Naomi Campbell, the prominent British supermodel, was one of the many renowned personalities gracing the red carpet at the MENA premiere of “The Absence of Eden” during the third day of the Red Sea International Film Festival in Jeddah. Expressing her admiration for the festival's growth, Campbell commended the team, including Mo Al-Turki and Jomana Al-Rashid, in a video shared on the RSIFF Instagram page.
The film, marking the directorial debut of Marco Perego, a celebrated artist and husband of Marvel actress Zoe Saldana, drew attention from attendees. Saldana, known for her role in "The Guardians of the Galaxy," and Perego were seen at the screening alongside Garrett Hedlund, the other lead in the movie.
Hedlund portrays an ICE agent grappling with moral challenges, teaming up with an undocumented woman, played by Saldana, to rescue an innocent girl from a ruthless cartel. The Red Sea festival spans from November 30 to December 9, featuring 11 film categories. Baz Luhrmann, the acclaimed filmmaker, presides over the festival's esteemed jury, a distinguished panel featuring Swedish-American actor Joel Kinnaman, Indian actress Freida Pinto, Egyptian actor Amina Khalil, and Spanish actor Paz Vega, adding a wealth of talent and expertise.
The festival commenced with the gala screening of "HWJN," directed by Yasir Al-Yasiri, a Dubai-based Iraqi filmmaker. Adapted from a YA novel by Saudi writer Ibraheem Abbas, the film unfolds in modern-day Jeddah, following the journey of a benevolent jinn discovering the truth about his royal lineage.
Lebanese actress Njeim shared her thoughts on the red carpet, emphasizing that the festival marks a significant milestone for aspiring Saudi filmmakers. She praised the outstanding backing given to young talents, which allowed them to present their work on a global scale. Overall, the Red Sea International Film Festival stands as a testament to the flourishing cinematic landscape in the region, drawing in global celebrities and fostering the growth of local talent.