Oliver Stone Named Jury President of Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Film Festival, Lineup Unveiled

The Red Sea International Film Festival in Saudi Arabia has named Oliver Stone its jury president and unveiled the program for its second edition, which will run Dec. 1-10 in Jeddah.

“Legendary filmmaker Oliver Stone has been chosen to lead the jury of the Red Sea: Features Competition jury,” organizers said. “The three-time Academy Award winner is behind some of the all-time masterpieces of cinema, including ScarfaceThe DoorsWall StreetJFKMidnight ExpressPlatoonBorn on the Fourth of JulyNixon and Natural Born Killers.”

The festival also unveiled its opening film: What’s Love Got to Do With It?, directed by Shekhar Kapur (ElizabethBandit Queen), written by Jemima Khan and produced by StudioCanal and Working Title. The film stars Lily James, Shazad Latif, Shabana Azmi, Sajal Aly, Asim Chaudhry and Emma Thompson. “Sliding between London and Lahore, love and friendship, tradition and iconoclasm, What’s Love Got to Do with It? is a cross-cultural British romantic comedy that follows a filmmaker who decides to document her best friend’s journey towards an arranged marriage,” the fest said. 

Meanwhile, its closing film will be  the world premiere of Valley Road from Saudi writer and director Khaled Fahd and starring Hamad Farhan, Naif Khalaf and Aseel Omran. “An uplifting and enchanting feature that follows Ali who is perceived by his family and the people of the beautiful Saudi Arabian mountain village where he lives, Alwadi, as having a disability,” according to a plot description. “Only his older sister Siham recognizes that his difference is part of him. The film beautifully explores human values and encounters that can forge a personality and invites us to take a better look at the fragile people around us.”

The Red Sea International Film Festival overall will screen 131 feature films and shorts from 61 countries in 41 languages “from both established and emerging talent” and will host 34 world premieres, 17 Arab premieres and 47 Middle East and North Africa premieres, “with a number of filmmakers and actors in attendance for many of the films,” organizers said. More films are expected to be added in the coming weeks.

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