Saudi Arabia’s event season draws Hollywood stars

Saudi Arabia’s event season draws Hollywood stars

A film festival, sporting event and striking locations are attracting big names to the kingdom

December will see Saudi Arabia kick off a big month of high-profile events that will feature internationally renowned celebrities, including Justin Bieber and Anthony Mackie.

Red Sea Film Festival 
Postponed by a year due to the pandemic, the Red Sea Film Festival will launch on 5 December 2021 with the Joe Wright-directed Cyrano as the opening-night film. 

This will mark the country’s first major international film event

The musical, which stars Peter Dinklage, Haley Bennett and Kelvin Harrison Jr, will be screened at the 11-day festival alongside The Lost Daughter, Belfast and Sing 2 – all starring Hollywood heavyweights and slated to be awards season contenders. Though the guest list hasn’t yet been confirmed, Wright and Bennett are expected to attend.


Formula 1 STC Saudi Arabian Grand Prix
Jeddah will also host singers Justin Bieber, Jason Derulo and A$AP Rocky as part of the post-race entertainment programme at the inaugural Formula 1 STC Saudi Arabian Grand Prix 2021, also starting 5 December.

Movies in the Making
In addition, the country’s biggest film production is currently underway. Desert Warrior, starring Anthony Mackie and Sharlto Copley, helmed by writer-director Rupert Wyatt (Rise of the Planet of the Apes), is shooting in the province of Tabuk on the site of the planned Neom development. 

Elsewhere, AlUla, an area that has been heavily promoted as a filming destination, will serve as the setting for Gerard Butler’s latest action film, Kandahar. Production will begin this December. 

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