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Saudi Arabia hosts first international film festival

December 7, 2021 at 11:48 am

Mohammed Al Turki speaks on stage during the Opening Gala of the Red Sea International Film Festival on 6 December 2021 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. [Daniele Venturelli/Getty Images]

The Red Sea International Film Festival opened on Monday in Jeddah. This is the first such festival to be hosted by Saudi Arabia.

The ten-day festival is being held in the historic Al-Balad area of the coastal city. The area is listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

British director Joe Wright’s musical Cyrano, starring Peter Dinklage in the title role, opened the festival, which will show 138 films from 67 countries in 34 languages. There will be 25 world premieres, 48 regional premieres and 17 Gulf State premieres.

The opening of the film festival in Saudi Arabia comes four years after the Kingdom opened its first new cinema in early April 2018. Cinemas were banned for more than 35 years.

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