Director to Spearhead Filmmaker Mentoring for AlUla Creates Initiative
Film AlUla and internationally renowned director, producer and actor Katie Holmes (Rare Objects, Alone Together, Batman Begins) came together today at the 76th edition of the Cannes Film Festival to announce the second phase of ‘AlUla Creates’, a platform designed to nurture creativity and empower and engage future generations in film, the arts and fashion. At an exclusive event taking place today in Cannes, AlUla Creates ambassadors Eva Herzigova and acclaimed Saudi film actor Mila Al Zahrani joined Holmes and Film AlUla’s Charlene Deleon-Jones for an exclusive panel event to discuss the initiative.
The second phase of AlUla Creates is a filmmaking mentoring programme that has been established to elevate and support the careers of Saudi female filmmakers who look to shape the industry of the future, providing them with mentorship from renowned industry professionals and the tools to further develop their projects.
The AlUla creates film programme will be spearheaded by Katie Holmes, the celebrated director, actor and producer behind the recent compelling feature adaptation Rare Objects and the 2022 romantic drama Alone Together. Holmes’ established career has spanned across television, theatre, and film, and she is renowned for her iconic breakout role on “Dawson’s Creek” and for blockbuster hits including Batman Begins, as well as being a supporter of independent filmmaking.
Supported by Film AlUla, via the AlUla Creates Initiative, Katie Holmes will team up to identify three emerging female Saudi filmmakers, who Holmes will mentor throughout the year, beginning with a location scouting trip to the spectacular region of AlUla in North West Saudi Arabia to develop and structure a short film concept. The winning concept will be announced later this year and is slated for production in Q1 of 2024 in AlUla.
The first phase of ‘AlUla Creates’ launched in March 2023 alongside the 95th Academy Awards with a focus on fashion. Founding Ambassadors Helena Christensen and Eva Herzigova partnered with Saudi female fashion designers, sister duo, Alia and Abeer Olaif of Atelier Hekayat and Arwa Al Ammari of ArAm to design two bespoke looks, supported by British fashion designer Emilia Wickstead, for The Oscars Vanity Fair red carpet in LA. Both Supermodels will continue on in their role as Ambassadors for the AlUla Creates programme; supporting emerging female creative talent from the region, and forming an integral part of the project’s future plans. The Saudi designers will also be part of the film phase, working on the selected project to design and create the costumes, working closely with the filmmaker to bring the story to life.
Charlene Deleon-Jones, Executive Director at Film AlUla, said: “Following the successful launch of ‘AlUla Creates’ we are thrilled to be working with Katie Holmes on the film making phase of AlUla creates where we believe she will provide a unique and experienced perspective to the women on the program. As a seasoned veteran of the entertainment industry who has held many roles across her career, Katie has a depth of understanding of the craft of filmmaking, combining discipline and vision in a way that will provide our mentees both inspiration and practical skills. Through this collaboration we aim to champion new emerging filmmaking talent at every step of their creative journey as we continue to develop AlUla as a creative content production hub and further invest in a diverse and rich film culture.”
Katie Holmes commented: “I believe that women from all parts of the world should be empowered to follow their ambitions - It therefore brings me great joy to be joining the Film AlUla Creates Program to support and enable female filmmakers from the region. I can't wait to experience the creativity these women have to offer and to share experience and perspectives from behind the camera.”