The Arab stars and filmmakers that walked the red carpet included Hany Abu-Assad, Amira Diab, Mohamed Henedy, Inas ElDeghedy, Saba Mubarak, Nelly Karim, Imed Marzouk, Lebleba, Hala Sedki, Najib BelKadhi and Elham Shaheen, alongside numerous international talents.
The event was also joined by the Features Competition Jury, which comprises jury chair and Academy Award-winning director Giuseppe Tornatore, Cherien Dabis, Hind Sabri, Daniela Michel and Abdulaziz Alshlahei, as well as members of the Red Sea Shorts Jury Ahd Kamel and Khader Ayderus.
During the ceremony, the festival honoured three outstanding women for their extraordinary contribution to cinema: the multi award-winning filmmaker Haifaa Al-Mansour, Academy Award and BAFTA nominated French actress Catherine Deneuve and acclaimed Egyptian actress Laila Eloui.
The festival also honoured Jack Lang, President of the Institut du Monde Arabe and former minister of culture and minister of education.
Following the red carpet, the festival screened an opening film, Cyrano by award-winning British director Joe Wright.
The festival was originally scheduled for March 2020, but it was postponed until 11 November 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic, before being pushed to 6 December.
The festival's first edition will continue until 15 December, screening 138 feature films and shorts from 67 countries in 34 languages. The programme is also rich in new Saudi films showcasing 27 works by a new wave of Saudi filmmakers.