Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea International Film Festival (RSIFF) has appointed producer Mohammed Al Turki as CEO in a role directly involved in the daily management and development of the event.
Saudi-born Al Turki worked as a producer in Hollywood for 12 years, earning executive producer credits on titles such as Arbitration, 99 houses, what Maisie knows and Crisis.
He returned home after Saudi Arabia’s 35-year cinema ban was lifted at the end of 2017, as part of the country’s Vision 2030 strategy to steer the country’s economy away from dependence on gas and to oil.
Since then, he has been a driving force behind efforts to build a film and television industry in the country.
He has been involved with the RSIFF since 2020 when he was appointed chairman of the festival committee, a largely advisory role drawing on his Hollywood experience and network.
In his new position as CEO, he will lead the growth of the festival and support its central mandates of being a springboard for Saudi, Arab and African talent as well as a must-attend festival on the international circuit.
The second edition of the festival will take place from December 1-10 in the Red Sea port of Jeddah, following an inaugural edition last December which welcomed more than 30,000 moviegoers and 3,155 industry professionals.
RSIFF’s industry initiatives include the Red Sea Fund, which has to date supported 97 projects by emerging filmmakers from the Middle East and North Africa; the Red Sea Lodge talent development program and the Red Sea Souk, a market and industry meeting that takes place during the festival.
Al Turki’s management team will include Shivani Pandya Malthora, Managing Director, Kaleem Aftab; director of international programming; Antoine Khalife, director of Arab programs and cinema classics; Samaher Mously, Director of Marketing; Emad Eskander, fund manager and Zain Zedan, manager of the Red Sea Souk.
“It’s an exciting and transformative time where creativity plays a crucial role in the country’s cultural renaissance, with a thriving film and arts scene and an extraordinary amount of young talent breaking new boundaries and producing content worthy of attention” , said Al Turki.
“We want to be at the forefront of navigating the changing cultural landscape, contribute to the global entertainment industry, and serve as a beacon for a new generation of creatives. I look forward to welcoming old and new new guests in Jeddah for our second edition in December.