The recipients of the Red Sea Fund’s production and post-production cycles in 2022 were announced by the Red Sea Film Festival Foundation. Grants totaling $1 million will be awarded to complete the production of 36 films by Saudi, Arab, and African filmmakers who are bringing attention to significant stories and new talents in their respective regions. There were many applications for the 2022 production cycle of the Red Sea Fund, and after careful consideration by a team of professional readers, only 53 were chosen. The final 25 films were chosen from an original pool of 53 and represent a wide range of genres and formats, including narrative features, documentaries, animations, television series, shorts, and even an immersive film.
The Red Sea Film Festival
Several highly regarded directors, including Annemarie Jacir, Haifaa Al-Mansour, Cherian Dabis, and Kaouther Ben Haniawere, were recently given substantial grants to help them bring their original stories to the big screen. This supports the Red Sea Film Festival’s goal of promoting women filmmakers who are breaking ground and motivating the next generation of artists, like Saudi director Sara Mesfer, who will use the award money to make her first feature film.
Captain Mbaye, directed by Joel Karekezi, and Aicha, directed by Mehdi M. Barsaoui, were two of the films that had received development funding from the Red Sea Fund in the past and were ultimately chosen for production. Among the projects selected for funding was Ameer Fakher Eldin’s ‘Yunan.’
The quality of submissions this year has been impressive, said Mohammed Al-Turki, CEO of the Red Sea International Film Festival Foundation, which made it difficult to narrow the selection down to 25. In addition, he said they are confident that the Red Sea Funds will back the winners throughout the creative process. Thus allowing them to more effectively spread these vital stories and present a wealth of promising new and established talent from Saudi Arabia, the Arab world, and Africa.
In the post-production phase, 28 projects were chosen, and 11 were awarded post-production grants. One of these was the Final Cut Prize–winning film “Blacklight” by director Karim Bensalah and producer Oualid Baha. Also, “Norah,” a Saudi film shot in AlUla and directed by Tawfik Alzaidi and produced by Paul Miller.
Red Sea International Film Festival Managing Director Shivani Pandya also noted that the quality of film proposals they receive has been rising steadily over the years. The Red Sea International Film Festival considers it an honor and a pleasure to assist filmmakers from Saudi Arabia, Africa, and the Arab region in gaining exposure for their films.
The Red Sea International Film Festival brings together aspiring and established Arab filmmakers from around the world for networking and festival competition in both feature and short film categories.
The Red Sea Fund was set up to help filmmakers by making it easier for them to get funds and recognition for their work. There have been many more recipients of the Red Sea Fund.