After the success of its inaugural event, The Red Sea International Film Festival (RSIFF) has come back to hold its second round of film competitions in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, from the first to the 10th of December. This celebration of cinema is rallying support for its homegrown talent this year with its new competition category: New Cinema/New Saudi. The category is a first for the RSIFF, which has previously hosted a wide range of international films alongside those from the MENA region, making the distinction all the more special. This year, 11 of the films will be world premieres in the New Cinema/New Saudi category, in addition to five international premieres within the same section. Over the course of 10 days, we’ll see new and established voices from the MENA region come together in Jeddah for the RSIFF; familiarise yourself with them here before jumping in line to see the films.
Last Chance to Fall in Love
Last Chance To Fall In Love is a moving film directed by Faisal Buhishi that captures undying romance, as lovers reunite after half a decade spent apart.
Ali Basaeed’s dramatic film, Casting will play at RSIFF this year. Viewers will watch as the film’s protagonist copes with people meddling in his life and the consequences he faces for pushing them away.
The Child in his Closet
This award-winning film by Khaled Zidan challenges audiences to examine the effect that childhood memories have on us through experimental storytelling.
Requiem for Silence
Majed Z. Samman’s film Requiem for Silence is one of the films in the New Cinema/New Saudi category at RedSeaIFF, which is set to shock audiences with its enemies-to-friends storyline.
A Swing is a promising story by Raneem Almohandis and Dana Almohandis about the palpability of childhood fantasies. Audiences will watch as a 10-year-old girl, called Leen, ventures off into nearby woods to locate a magical swing her father promised to take her to before his military leave.
Tea Leaf is a tender and thoughtful film by Mohammed Baqer that follows a man who contemplates the past as he replays scenes from his failed marriage and struggles with the separation.
When Red Blooms
Tala Alharbi’s award-winning film, When Red Blooms, adeptly captures the psychological pressures of girlhood with an astute look into the mind of a young woman battling with herself to achieve an unhealthy level of perfectionism.
YALLAH, YALLAH, BEENAH!
Yallah, Yallah, Beenah! is the brainchild of the film director, Mohammed Hammad. This creative film will hypnotise audiences to the screen, between its group of pre-teens on psychedelic adventures to its scheming coven of witches.
Old Phone Number
The title of Ali Saeed’s film Old Phone Number hints at a reconnection with someone from our past, which is exactly what happens to the film’s protagonist during his spiritual journey to Mecca. Audiences will watch as a man is derailed from his healing trip to meet someone from long ago.
Forgive Me is a film by director Jubril Mohammad, which tells the story of a romance gone wrong. After being left at the altar, a young bride tracks down her runaway husband on a quest for answers to his actions.
Salma Murad’s film Kabreet follows the story of a young man at war with himself, who is trying to find a connection between his emotional being and his memories. The further he goes looking for answers, the more he puts his well-being at risk.
In Khaled Zidan’s psychologically intense film, Othman, we watch as an ordinary man gains a new lease on life after coming to terms with the realities of his own.
Fahad Alotaibi’s film Forward is a treat for science fiction lovers who will watch as a hacker’s life is turned around after receiving a foreboding phone call from someone from the future.
Lucky You’re Mine
Noura Abushosha’s heart-touching film, Lucky You’re Mine, tells a modern-day love story set in Saudi Arabia, where a pair of newlyweds are tested after one partner undergoes a bipolar manic episode after tragically losing a parent. This film captures the high stakes of marriage and how far loyalty to one’s partner will go in tough times.
Memories from the North
Memories From The North is a documentary following the aftermath of The Gulf War, from the perspective of people who lived through it. The film’s director, Abdulmohsen Almutairi, and the film crew set out to gain and share insight into what this war means to people 30 years later.
At first glance, one might think that Hussain Al-Mutlaq’s film Zabarjad is a typical homecoming story, where a man returns from college anew. That is until the protagonist’s life is turned upside down by an unexpected visitor, who forces him to leave his hometown again.