Cinema Al-Hara: Saudi Arabia's Red Sea Film Festival offers first-of-its-kind community outreach programme

Ahram Online , Saturday 16 Oct 2021

Aiming to raise interest in film and create accessibility to the industry, Saudi Arabia's Red Sea International Film Festival launches Cinema Al-Hara.

Cinema Al Hara
(Photo: Red Sea International Film Festival)

Cinema Al Hara addresses people of all ages with numerous outdoor master classes and film screenings taking place in various Jeddah neighbourhoods between 9 and 30 October.

"With this community outreach programme, the company [in charge of the festival] is targeting the Saudi youth specifically to inspire the next generation of filmmakers who might otherwise not have considered filmmaking as a career," an official press release said, adding that the programme is also open to all Jeddah residents to engage and participate in the master classes and films.

As the organisers of the Red Sea International Film Festival clarify, Cinema Al-Hara includes master classes by six directors and three actors from around the Kingdom joined by the cinema community.

The programme will focus on shooting a scene in front of a live audience with guidance from the directors and actors present, allowing the audience to be immersed in an experiential journey. According to the programme's organizers, between three and five audience members are chosen based on their ticket numbers to participate in filming the scene as extras or as part of the crew.

Part of the Red Sea International Film Festival which is scheduled to take place between 6 and 15 December, the Cinema Al-Hara programme aims to boost Saudi's film industry while bringing the audience closer to its operations and the movies. The programme will also reinvigorate the viewers' interest in the upcoming festival.

The festival was originally scheduled for March 2020, but it was postponed until 11 November 2021 due to the Coronavirus pandemic. It has then been pushed forward to 6 December.

Eleven program sections will showcase contemporary international and Arab cinema, Saudi features, shorts and experimental films, retrospectives, and future-oriented AR and VR experiences.

"The Festival exists to support a vibrant film community and is dedicated to supporting the best in global cinema," according to a statement published on the festival's official website.

"We are excited to encounter new talent from Saudi Arabia and the region, alongside the best in Asian, African, and Global cinema," it added.

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