Baz Luhrmann to Head Jury of Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea International Film Festival

Baz Luhrmann is set to preside over the main jury of the third edition of Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea International Film Festival.

The event, which is rapidly becoming the top fest and market in the region and a key driver in Saudi Arabia’s ongoing effort to build a film and TV industry, will run Nov. 30 to Dec. 9 in Jeddah, on the eastern shore of the Red Sea. 

Luhrmann, who has connected with global audiences thanks to movies with wall-to-wall soundtracks like “Moulin Rouge!,” “The Great Gatsby” and, most recently, “Elvis,” will head the Red Sea jury that will be bestowing awards to a competition of 17 titles from filmmakers from the Arab region, Asia and Africa.

The fest’s feature film lineup has yet to be announced.

“As we work towards our third edition, we are delighted to welcome legendary award-winning director Baz Luhrmann as the head of the jury,” said the Red Sea fest’s CEO, Mohammed Al Turki, in a statement.

Al Turki went on to praise Luhrmann as a “pioneer of pop culture with incredible versatility across the creative fields.”

Luhrmann commented: “As a child in the local cinema that we ran near the tiny country town where I grew up, I was mesmerized by the powerful historical and physical landscapes of ‘Lawrence of Arabia.’ Since that time, I have had an abiding passion for the Arabian world, but after visiting Saudi Arabia, I felt truly inspired by the remarkable young filmmaking talent coming up across the region and to see how they are now capturing the attention of the global film community.”

“It’s an honour to be presiding over this year’s Red Sea International Film Festival’s Jury, alongside leading and emerging lights in the industry, and to be part of the evolution of change that is happening through cinema across the Arab region, Asia and Africa,” he added.

Luhrmann continued: “Since the early days of my career, I have experienced the power of storytelling and festivals to open doors and forge bridges between artists and across cultures. I look forward to celebrating both emerging talent and the incredible established auteurs from the region in the vibrant, diverse and distinctive cinematic offering that the Festival is becoming renowned for presenting in Jeddah.”

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