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Red Sea International Film Festival

The third edition of the Red Sea International Film Festival (RedSeaIFF) will run in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia from November 30 till December 9, 2023.
The inaugural Red Sea International Film Festival took place from December 6 -15, 2021 with live dailies on

The Red Sea International Film Festival brings the best in Arab and World Cinema to Jeddah Old Town. The Festival showcases exciting new films on the Saudi big-screen, alongside retrospective programs celebrating the masters of cinema, the latest Saudi films, and feature and short film competitions. There are also industry events and workshops nurturing the next generation of talent.

In ‘Celebration of Women in Cinema’, the Red Sea International Film Festival (RedSeaIFF), hosted a gala event this evening at the 75th Cannes International Film Festival on the grounds of the magnificent Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc in Cap d’Antibes.


RSIFF will open with HWJN (2023), directed by Yasir Al Yasiri


The Red Sea International Film Festival (Red Sea IFF) is delighted to reveal the World Premiere of HWJN (2023), directed by Yasir Al Yasiri as the Opening Night Gala of 2023. Adapted from the best-selling Young Adult fantasy novel by Ibraheem Abbas, HWJN combines Arabian folklore elements of fantasy, blended with modern themes that is sure to enthrall both regional and international audiences. A co-production from Image Nation Abu Dhabi, MBC Studios and VOX Studios, HWJN demonstrates the progressive collaboration of creative voices shaping Saudi cinema. This screening will be introduced by the director and lead cast: Nour Alkhadra, Baraa AlemNaif Aldaferi, Alanoud SaudMohsen Mansour and Shaimaa Al Tayeb.

Set in modern-day Jeddah, HWJN follows the story of a kind-hearted jinn. As he discovers the truth about his royal lineage, HWJN (Baraa Alem) sets off on an epic journey to reclaim his birthright, while battling ancient evils to maintain the harmonious balance between his world and ours. Along the way, he meets and develops an unexpected romantic connection with Sawsan (Nour Alkhadra), a young medical student.

HWJN is one of the biggest projects to date under a landmark production partnership launched in 2018 by Image Nation Abu Dhabi; MBC Studios, of MBC Group; and VOX Studios, three of the region’s most significant entities in the content and entertainment sector.

Antoine Khalife, Director of Arab Programs & Film Classics for the Red Sea International Film Festival, said: “Opening the festival with a highly anticipated film like HWJN is a momentous event. HWJN, a Saudi film produced by major studios, is adapted from a highly successful novel and brings together many Saudi actors for an original story that will undoubtedly captivate our audience. With HWJN, Saudi cinema proves its capacity to bring together talents from across the Arab world at both the production and artistic levels. Through this choice, the Red Sea not only honors Saudi cinema but also all Arab talents, highlighting the remarkable progress that the Kingdom has witnessed in recent times.” 


Yasir Al Yasiri, Director of HWJN, said: “The story of HWJN is an epic tale of romance, adventure, and culture that has resonated with millions in Saudi and beyond. Bringing this beloved novel to life as a movie has been an extraordinary journey and a landmark achievement for regional cinema. It's profoundly meaningful for us to open this year’s Red Sea International Film Festival in Jeddah - the city where HWJN's story was born, and which plays a pivotal role in the narrative. This premiere is not just a tribute to the film's journey, but also to Jeddah's vibrant culture and history, which inspired us immensely. We are extremely proud of what we have created together and eagerly await the audience's reaction to seeing it on the big screen.”


Yasir Al Yasiri is an Iraqi filmmaker. His first feature-length film, Shabab Sheyab (2018) received glowing reviews from both audiences and film critics. It had its world premiere at the Palm Springs International Film Festival and continued to tour the international festival circuit. He followed it up with the box-office blockbuster 122 (2019).


The film was co-written by Yasir Al Yasiri, Ibraheem Abbas, Sarah Taibah, and Hussam Alhulwah,executive produced by Majid Al Ansari (Zinzana) and Saad Al Albutaily (Cherry), and produced by Yasiri’s production company, Axx productions. While the book was published by Yatakhayaloon, which is founded by Yasser Bahjatt and Ibraheem Abbas.



The Red Sea International Film Festival will run from 30 November – 9 December. Tickets for all film screenings are on sale on the RSIFF website:


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