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Red Sea Film Festival honors in Venice women protagonists of Arab cinema

Red Sea Film Festival press office

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Venice, Italy – 3 September 2022: The Red Sea International Film Festival (RSIFF) and Vanity Fair have come together to celebrate visionary female talent both on and behind the camera who are shaping the film industry and creating extraordinary stories that resonate with audiences around the world.  

At a gala event hosted alongside the 79th Venice International Film Festival at the Palazzo Rocca Contarini Corfù, the RSIFF and Vanity Fair honoured six remarkable women working at the heart of the Arab film industry. 

The gala event shone the spotlight on a trio of trailblazing talent from Saudi Arabia including the acclaimed filmmaker Haifaa al-Mansour (Wadjda, Perfect Candidate, Mary Shelley), award winning actress and filmmaker Ahd Kamel (Collateral, Honour, Wadjda) and exciting one to watch Sumaya Rida (Rupture, Rashash). They were joined by Oscar nominee Kaouther Ben Hania (The Man Who Sold His Skin, Beauty and the Dogs), celebrated actress Hend Sabry (Finding Ola, Noura’s Dream, Asmaa) and Dorra Zarrouk (Walls, Zombie Goes Zombie) all hailing from Tunisia. 

Haifaa al-Mansour explained: “I am incredibly honoured to return to Venice Film Festival for the Women in Cinema Gala. I am very thankful to Vanity Fair for including me in this incredible event with all of these extraordinary women. Venice has been my “home” festival since the launch of my first film ‘Wadjda’ here ten years ago. I was overjoyed to return to Venice for my follow up Saudi film, ‘The Perfect Candidate’, and hope to return with another Saudi film very soon!”

Shivani Pandya Malthora; Managing Director; Mohammed Al Turki; CEO of the Red Sea International Film Festival and Simone Marchetti; Vanity Fair European Editorial Director and Editor in Chief also welcomed to the event; Isabelle Huppert, Carla Bruni, Nadine Labaki, Sabrina Carpenter, Philippine Leroy, Brina Knauss, Rocio Muñoz Morales, Sarah Tiba, Sarah Gadon, Beatrice Venezi, Maria Pedraza, Nicole Rossi and Claudio Santamaria.

Shivani Pandya Malhotra, Managing Director of the RedSeaIFF, said: “The Red Sea International Film Festival has an important role to play in ensuring women’s stories are showcased to as many people as possible and providing a platform to ensure their voices are heard. We strive to establish ways for women to succeed as storytellers as they continue to shape our cultural landscape. Together with Vanity Fair we are celebrating women who are leading the way and inspiring a new generation of creatives.”

Mohammed Al Turki; CEO of the RedSeaIFF added: “I’m thrilled to see the rise of women filmmakers making a mark on the world of cinema and with our friends at Vanity Fair we honour these brilliant women as they continue to take the industry by storm, breaking stereotypes and bringing fresh narratives to the screen. We’re grateful for their amazing contributions and cannot wait to see what they do next.”

The second edition of the Red Sea International Film Festival will run in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia from December 1-10, 2022. 

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Managing Editor of European Union & Italian Political Affairs

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