No reason was given for Sabbagh’s decision to step down. The festival posted a statement on its social media channels thanking the exec for his work and noting he will now return to working in the Saudi film industry as a filmmaker. His previous credits include Barakah Meets Barakah, which debuted at the 2016 Berlinale, and 2018 drama Amra And The Second Marriage.
It’s been a rocky start for the event, which many hoped would become a leading Middle East festival after its launch followed the closure of the Dubai International Film Festival, a key event in the region.
The debut edition was due to be held March 12-21 and would have