Female Arab directors Haifaa Al Mansour and Kaouther Ben Hania win Saudi film grants

Films by Kaouther Ben Hania and Haifaa Al Mansour are among 36 projects from the Arab world and Africa to be funded by the Red Sea International Film Festival.

Mime, a new feature film by Ben Hania, whose previous film The man who sold his skin was nominated for the Oscar 2021 will receive the scholarship. Additionally, miss camel, Also winning is a feature film by Al Mansour, which tells the story of a Saudi teenager who tries to escape an arranged marriage and attend an art school abroad.

Saudi Arabian director and 'Un Certain Regard' jury member Haifaa al-Mansour poses during a photocall at the 68th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, southeastern France May 14, 2015. AFP PHOTO / LOIC VENANCE / AFP PHOTO / LOIC VENANCE

Two of the films selected for the grant were previously supported by the Red Sea Fund during the development phase, including Captain Mbayedirected by Joel Karekezi from Rwanda, and AichaDirected by Mehdi M Barsaoui from Tunisia.

Ameer Fakher Eldins Yunnan was also selected for funding. Eldin, who was born in Ukraine to Syrian parents, now lives in Hamburg. The film participated at the Red Sea International Film Festival Project Market, which took place on the sidelines of the festival. The aim of the event is to bring together producers of new film projects with international financiers in the industry.

All that’s left of you by Palestinian-American writer, director, and actress Cherien Dabis and everything in front of you by Palestinian filmmaker Annemarie Jacir were also selected.

The grant reinforces the Red Sea Film Festival’s mission to champion local women filmmakers, whether they are established or emerging names, according to the organizers. This includes the Saudi filmmaker Sara Mesfer, who received a grant for her debut film.

Scroll through the gallery below to check it out Winner of Yusr Awards 2022

The fund awards 25 films in pre-production, including feature films, documentaries, animation, series, short films and immersive projects. In addition, 11 films that are in post-production will be funded.

“We were impressed with the quality of the entries received this year, making it a challenge to narrow the selection down to 25,” said Mohammed Al Turki, executive director of the Red Sea International Film Festival Foundation.

“We are confident that the Red Sea Funds will support the winners in the creative process to help share these important stories and showcase an array of exciting new and established Saudi, Arab and African talent.”

The 11 films that received post-production grants include: noraa Saudi film filmed in Al-Ula, directed by Tawfik Alzaidi and produced by Paul Miller; black light, directed by Karim Bensalah and produced by Oualid Baha, which won the Final Cut award at the Venice Film Festival; And third partyLebanese filmmaker Karim Kassem directed the film.

“The 11 selected films show tremendous potential as groundbreaking stories that will capture the imagination of global audiences and will benefit most from a recent increase in funding to allow these films to reach their full potential,” added Al Turki.

Scroll through the gallery below to see photos from the red carpet Red Sea International Film Festival 2022

Updated Jan 19, 2023 10:36 am

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