Baz Luhrmann has been named president of the Features Competition jury at the upcoming Red Sea International Film Festival. This third edition of the event runs from November 30-December 9 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
The Elvis, Moulin Rouge! and Great Gatsby filmmaker commented, “As a child in the local cinema that we ran near the tiny country town where I grew up, I was mesmerized by the powerful historical and physical landscapes of Lawrence of Arabia. Since that time, I have had an abiding passion for the Arabian world, but after visiting Saudi Arabia, I felt truly inspired by the remarkable young filmmaking talent coming up across the region and to see how they are now capturing the attention of the global film community.”
He called it “an honor” to be presiding over this year’s RSIFF jury, “alongside leading and emerging lights in the industry, and to be part of the evolution of change that is happening through cinema across the Arab region, Asia and Africa.” Further, he noted, “Since the early days of my career, I have experienced the power of storytelling and festivals to open doors and forge bridges between artists and across cultures. I look forward to celebrating both emerging talent and the incredible established auteurs from the region in the vibrant, diverse and distinctive cinematic offering that the festival is becoming renowned for presenting in Jeddah.”
The fest noted the Features Competition of 17 films vying for the Yusr Awards will showcase “the highest achievements from a diverse range of filmmakers from the Arab region, Asia and Africa.”
Mohammed Al Turki, CEO of the RSIFF, said, “As we work towards our third edition, we are delighted to welcome legendary award winning director Baz Luhrmann as the head of the Jury. Baz is a pioneer of pop culture with incredible versatility across the creative fields, and it’s a great honor to have him head our third edition jury presidency. We look forward to announcing the films and celebrating the outstanding filmmaking taking place across the Arab world, Asia and Africa.”