Saudi postpones Red Sea Int'l Film Festival over coronavirus fears

Ahram Online , Wednesday 11 Mar 2020

The inaugural Red Sea International Film Festival was scheduled to take place between 12 and 21 March 2020

Red Sea Festival

The management of the Red Sea International Film Festival announced that it will postpone the event, without providing a new date.

The festival's website reveals that the decision follows the precautionary measures taken by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia "and with our primary consideration being the safety and wellbeing of staff and audiences."

Saudi Arabia's decision reflects the country's general precautions to limit the spread of coronavirus and comes alongside numerous other cancellations of cultural activities.

Egypt expected a high participation in its activities. In December 2019, the organisers revealed that it will honour Egyptian filmmaker Khairy Beshara.

As part of celebrating the filmmaker's work, the Red Sea Film Festival Foundation has remastered and restored nine of Beshara's films, including Floater Number 70 (1982), The Collar and the Bracelet (1986), Sweet Day, Bitter Day (1988), Crab (1990), Ice Cream In Gleam (1992), Strawberry War (1993), and Traffic Light (1995).

The Red Sea Film Festival Foundation, the body behind the festival, has announced that it has restored Egyptian filmmaker Youssef Chahine’s masterpiece Al-Ikhtiyar (The Choice).

Meanwhile, three films from Egypt made it to the list of the Red Sea Shorts competition: Sunday at Five, directed by Sherif El-Bendary; The Other Cheek by Sandro Canaan and Ward’s Henna Party by Morad Mostafa.

The inaugural Red Sea International Film Festival is organised by the Red Sea Film Festival Foundation, being the first Saudi independent non-profit organisation with an official mandate to promote film culture.

Among the foundation's aims is to shed light on Saudi cinema, promoting international cinema to local audiences, and supporting Saudi and international filmmakers while nurturing the cultural scene.

The organisers are yet to reveal the possible new dates of the festival.

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