekhar Kapur whose movies Elizabeth (1998) and Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007) earned him wide acclaim.

Egyptian actress Nelly Karim poses on the red carpet at the Red Sea Film Festival in Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah on December 1, 2022. (Twitter)
Egyptian actress Nelly Karim poses on the red carpet at the Red Sea Film Festival in Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah on December 1, 2022. (Twitter)

Several new Saudi films will be shown alongside the best of new international cinema, featuring 25 new films from Saudi filmmakers, the festival said in a statement.

In addition to showing movies, the festival includes conversations that will allow attendees to hear filmmakers and actors talk about their career.

Those in the line-up include Hollywood actors Sharon Stone and Andy Garcia, Lebanese director and actress Nadine Labaki and Indian actor Ranbir Kapoor.

Lebanese director and actress Nadine Labaki poses on the red carpet at the Red Sea Film Festival in Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah on December 1, 2022. (Twitter)
Lebanese director and actress Nadine Labaki poses on the red carpet at the Red Sea Film Festival in Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah on December 1, 2022. (Twitter)

Commenting on the festival, CEO Mohammed al-Turki said the event does not only serve as a clear indictor of change, but it also plays a significant role “in transforming and reshaping the future for our next generation of creatives.”

“We have a unique opportunity to make new films accessible to wider audiences, showcase the work of exciting new voices and make a meaningful contribution to the Saudi culture and wider region,” al-Turki said.

“We are excited to welcome film lovers, storytellers, talent and industry professionals from around the world to Jeddah for our second edition, which I hope will exceed expectations,” he added.

Also attending Friday’s red carpet event was legendary filmmaker Oliver Stone, who leads the judging panel during this year’s festival.

Oliver Stone poses on the red carpet at the Red Sea Film Festival in Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah on December 1, 2022. (Twitter)
Oliver Stone poses on the red carpet at the Red Sea Film Festival in Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah on December 1, 2022. (Twitter)

Stone attended along with the other members of the jury which includes Georgian director Levan Koguashvili and Tunisian director Kaouther Ben Hania.

The festival also includes the Red Sea Souk which will host events to foster co-production, international distribution, and encourage new business opportunities.

Representatives from 46 countries will attend the Souk which runs from December 3 until December 6.

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