Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea International Film Festival has announced they are backing upcoming French period drama “Jeanne du Barry,” toplining Johnny Depp as 18th century French King Louis XV.

The pic, now in post, is directed by French actress and filmmaker Maïwenn, who also plays the role of the titular courtesan, Madame du Barry. Pierre Richard, Benjamin Lavernhe, Noémie Lvovsky, Melvil Poupaud, India Hair and Pascal Greggory also star.

“Jeanne du Barry,” which is being co-funded through the Red Sea film foundation, marks the Red Sea fest’s first international co-production with France and “demonstrates the Festival’s ongoing mission to support distinctive filmmaking and champion visionary female talent both on and behind the camera from around the world,” the fest said in a statement. Since 2019, the Red Sea film Foundation has supported the development, production, and post-production of 170 films from the Arab world and Africa. This investment marks a rare foray for the Jeddah-based foundation in funding a film outside the MENA region. The ambitious fest, which is Saudi Arabia’s top film event and also the kingdom’s bridgehead with the international film world, held its second, highly successful, edition in December.

“Jeanne du Barry,” which was shot in France, is Maïwenn’s sixth feature. The film, which she co-wrote with Teddy Lussi-Modeste and Nicolas Livecchi, has been acquired by Netflix for France where it will drop on the streaming platform following its local theatrical release via Le Pacte. Pic is produced by Why Not Production Company’s Pascal Caucheteux and Grégoire Sorlat in tandem with Johnny Depp’s production company IN.2, La Petite Reine and France Télévisions, with the Red Sea fest now on board as executive producers, and Wild Bunch International serving as sales agent.

Financial terms of the Red Sea fest’s involvement in the film were not disclosed.

“We are thrilled to be supporting Maïwenn’s upcoming feature “Jeanne du Barry,” said Red Sea Film Festival CEO Mohammed Al Turki. “This is a film that immediately interested us, it’s an incredibly unique and ambitious biographical feature and a testament to our commitment to supporting new talent and collaborating with world-class writers, directors and producers,” he added, further noting: “We hope this collaboration will strengthen the ties between Saudi and French cinema and the first of many international films that we can support that advocate for women filmmakers.”

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