‘Changing the Script’: Red Sea film festival announces theme, honors three cinematic innovators

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Time: 12 February, 2020

Jack Lang, left, former French minister of culture, Kim Dong-ho, right, founder of South Korea’s Busan Film Festival, and Daniela Michel, founding director of the Morelia International Film Festival in Mexico
  • Three Gold Yusr awards will be presented to the trio at the opening ceremony of the Red Sea Film Festival on March 12

JEDDAH: The Red Sea International Film Festival announced on Tuesday that its inaugural session, which will be launched next month in Jeddah, will have the theme “Changing the Script.”

The festival announced the honoring of three film innovators who have made great contributions to the industry. They are Jack Lang, former French minister of culture, Kim Dong-ho, founder of South Korea’s Busan Film Festival, and Daniela Michel, founding director of the Morelia International Film Festival in Mexico.

Festival director Mahmoud Sabbagh said: “The honoring of these three legendary figures is at the heart of the Red Sea Film Festival’s goals. An appreciation of pioneers of the film industry, who contributed to unlocking artistic capabilities of their compatriots and developing cinematic masterpieces to be enjoyed for generations.”

He said: “It coincides with the founding moment of the film industry in our country, and in honoring these individuals looks at how the introduction of similar international models can add to the dialogue establishing Saudi’s film industry.”

Lang was appointed culture minister by then-French President Mitterrand in 1981. He created a revolution in the film sector, where he worked to develop a profitable infrastructure for the French film industry.

He redefined the state’s involvement in cinema production with the restructuring of existing funds, a strategy that paid off handsomely. He oversaw the creation of the French National Cinema Center and the Independent Film Support Fund, establishing new funds such as the Mass Production Film Fund. His innovative idea, known as the SOFICA funds — a private money funding system — was the crown jewel of his plans.

Kim Dong-ho is considered a giant of Korean cinema. He is the founder and former chairman of the Busan International Film Festival, launched in 1996.

Throughout his career, he has made significant contributions to shaping Korea’s cultural landscape. From 1988, he was president of the Korean Motion Picture Promotion Corp. (now the Korean Film Council), contributing to the expansion of the cultural scene, deepening the base of the country’s film industry and establishing its films as a global force.

Daniela Michel is the founding director of the International Morelia Film Festival, established in 2003 as an annual festival to support a new generation of Mexican directors, and credited with the rise of Mexican cinema internationally.

The direct result of this is the prominence of a new generation of Mexican filmmakers, that is winning major prizes and gaining a permanent place in major film festival competitions. Collectively they have come to be known as “The Second Golden Age” of Mexican cinema.

Three Gold Yusr awards will be presented to the trio at the opening ceremony of the Red Sea Film Festival on March 12.

This article was first published in Arab News

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