Twelve Arab projects have been selected for development at the Red Sea Lodge 2021, the Red Sea Film Festival announced on Thursday.
Six of the projects are from Saudi Arabia while the rest come from Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, and Lebanon.
The 12 filmmaking teams will gather virtually four times, then come together in person in Jeddah for the inaugural Red Sea International Film Festival. Half of the projects feature women in the roles of directors and producers.
The teams will pitch their vision to international production companies, with two lucky teams being granted $100,000 by an independent jury of experts. The winning movies will premiere at the festival, which is scheduled to take place in 2022.
In addition to securing funds, the winning teams will also get the chance to learn firsthand from professionals in the field.
TorinoFilmLab will collaborate with the teams during an eight-month monitoring program that will allow them to explore every stage of filmmaking.
This program will include workshops by expert tutors and international film professionals to further develop the 12 projects.
The projects cover genres and topics including fantasy, self-discovery, biopics, romance, mental health, family and more.
Some of the stories explore major moments of social transformation, like early oil speculation, and the expansion of the Mongol empire.
The committee that selected the 12 teams are industry experts. They include TorinoFilmLab executive director, Savina Neirotti, the festival’s Arab program director Antoine Khalife, its director of international programming Kaleem Aftab, and adviser Edouard Waintrop.
It was supported by a team of readers, including film producer and director Faisal Alharbi, and film producer and script consultant Deema Azar.