The Red Sea International Film Festival, which is in its second year, got off to a blockbuster start in Jeddah, drawing strong star power from Hollywood, Bollywood, and the Arab film industry.
The festival has seen an eye-catching parade of celebrities such as Sharon Stone, British director Guy Ritchie, Egyptian icon Yousra, Elle Macpherson, Jessica Alba, Andy Garcia, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, and Shah Rukh Khan over the past few days. Hussein Fahmy, Yousra, and Nelly Karim from Egypt, as well as Saudi actress Mila Al Zahrani, were seen at the festival.
“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,” said Mohammed Al Turki, chief executive of the festival.
Other Indian celebrities sighted at the festival include husband-wife duo Kareena Kapoor Khan and Saif Ali Khan, Sonam Kapoor Ahuja, composer A.R. Rahman, and Freida Pinto.
Other famous international celebrities who marked their presence include Lucy Hale, and Michelle Rodriguez, who walked the Women in Cinema red carpet. Model Alessandra Ambrosio, Gurinder Chadha, Park Hae-soo, and Oliver Stone, serving as jury president, are among the other well-known attendees.
Superstars from Lebanon, like Nicolas Mouawad and Nadine Nassib Njeim, also attended the opening gala. Director Nadine Labaki, whose film Capernaum won awards at Cannes and the Oscars, is also expected at the festival.
This year’s theme is Film Is Everything, which celebrates movies not just as means of entertainment but as a tool that brings cultures together. The festival is divided into 11 sections designed to showcase Arab and international cinema. The festival is showcasing 131 feature films and shorts from 61 countries in 41 languages. Seven feature films and 24 shorts from Saudi Arabia will also be shown.