After a year of heavy promotion at all major film festivals, only the second edition of Saudi Arabia’s own Red Sea Film Festival managed to pack that kind of star-studded opening night Even the red carpet that Cannes would be proud of.
An impressive assortment of attendees opened Thursday at the huge, palatial and utterly glitzy Ritz-Carlton in the coastal city of Jeddah What is Love Got to Do With It?
including Sharon Stone, Guy Ritchie, Shah Rukh Khan, Luca Guadagnino, Priyanka et al Chopra, Nadine Labaki, Andy Garcia, Oliver Stone, Henry Golding, Michelle Rodriguez, Frieda Pinto , Yusra, Gaspar No, Gurinder Chada, Rosie De Palma, Melanie Laurent, Andrew Dominique, Lucy Hale and Scott E. Sterwood, along with film director Shekhar Kapoor and writer Jamie Mahhan. If there was any difficulty attracting stars and industry figures to a festival that has been accused of Saudi cultural cleansing to distract attention from human rights abuses, it was not evident here.
At the opening ceremony, under the giant chandelier in the hotel’s main auditorium, Festival CEO Mohammed Al Turki presented Ritchie, Khan and Yousra with the festival’s honorary awards. Meanwhile, jury foreman Oliver Stone took to the stage to explain that he believed Saudi Arabia’s image on the world stage was distorted, adding that he thought “people who judged it too harshly should Come and see for yourself.”
Others were equally enthusiastic, and Rich said that in a country with a fledgling film industry, “it feels great to encourage cultural collaboration”. Over the next few days, Rich will deliver special presentations alongside Spike Lee, Jackie Chan, Sharon Stone, Labaki, Guadagnino, Garcia and Noe.
“I feel like the narrative has shifted somewhere,” Kapoor said while introducing and what does love have to do with it? , first bow in Toronto. “I see enterprise and enthusiasm. Somewhere the wind needs to change. For a long time, they came from the West to the East. It needs to rise again from the desert.”
After the screening, Bruno Bruno Mars added more star power after the screening to a night that really didn’t need much, with a long live broadcast. Festival opening party with hundreds of ecstatic revelers.
The Red Sea Film Festival will continue until December