Egypt's average arrivals in April 2021 almost 50% of 2019 monthly median: El-Anani    Egypt, Greece, Netherlands discuss Israeli violations in Palestine    Egypt to spare no effort to reach Israel-Palestine ceasefire – FM tells Security Council    Egypt's Senate to discuss sovereign sukuk law today    Two-state solution only pathway to end Palestine-Israel conflict: Shoukry    Egypt's Al-Sisi in Paris for Sudan Transition Conference    Golden Globes organisers approve diversity, ethics changes after criticism    Sundance Institute names 20 fellows across upcoming summer labs    Chief of Egypt's Financial Regulator elected as committee head at IOSCO    Egypt to soon complete COVID-19 vaccination of tourism workers in Red Sea, South Sinai    Washington calls for resumption of GERD talks    Comedy actress Nadia Al-Iraqia passes away from COVID-19    Egypt's Health Ministry launches awareness campaigns against COVID-19    Sudan pledges to investigate killing of 2 protestors during peaceful sit-in    Egypt scales up readiness of hospitals nationwide for Eid Al-Fitr holidays    Egyptian hospitals in Sinai on alert amid Israeli aggression on Gaza    Egypt announces Thursday 1st day of Eid Al-Fitr    Nuweiba: Egypt's paradise of serenity    Egypt's trade deficit down 1.2% to $3.34bn in February 2021: CAPMAS    Egypt's current account deficit jumps to $7.6 bln in 1H of FY2020/21: CBE    India signs an agreement to buy 300,000 doses of Remdesivir from Eva Pharma    Egypt will locally manufacture first 2m Sinovac vaccine doses by June-end    Turkey seeks to restore 'historic unity' with Egyptian people: Erdogan    Elneny's Arsenal targets 'remontada' in Europa League semi-finals    Zamalek eye return to victories at expense of Smouha in Egyptian Premier League    Al Ahly face injuries as they take on Al Ittihad Alexandria    Direct flights between Russia and Egypt will resume in June, Ambassador    Egypt's Ahly is establishing a new stadium, expected to be 'sports complex'    Blinken presses Ethiopia's Abiy to ensure full withdrawal of Eritrean troops from Tigray    Forces opposed to Somali president control parts of Mogadishu    Nine people executed in Egypt over Kerdasa police killings in 2013    UEFA investigating Ibrahimovic's alleged ties to betting company    61 doctors died from coronavirus since start of April: Egypt's medical syndicate    Egypt targets 5.6% inflation rate in FY2020/21, 6% in FY2021/22    Egypt allocates EGP 132 bln to modernise railway system: Transport minister    Real Madrid not thinking about any Super League sanctions: Zidane    Total declares force majeure on Mozambique LNG after attacks    All the winners at the 93rd Academy Awards    Egypt's Ahly granted approval to build new stadium on Cairo outskirts    Aswan Int'l Women's Film Festival dedicates 5th edition to Kawthar Heikal    BREAKING: Egypt's information minister Osama Heikal resigns amid parliamentary criticism    'War was not Egypt's aim, but peace was the ultimate goal,' Sisi says on Sinai Liberation Day anniversary    Factbox: Key nominations for the 2021 Academy Awards    Old Cairo's Al-Fustat will be revamped on Egyptian President's directives    Veteran Egyptian journalist Makram Mohamed Ahmed passes away at 86    Allianz Egypt partners with IGNITE to equip brand ambassadors for 2021 Olympics    Hassan Allam consortium wins contract to manage, operate Grand Egyptian Museum    Seasoned Egyptian screenwriter Wahid Hamed dies at 76    

Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.

A message to the world
Published in Ahram Online on 13 - 10 - 2020

“Holding El Gouna Film Festival this year is Egypt's message to the whole world that life has to continue,” said El Gouna Film Festival (GFF, 23-31) cofounder Naguib Sawiris at the press conference announcing the fourth round at the Ritz Carlton Hotel last Thursday. “I thought we should postpone this year's round altogether the way many other festivals had done, but there was another point of view: that we shouldn't to stop the wheel turning, and should challenge the pandemic. Egypt needs to open its doors to tourists from all around the world; this is the country's greatest source of income. So we decided to take the necessary precautions and hold the festival this year in spite of everything. People are waiting for the festival and yearning for joy.”
GFF cofounder Samih Sawiris had other ideas: “I believed that if the Venice and San Sebastian film festivals happened, then we ought to hold our festival as well. Of course it's very hard to strike the balance between organising something as big as a festival and maintaining precautionary measures. However, we've received confirmation from 200 international guests that they will attend, and the events will be held in open air at the new venue, the Gouna Conference and Culture Centre (GCCC).”
This round includes 16 films participating in the Feature Narrative Competition, 10 films in the Feature Documentary Competition, 18 films in the Short Film Competition, and two films in GFF's Special Presentations programme. The festival will be screening 17 films in its Official Selection out of Competition section.
According to festival director Intishal Al-Timimi, “We decided to invite representatives of international film festivals from all continents to a virtual panel discussion, to emphasise on the importance of supporting the film industry and film festivals. GFF is one of the few film festivals that will be held this year. And just as the Venice Film Festival was an international initiative, El Gouna Film Festival is the first Arab initiative supporting the idea that life must go on.
“This year we had some difficulty inviting American celebrities, but we were able to invite French actor Gérard Depardieu, who will receive a Career Achievement Award, as well as French-Moroccan actor Saïd Taghmaoui, who will receive the Omar Sharif Award. From Egypt, actor Khaled El Sawy and production designer Onsi Abou Seif are the recipients of the Career Achievement Award, for their distinctive and influential contribution to the film industry.”
There will also be an exhibition of designs, sketches, movie posters, awards and clips from the work of acclaimed production designer Onsi Abou Seif.
According to artistic director Amir Ramses, “This year, we were able to curate the best films from Venice, San Sebastian, Berlin and Cannes. They include the Australian film The Furnace, starring Egyptian actor Ahmed Malek and Listen, the Lion of the Future Award winner, as well as Hilal Baydarov's In Between Dying and Viggo Mortensen's Falling.
“The opening film is Tunisian filmmaker Kaouther Ben Hania's The Man Who Sold His Skin, which was a winning film at the second CineGouna SpringBoard projects in development. Egyptian producer Marianne Khoury will be a member of the documentary jury. Sudanese filmmaker Amjad Abu Alala and Egyptian actor Asser Yassin will be members the feature narrative jury...”
GFF is holding its annual Cinema in Concert, an orchestral performance of classic film scores including Charlie Chaplin's recently restored The Kid conducted by Ahmed El Saidi, and building on collaborations with the 10th Malmo Arab Film Festival and the Final Cut in Venice workshop to support Arab cinema in Europe.
According to GFF cofounder and COO Bushra Rozza, “The CineGouna Platform is a significant meeting point for filmmakers from around the world with their Arab counterparts. This round will feature a panel discussion on Women's Empowerment in the Film Industry that will bring together leading female figures like Palestinian filmmaker Najwa Najjar and Indian star Richa Sharma. In addition, famous acting coach Gerald James will be giving an acting workshop as part of the CineGouna Bridge activities.”
The CineGouna SpringBoard received 99 submissions (65 projects in development and 34 films in post-production) from around the Arab world, out of which 18 projects (12 in development and 6 in post-production) were selected to participate this year's round at the TU Berlin campus (25-29 October).
“Our top priority is the health and safety of our employees, workers, and guests throughout the festival,” Orascom Development Holding CEO Omar El Hamamsy said. “The Gouna Conference and Culture Centre is an open space. We have planned a 90-minute gap between each event and screening to sterilize and disinfect the whole place.”
General coordinator Amal El Masry added, “The existing challenges forced us to rethink all aspects of the festival. For instance, the pandemic has pushed us to reduce the use of paper and focus on digital alternatives, which would have happened eventually anyway. So, in my opinion, the challenges actually accelerated the improvement of the festival.”
*A version of this article appears in print in the 15 October, 2020 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly

Clic here to read the story from its source.