Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Film Festival announces films for “Next Generation” section

DUBAI: The first International Red Sea Film Festival, which will take place from December 6 to 15, announced on Wednesday the five feature films and the selection of short films that will be presented as part of its Red Sea: Next Generation section.

The films will feature productions created for a younger audience, highlighting animated films, dramas and documentaries from around the world.

Besides the first Arab screenings, the festival will present a wide variety of activities and events, aimed at including the youngest festival-goers.

Artistic Director Edouard Waintrop said in a statement: “We are proud to put so much emphasis on youth cinema at the festival. It is so important for us at RedSeaIFF to remain inclusive of young people, as these young people will undoubtedly play a crucial role in shaping the burgeoning Saudi film industry as it progresses into the future.

The event will see the Arabic premiere of Illumination’s highly anticipated animated feature “Sing 2”, written and directed by award-winning British director Garth Jennings.

This film sees Buster Moon, voiced by Matthew McConaughey, and his performers prepare to throw an extravaganza on stage. It stars Reese Witherspoon, Scarlett Johansson, Tori Kelly, Taron Egerton and many more.

Spanish director Manuel Calvo will present his first film “Champions” with Saudi actors Fatima El-Banawy and Yasser Sagaf. Arrogant and easily annoyed, Khaled is the assistant coach of a major Saudi football team. A manifestation of mood at the end of a match leads him to a disciplinary court, and condemns him to the worst punishment for his disproportionate ego: community service leading to a team of intellectually disabled players.

“Belle: The Dragon and the Freckled Princess,” written and directed by Oscar nominee Mamoru Hosoda, will premiere in Arabic at the festival.

The animated feature film tells the story of a high school student Suzu, who lives with her father in a Japanese village. She discovers U, a virtual world where everyone’s avatar reflects their secret strengths.

In her second feature-length documentary, “Bigger Than Us”, French director Flore Vasseur focuses on a generation rising to mend the world. In the film, Melati, an 18-year-old girl, has been fighting plastic pollution that has ravaged her house in Indonesia for six years.

She travels the world to meet others like her: a Refugee Rescue volunteer in Lesbos, a young Ugandan activist for the ban on underage marriages and an 18-year-old refugee who has founded a school in Lebanon.

“Kiddomania” is a selection of animated short films from directors Nicolas Deveaux, Benjamin Flouw, Remy Dupont, Paulin Cointot, Paul Emile Boucher, Gaspard Roche, Patrick Jean, Evalds Lacis, Paul Bush, Eric Montchaud and Antoine Robert.

The screening will also be accompanied by games.

The closing night of the festival will see the world premiere of award-winning Egyptian writer and director Amr Salama’s latest feature, “Bara El Manhag”. It tells the story of Nour, a 13-year-old orphan living in the countryside in the early 1980s, who is a compulsive liar with vision problems.

To earn the respect of his classmates, he ventures into a haunted house where he finds a lonely old man hiding from the world. A friendship is born between the boy and the old man, initiating a journey of self-discovery.


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Gerald R. Schneider