The Red Sea Film Foundation and the Consulate General of France in Jeddah announce the winners of the third edition of the 48 Hour Film Challenge, designed to encourage aspiring Saudis and Saudi-resident filmmakers to produce new works. The Challenge was supported by the Alliance française, the Embassy of France in Saudi Arabia, NEOM, TV5 Monde, Hayy Jameel and VOX Cinemas.
The 48 Hour Film Challenge took place from July 28 – 29, 2023, during which the participating teams wrote, shot and edited a short film. The Challenge was preceded by two days of intensive technical workshops and mentorship with industry experts such as 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 winning teams are JSR, led by Jwana Alzahrani, and 6th Grade C, led by Abdulrahman Batawie, titled The Last Thread and Art Block, will be screened at the Red Sea International Film Festival in December. The two winning team leaders will be rewarded with a residency in France on the occasion of the International short film Festival in Clermont-Ferrand.
NEOM joins the initiative as a Production Partner for the winning teams and will host the filmmakers at the region’s largest purpose-built facility, where they can create their next projects in 2024. This support encompasses financial incentives for filming within NEOM, access to world-class soundstages, a diverse range of stunning and diverse landscapes, and dedicated assistance from the on-ground industry team. The filmmakers will also receive a 6-month industry mentorship to ensure they have all the tools and resources required to complete their films.
The winners were chosen by a jury composed of world-renowned filmmakers and film professionals, including Saudi filmmaker Shahad Ameen, Egyptian actress Amina Khalil and French writer Professor Alexandre Tylski. The jury selected these two films as stand-out examples of groundbreaking new voices in Saudi cinema.
All the team members of the participants to the Challenge were invited to participate in a dedicated 3 professional days (25-27 August) gathering and workshops in the presence of 4 Saudi and 4 French experts.
Mohammed Al Turki, CEO of the Red Sea Film Foundation, congratulated the winners: “Events like the 48-Hour Film Challenge foster an intensive environment for learning and creativity that encourage participants to think outside the box and produce original work. This year’s winning films are stand-out examples of how creativity can find expression in film. We are proud to have supported these filmmakers in their inaugural journey into filmmaking.”
Wayne Borg, Managing Director of Media Industries, Entertainment, and Culture at NEOM, said: “NEOM Media Industries' commitment as a Production Partner is to support filmmaking talent and contribute to the growth and skills of the Saudi creative economy workforce. This aligns with our Integrated Learning programs and reflects our commitment to the flourishing Saudi film industry and aspiring filmmakers in the region."
Anmar AlQurashi, Managing Director - Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, Majid Al Futtaim Entertainment, added their support, “VOX Cinemas is committed to supporting new talent in filmmaking and amplifying Saudi voices on the big screen. We are proud to have partnered with the Red Sea Film Foundation on the 48 Hour Film Challenge, giving this new platform to first-time filmmakers across the Kingdom.”
The 48-Hour Film Challenge is an initiative from the Consulate General of France in Jeddah and the Red Sea Film Foundation, designed to support new filmmaking talent and original voices in Saudi and Arab cinema, building bridges and recognize innovators in independent filmmaking.