Red Sea International Film Festival 2022 guide: Galas, glitz and gongs

Red Sea International Film Festival 2022 guide: Galas, glitz and gongs



Catch Jemima Khan’s rom-com, Sam Mendes’ homage to the magic of cinema, and Oliver Stone as a jury member. 

Lights, camera, Saudi. Film lovers will be delighted to hear that the Red Sea International Film Festival is back and runs from 1 to 10 December in Jeddah. The festival puts Arab cinema in the spotlight, and brings together film screenings, masterclasses, talks and workshops. Best of all, you can attend everything from red carpet galas to conversations with award-winning directors. 

No longer content with playing a supporting role, Saudi Arabia is ready for its close-up. Since the reopening of cinemas, the kingdom has become a film location attracting the likes of Gerard Butler and Tom Holland, and launched its very own film festival. Red Sea International Film Festival started in 2019, and this year’s theme is Film is Everything. 

The festival is packed with film-friendly events: Red Sea Souk is a networking platform, which runs from 3 to 6 December; Talent Days nurtures new filmmakers and runs from 7 to 8 December; and The Red Sea Competition, which showcases work across feature and short films, is awarded on 8 December. 

Mohammed Al Turki, CEO of Red Sea International Film Festival, explains: “The Red Sea International Film Festival is cementing its position as a unique and powerful platform for celebrating film, connecting cultures, and expanding our horizons. Film is Everything encapsulates the festival this year – a bold, cinematic, progressive, and cultural ten-day event for film lovers, storytellers, talent and industry professionals from around the globe. 

“Our programmers have curated the best of Arab and international cinema, talent led galas of some of the most anticipated films of the year, and an exceptional selection from astonishing new Saudi talents who are paving the way in our country's flourishing industry.”

Must-see movies from Sam Mendes to Khaled Fahd  

Red Sea International Film Festival opens with What’s Love Got to do With it?, a cross-cultural British romantic comedy set in London and Lahore. Starring Lily James, Shazad Latif and Emma Thompson, it follows a second-generation British Pakistani man’s arranged marriage. The film is written by Jemima Khan, who has an insight into South Asian culture, as she was once married to the former Prime Minister of Pakistan and cricket player, Imran Khan.  

The festival closes with Saudi writer and director Khaled Fahd’s film, Valley Road. Starring Hamad Farhan and Naif Khalaf, it follows Alwadi who is perceived by his family as having a disability. 

Red Sea International Film Festival’s line-up includes Saudi director Fahad Alammari’s Alkhallat+; Lebanese director Lara Saba’s All Roads Lead to Rome; South Korean drama Broker starring Parasite actor Song Kang Hoactor Colin Farrell’s latest film, The Banshees of Inisherin; Oscar-winning director Sam Mendes’ Empire of the Light, with Olivia Coleman and Colin Firth; and the family-friendly Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, starring Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek. 

Special guests from Gurinder Chadha to Oliver Stone 

Red Sea International Film Festival’s jury is led by legendary American film director Oliver Stone. The three-time Oscar winner is behind classic films including PlatoonBorn on the Fourth of July and Nixon

In conversation sessions include the German film director Fatih Akin, whose work includes The Edge of Heaven and In the Fade. Fatih’s new documentary Rheingold, a biopic of the German rapper Xatar, will premiere at the festival. 

Director Gurinder Chadha, the first-ever British Asian woman to direct a feature film, will discuss her career and the global smash Bend it like Beckham. Guests also include the Egyptian stars Mona Zaki and Hussein Fahmy, and Tunisian director and Oscar nominee Kaouther Ben Hania. 

Tickets are available now and start from SAR90. Roll out the red carpet, Saudi.  

GO: Visit for more information.