The Red Sea International Film Festival (Red Sea IFF) has revealed that writer, director and producer Baz Luhrmann (Elvis, Moulin Rouge) will chair the jury of the festival’s features competition this year.
The third edition of the festival will take place from November 30 to December. 9 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on the eastern shore of the Red Sea.
In the fest’s Red Sea: Features competition, 17 feature films will be selected to showcase “the most compelling, unique and impactful work of the past year, with the winners selected by Luhrmann and the highly esteemed jury to receive the coveted Yusr Awards receive.” said the organizers. In 2022, the Golden Yusr was awarded to Hanging gardensdirected by Ahmed Yassin Al Daradji.
“As a child at the local cinema we played near the small country town where I grew up, I was mesmerized by the powerful historical and physical landscapes of Lawrence of Arabia” said Luhrmann. “Since then I have had an abiding passion for the Arab world, but after visiting Saudi Arabia I felt truly inspired by the remarkable young film talent emerging in the region and seeing how they are now capturing the attention of the global world. film community.”
He added: “It is an honor to chair this year’s jury of the Red Sea International Film Festival, alongside leading and emerging lights in the industry, and to be part of the evolution of change taking place through cinema in the Arab region, Asia and Africa. Since the early days of my career, I have experienced the power of storytelling and festivals to open doors and build bridges between artists and between cultures. I look forward to celebrating both emerging talent and the region’s incredible established authors in the vibrant, diverse and distinctive film offering that the festival is known for presenting in Jeddah.”
Mohammed Al Turki said; CEO of the Red Sea IFF: “As we work towards our third edition, we are delighted to welcome legendary award-winning director Baz Luhrmann as head of the jury. Baz is a pop culture pioneer with incredible creative versatility, and it is a great honor to have him chair the jury for the third edition. We look forward to announcing the films and celebrating the excellence of filmmaking in the Arab world, Asia and Africa.”
Calling Luhrmann a “legendary Academy Award-nominated author,” organizers emphasize that he is known as “a master storyteller in the fields of film, opera, theater and music, with his most recent film. Elvis (2022) will be the second highest-grossing musical biopic of all time worldwide,” an announcement said. “Luhrmann’s critically acclaimed filmography includes a double Academy Award-winning The Great Gatsby (2013), Strictly Ballroom (1992), Romeo + Juliet (1996), double Academy Award–to win Moulin Rouge (2001) and compelling historical epic Australia (2008).”