Oliver Stone to lead jury at Saudi Arabia's first international film fest

Legendary movie maker will serve as the jury president of the international competition at the inaugural Red Sea Film Festival
Oliver Stone.
Oliver Stone.

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Legendary movie maker Oliver Stone will serve as the jury president of the international competition at the inaugural Red Sea Film Festival, it was announced on Monday.

The festival is Saudi Arabia’s first international film festival and takes place on March 12–21 in Jeddah.

Organisers said the festival is committed to building a solid foundation for the film industry, building connections between the Arab region and the world.

“We are most pleased to have Oliver Stone leading our Jury,” said festival director Mahmoud Sabbagh. "Stone is a one-of-a-kind. His incredible films about the Vietnam War and American political life have changed our thinking of history, giving new perspectives and challenging accepted truths.

"This is combined with technical prowess and captivating style of filmmaking that marks out his films as genuine originals. He is a three-time Oscar winner. An auteur in the truest sense of the word."

Stone is behind some of the all-time great pieces of cinema, penning Scarface and Midnight Express, as well as directing Platoon and Natural Born Killers.

"For a new breed of filmmakers competing for the Yusr awards, his watchful eye and sense of authorship will be inspirational," added Sabbagh.

Stone will also present a classic film that inspired him, Z by Costa Gavras, about a Greek progressive deputy who is assassinated.

Stone and his jury will oversee the international competition, which is focused on original, daring productions by emerging and established voices, particularly those from the Arab world and the global south.

The jury will give out the following prizes - Golden Yusr for Best Feature Film (Trophy and $100,000), as well as Silver Yusrs for Best Director (Trophy and $50,000), Best Screenplay (Trophy), Best Actor (Trophy), Best Actress (Trophy) and Best Cinematic Contribution (Trophy).

The Yusr Awards are named after the black coral formations found in the Red Sea of Jeddah’s coast. The results will be announced during the awarding ceremony on March 19.

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