Source: Film AlUla

Hegra, AlUla

Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Fund has partnered with the region’s Film AlUla to offer a production grant for filmmakers with projects set in AlUla.

At least 10 projects from Saudi Arabia, the Arab regions and Africa will be selected to receive grants as part of Red Sea Fund’s third production cycle.

Submissions will be judged on the quality of the production, talent and script as well as basing a portion of the project in AlUla – at least 15% of screen time for features and 40% for shorts. In addition to the grant, projects will receive additional financial, logistical and administrative support on-the-ground.

Recipients of the fund will be encouraged use AlUla’s internal and external spaces, which includes luxury resorts, colourful dunes, rock formations, mountains, riverbeds and valleys.

The Red Sea Fund and Film AlUla will be named as co-producers by the films selected for funding, and Saudi Arabia will be named as a co-production country. The level of funding that will be awarded has not been disclosed.

Mohammed Al Turki, CEO of the Red Sea Film Foundation, said: “Our aim as an organisation is to uplift and support filmmakers from the Arab and African region and to promote the industry in Saudi Arabia. We are delighted to have Film AlUla as a partner on this third cycle of funding, which will provide fund recipients the opportunity to bring their creative visions to life on the big screen as well as showcase the beauty and diversity of this country, with the backing of two significant partners.”

Saudi has seen a spike in production and requests to scout locations since launching its 40% cash rebate last year.

Film AlUla, the film agency of the Royal Commission for AlUla, is helping drive the development of the film and TV industry in the northwest part of the country, with two new studios set to open there in August.

The Red Sea Film Fund launched in 2021 with a budget of $10m to support emerging filmmakers and established directors from the Arab world and Africa. It has supported more 170 films to date, eight of which were selected for this year’s Cannes Film Festival including Mother of All Lies, winner of best director for Asmae el Moudir; Omen, winner of best new voice for filmmaker Baloji; Kamal Lazraq’s Hounds, winner of the jury prize; and Mohamed Kordofani’s Goodbye Julia, recipient of the Freedom Prize.

Further Cannes titles included Inshallah A Boy by Amjad Al Rasheed, Four Daughters by Kaouther Ben Hania, Banel E Adama by Ramata-Toulaye Sy and the opening film Jeanne Du Barry by Maiwenn.