The Red Sea Souk, an initiative designed to discover and connect Arab and African filmmakers from the region, will host its first edition this December 8 – 11, 2021 as part of the Red Sea International Film Festival. It will comprise a Project Market, screenings of films in-progress, an exhibition space hosting the main players of the region, high-level panels and industry talks and many networking opportunities with industry professionals and decision makers from around the world.
The Red Sea Souk is committed to supporting filmmakers from the Arab World and Africa and to offering them a platform where they can further develop and finance their projects and connect with the film industry. More than 350 professionals will be in attendance this December in Jeddah.
Three cash prizes are offered by the Red Sea Fund, to be awarded by two juries. The Project Market’s jury will award $25,000 for development and $100,000 for production and the Films In-Progress jury will grant $30,000 for post-production. Participating projects are also eligible for additional awards funded by the Red Sea Souk’s sponsors and partners.
The acclaimed jury includes Palestinian director, writer and producer Annemarie Jacir (Wajib, When I Saw You, Salt of the Sea), poet, scriptwriter and founder of the Saudi Film Festival held in Dammam since 2008, Ahmed AlMulla, general director of the Fespaco, Alex Moussa Sawadogo and German producer Thanassis Karathanos (The Gravedigger’s Wife, The Man Who Sold His Skin, It Must be Heaven). Two more jury members will be announced soon.
Red Sea International Film Festival Artistic Director Edouard Waintrop explained: “In creating the Red Sea Souk, the Festival is continuing to show its dedication to championing new talent that will showcase the diversity of unfamiliar stories and open the doors for industry-backed professional development and networking support. The selected projects for the first edition stand out as bold and compelling narratives that will allow us to better understand the region and beyond. I’m excited to see these projects eventually reach audiences around the world.”
Managing Director Shivani Pandya Malhotra added: “Our aim is to create an established, vibrant film ecosystem that both supports and attracts exciting confirmed and emerging Arab and African talents to develop their projects within an international space, whilst also retaining what is unique and diverse about our burgeoning, young film industry. There is huge potential in the region and the Red Sea Souk is the perfect platform to discover, develop and fund new and exciting writers, directors and producers to further build their presence within the industry and on the global stage.”