The Red Sea Film Foundation, in partnership with the Consulate General of France in Jeddah, has revealed the victorious contenders of the third edition of the 48 Hour Film Challenge. This innovative challenge serves as a platform to inspire promising Saudi and Saudi-resident filmmakers to create fresh cinematic works. The collaboration garnered support from entities such as Alliance française, the Embassy of France in Saudi Arabia, NEOM, TV5 Monde, Hayy Jameel, and VOX Cinemas.
The 48 Hour Film Challenge unfolded from July 28 to 29, 2023, during which participating teams crafted, shot, and edited their short films. Preceding the challenge, two days were dedicated to technical workshops and mentorship sessions, facilitated by industry experts like Lebanese scriptwriter and filmmaker Sophie Boutros, Saudi filmmaker Mohamed Al Salman, Egyptian producer and filmmaker Hala Lotfy, and Jordanian director of photography Samer El Nimri.
The laurels of victory were seized by the JSR team, under the leadership of Jwana Alzahrani, and the 6th Grade C team, led by Abdulrahman Batawie. Their films, titled “The Last Thread” and “Art Block,” respectively, are slated for screening at the esteemed Red Sea International Film Festival in December. Notably, both winning team leaders will be awarded a residency opportunity in France in conjunction with the International Short Film Festival in Clermont-Ferrand.
NEOM, a significant player in the initiative, emerges as a Production Partner for the victorious teams. It will host the filmmakers at its sprawling purpose-built facility, providing them a creative haven for their upcoming projects in 2024. This collaboration extends financial incentives for filming within NEOM, access to state-of-the-art soundstages, diverse landscapes, and personalized assistance from the on-ground industry team. Furthermore, the filmmakers will receive a six-month industry mentorship, equipping them with the necessary tools and resources to finalize their cinematic creations.
A panel of internationally renowned filmmakers and film professionals, including Saudi filmmaker Shahad Ameen, Egyptian actress Amina Khalil, and French writer Professor Alexandre Tylski, constituted the jury that handpicked these two standout films as exemplars of pioneering voices in Saudi cinema.
As part of the Challenge’s aftermath, all participating team members were invited to engage in a dedicated three-day professional gathering from August 25 to 27. This event featured workshops led by four Saudi and four French experts.
Mohammed Al Turki, CEO of the Red Sea Film Foundation, congratulated the winners, highlighting the event’s role in nurturing a conducive environment for learning, creativity, and originality. Wayne Borg, Managing Director of Media Industries, Entertainment, and Culture at NEOM, emphasized their commitment to fostering filmmaking talent and contributing to Saudi Arabia’s creative economy workforce growth.
Anmar AlQurashi, Managing Director of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain at Majid Al Futtaim Entertainment, lauded VOX Cinemas’ partnership with the Red Sea Film Foundation, recognizing their role in amplifying Saudi voices in the world of cinema.
The 48 Hour Film Challenge, presented by the collaboration between the Consulate General of France in Jeddah and the Red Sea Film Foundation, stands as a beacon for emerging filmmaking talent and distinctive voices in Saudi and Arab cinema, forging connections and honoring trailblazers in independent filmmaking.