Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Film Festival just announced that American director Oliver Stone will be heading the jury for the international competition at the inaugural edition of the festival.

Stone’s jury will oversee the International Competition, which selects “original and daring” films from the Arab world and the Global South. 

The festival, taking place from March 12 until 21, will see Stone's jury giving out Yusr awards in the awarding ceremony on the 19th. The prizes include: Golden Yusr for Best Feature Film (Trophy, and $100,000), a Silver Yusrs for Best Director (Trophy, and $50,000), Best Screenplay (Trophy), Best Actor (Trophy), Best Actress (Trophy) and Best Cinematic Contribution (Trophy).

“Oliver Stone is behind some of the all-time great pieces of cinema,” says Sabbagh, director of the Red Sea Film Festival. “Penning Scarface and Midnight Express, directing Platoon and Natural Born Killers, to name a few, he cherishes originality, craft and creativity, values at the heart of the Red Sea FF.”

Stone is a three-time Academy Award winner and one of the biggest names in the film industry at the moment. At the festival, Stone will also present a classic film that he refers to as an inspiration, Z by Costa Gavras, which tells the story of a Greek progressive deputy who is assassinated.

Held in the Old Town of the coastal city of Jeddah – a UNESCO world heritage site – the 10-day Red Sea Film Festival will see tens of film screenings, panels, workshops and masterclasses delivered by regional and international figures involved in the film industry. It is also the first international film festival to take place in the Kingdom.