The Red Sea International Film Festival (RedSeaIFF), which will have its inaugural edition from 6-15 December, has announced a number of celebrations in honour of the ground-breaking contribution of women to film.

The Festival will honour the first female Saudi filmmaker, Haifaa Al Mansour, who is not only one of the most significant names in the Saudi film industry but has led the way in championing female empowerment across the region.

Her feature debut, Wadjda, was the first film to ever be shot in the Kingdom and was nominated for numerous international awards, including the BAFTA Award for Best Film not in the English Language. She has since gone on to direct numerous TV shows and films internationally, including Mary Shelley and Nappily Ever After, and continues to break ground in filmmaking.

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Academy Award and BAFTA-nominated French actress Catherine Deneuve and Egyptian actress Laila Eloui will also be honoured at the Festival.

Catherine Deneuve said: “It is always an honour to have your work recognised by the industry, and I am especially grateful for this honour, and the opportunity to be a part of this wider celebration of the contribution of women to cinema. I hope that my work can help inspire young women to chart their own successful careers in this industry, and I hope that this acknowledgement of the contribution of women in cinema, in general, continues to underscore the importance of having a strong female presence both in front of and behind the camera.”

The festival will also include tributes and masterclasses from some of the most inspiring female names in cinema. Egyptian cinema legend, Yousra will also deliver a masterclass. 

The inaugural edition of the Red Sea International Film Festival will run in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia from December 6-15, 2021.