DUBAI: On Saturday, international and Arab stars came together to toast females in the film industry at the Celebration of Women in Cinema Gala hosted by Saudi Arabia's Red Sea Film Festival (RSFF) in Venice.

Hollywood actresses Kate Hudson, Demi Moore and Eiza Gonzales were joined by Saudi star Fatima Al-Banawi, Jordanian actress Saba Mubarak and Lebanese television personality Raya Abirached at the star-studded gala, which took place during the 78th edition of the annual Venice Film Festival.

The gala, designed to celebrate women in cinema and their achievements in the industry, while supporting the festival’s mission to drive the empowerment and support of women both in front of and behind the camera, was part of the RSFF’s presence in Venice, which is being spearheaded by Chairman of the Festival Committee Mohammed Al-Turki who is on a mission to bring Saudi cinema to the world.

Al-Turki is a renowned Saudi film producer behind such films as “Arbitrage” (2012) starring Richard Gere; “99 Homes,” (2014) starring Michael Shannon; and the upcoming “Crisis,” starring Gary Oldman.

“It’s wonderful time to witness the cultural shift in Saudi (Arabia) with extraordinary plans underway for vision 2030. The festival is the perfect opportunity to develop our flourishing industry, champion and support young Saudi and Arab talent, and share authentic compelling stories with global audiences,” he said after news of his appointment was first announced earlier this year.

Meanwhile, in an effort to help empower a large pool of filmmakers, the Red Sea Film Festival’s The Red Sea Fund, which champions the development, production and post-production of Arab films, has supported “Amira” from Egyptian director Mohamed Diab, which is set to make its world premiere competing within the Orizzonti section.

The Red Sea Film Festival’s presence in Venice is a continuation of its mission to champion emerging talent and support Arab filmmakers.

In July, RSFF had its own Saudi pavilion at the 74th edition of the Cannes Film Festival that shone a spotlight on the Kingdom’s burgeoning film industry and the opportunities it has to offer.

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