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Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Souk introduces programs for aspiring filmmakers

Talent days, industry discussions, and networking sessions will be held during the Red Sea International Film Festival

Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Souk introduces programs for aspiring filmmakers
[Source photo: Anvita Gupta/Fast Company Middle East]

Saudi Arabia’s movie industry has grown exponentially and has been expanding since its policy on leisure and entertainment changed in 2017, which included reopening the movie theaters. It’s clear there’s a large domestic appetite for them: Hundreds of movie theaters have sprung up across the country, and revenues at movie theaters are rising, generating $238 million in 2021.

Last year, the Ministry of Investment announced the kingdom’s vision of financing the creation of 100 films by 2030 during the Red Sea Film Festival in Jeddah.

This year, the Red Sea Souk presented three initiatives to assist emerging filmmakers during the film festival in Jeddah, starting on December 1. The festival will include talent days, Red Sea 360 industry discussions, and networking sessions.

Talent days, a series of gatherings, workshops, and activities, will take place on December 7-8 to foster a new generation of filmmakers.

“It is an initiation into the cinema industry for aspiring filmmakers through inspiring talks and individual meetings to help the ideas in their heads take a more tangible form,” according to the festival’s website.

Similarly, the Red Sea 360 will host four discussions, including up to 13 workshops on financing, co-productions, tax incentives, sales and distribution, streaming, music, storytelling, episodic content, and the metaverse.

The networking sessions aim to allow aspiring filmmakers and newcomers to the profession to meet important industry figures in casual, 15-minute speed meetings.

“We warmly welcome all participants to hear from some of the best industry key players and to make the most of these mentoring and matchmaking opportunities,” said Myriam Arab, lead consultant for the Red Sea Souk.

The film festival will screen 131 feature-length and short films from 61 nations, with 34 being world debuts, 17 regional premieres, and 47 MENA premieres.

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