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The Red Sea International Film Festival’s artistic director Edouard Waintrop will not be attending the event in its inaugural year.
The festival — which launched on Monday night in the coastal city of Jeddah — confirmed that Waintrop had canceled his trip due to health reasons after having fallen ill over the weekend. The news was first reported by Screen International.
Waintrop, a French film critic who headed up the Cannes Directors’ Fortnight sidebar between 2012 and 2018, joined the Red Sea Film Festival in June.
Despite the absence of its artistic director and the new omicron variant of COVID-19 forcing several guests to also cancel their plans, the Red Sea Film Festival enjoyed a star-studded opening night in Jeddah’s Unesco World Heritage Site old town on Dec. 7. Among the attendees for the curtain-raising screening of Joe Wright’s musical drama Cyrano were Clive Owen, Thierry Fremaux, Hilary Swank, Anthony Mackie, Catherine Deneuve, Haifaa Al Mansour and Irina Shayk.
During the opening ceremony, al Mansour, Deneuve and Egyptian actress Laila Eloui were all honored for their extraordinary contribution to cinema. Wyclef Jean performed afterward.
The Red Sea Film Festival is due to run until Dec 16.
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