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Saudi Festival Backs Johnny Depp Period Drama ‘Jeanne du Barry’  

Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea International Film Festival is getting behind Johnny Depp’s new film, Jeanne du Barry, unveiling on Thursday that it will provide post-production support for the French period drama directed by, and co-starring, French multi-hyphenate Maïwenn.

Depp stars in the film as 18th-century French King Louis XV, with Maïwenn playing the movie’s titular courtesan, Madame du Barry.

Since its launch in 2019, the Red Sea film Foundation has given development, production and post-production support to some 170 films from the Arab world and Africa but Jeanne du Barry marks its first international co-production with France. The film is being produced by Why Not Production Company’s Pascal Caucheteux and Grégoire Sorlat, Johnny Depp’s production company IN.2, La Petite Reine and France Télévisions. The Red Sea Film Festival will serve as executive producers. Wild Bunch International is handling world sales.

The casting of Depp, amid the Hollywood star’s very public legal dispute with his ex-wife Amber Heard, has proved controversial. But Le Pacte has picked up the film for theatrical release in France, with Netflix rolling it out locally thereafter.

In a statement, the Red Sea festival said backing Jeanne du Barry was part of its “ongoing mission to support distinctive filmmaking and champion visionary female talent both on and behind the camera from around the world.”

The festival’s vocal support of female directors like Maïwenn stands in sharp contrast to the official policies of the government of Saudi Arabia, which, despite some recent reforms, still severely restricts the rights of its female citizens.

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