The Red Sea Film Festival Foundation has unveiled the recipients of its first post-production grants of 2023.
Eight projects by Saudi, Arab and African filmmakers will receive grants to help complete films that spotlight narratives and new talents emerging from the region.
They include Omen, the feature debut of Belgian-Congolese artist-turned filmmaker Baloji, which is set to premiere in Un Certain Regard at Cannes on Monday (May 22). Memento International handles sales on the film, in which a young Congolese man travels from Belgium to his birthplace of Kinshasa to confront the intricacies of his family and culture.
“This underpins the Red Sea Film Festival’s mission to advocate for filmmakers who are leading the way and inspiring a new generation of creatives,” said a statement from the foundation.
Further titles receiving support include Dead Dog from Lebanese director Sarah Francis, whose documentary As Above, So Below played in the Berlinale Forum in 2020. Her fiction feature debut centres on an old married couple who explore their relationship for the first time in years.
Holes marks the latest feature from Saudi filmmaker Abdulmohsen Aldhabaan, whose drama Last Visit premiered at Karlovy Vary in 2019.
Tunisian filmmaker Lotfi Achour received a grant for Red Path, a drama set in an isolated region of Tunisia’s northwest where terrorists attacked two young shepherds in 2015. Achour’s short, Law Of Lamb, played in competition at Cannes in 2016 and Red Path marks his second feature after Burning Hope, also released in 2016.
Arab-US director Oday Rasheed returns with Songs Of Adam, which follows a 12-year-old Iraqi farm boy. Rasheed’s previous features Underexposure and Qarantina both screened at International Film Festival Rotterdam.
Mohammed Al Turki, CEO of the Red Sea Film Foundation, said the grants would provide ”a vital step in helping filmmakers get their projects completed and ready for distribution and exhibition”.
Red Sea funded films
Cycle 1, 2023: post-production
Dir. Ali Saeed
Ressacs, A Taureg Story (Mauritania, Mali)
Dir. Intagrist El Ansari
Run For Life
Dir. Bachar Khattar (Leb)
Fiction feature projects
Dead Dog (Leb-Fr)
Dir. Sarah Francis
Dir. Abdulmohsen Aldhabaan
Red Path (Tun-Fr)
Dir. Lotfi Achour
Songs Of Adam (Iraq-Neth)
Dir. Oday Rasheed