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Yearender: Egypt celebrities blacklisted
Published in The Egyptian Gazette on 30 - 12 - 2011

CAIRO - Some Egyptian actors, actresses, musicians and media figures faced the wrath of anti-Mubarak demonstrators for expressing their support for the toppled president and making scathing anti-revolution comments.
The protesters drew up a blacklist of anti-revolution celebrities, calling on the public to boycott their work.
Included in the blacklist were actress Samah Anwar who called for “setting the demonstrators on fire”; actor Talaat Zakaria who accused the protesters of being “drug abusers” and “homosexuals”; and musician Amr Mostafa, who repeatedly referred to them as “treacherous dogs”.
During the revolution, superstar Tamer Hosni called on the demonstrators to go home. He, later, attempted to visit Tahrir Sqaure, but he was forced out by the protesters camping there.
Cannes honours the revolution
This year, Egypt was the guest of honour at the 64th edition of the Cannes Film Festival in celebration of the 25 January Revolution which toppled Mubarak.
However, the film 18 Day, chosen to represent the uprising in the international festival, angered Egyptians including many working in the country's film industry.
They argued that the makers of this film Sherif Arafa and Marwan Hamed are loyal to the former regime and that the film was not the best about the revolution anyway.

Film festival cancelled
This year, the Cairo International Film Festival was cancelled, for the first time in 35 years.
This decision came after the Egyptian Ministry of Culture decided that the current economic conditions in Egypt were too unstable for the festival to be held this month.
The festival, first launched in 1976, is considered to be one of the most important worldwide.

Venice honours Bassiouni
Egyptian artist Ahmed Bassiouni, who died on January 28 during the anti-Government protests, was honoured in this year's Venice Biennale, which presented his works, as it echoed the recent unrest in various Middle Eastern countries in their quest for freedom and social justice.

Fouda wins Cinema Syndicate
In July, Egyptian TV director Mossad Fouda won a second term as the head of the Cinema Syndicate, despite being slammed as having strong ties with the former regime.
The elections were held after a long sit-in inside the Syndicate, during which members called for the resignation of Fouda and the board members, alleging their loyalty to the Mubarak regime.
After Fouda was declared the winner of the top post, director Ali Badrakhan - Fouda's contender in the elections said furiously that he would stage a protest in Tahrir Square in preparation for the establishment of an independent syndicate.

Abdel-Ghaffour wins Actors' Syndicate
In June, actor Ashraf Abdel-Ghaffour was elected head of the Actors' Syndicate, beating Ahmed Maher and Ashraf Zaki, the former head of the syndicate. In fact, Zaki withdrew from the elections, leaving Maher and Abdel-Ghaffour to battle it out.

Darwish ‘grabs'Musicians' Syndicate
In July, singer Iman el-Bahr Darwish won the Musicians' Syndicate elections, beating Mohamed el-Helw, two months after the arrest of Munir el-Wassimi, the former head of the syndicate, suspected by Syndicate members of embezzlement.
Darwish is the grandson of musician Sayyed Darwish, who supported the national Egyptian movement during the 1919 revolution against British colonisation.

Tawif under fire in Tunisia
Singer Ihab Tawif came under fire earlier this year from a Tunisian newspaper, which accused him of being loyal to Tunisia's former regime because of a private project he launched in Sfax, Tunisia.
Ihab defended himself, saying that he spent around LE500 million on funding his own project. Ihab's crisis ended when he filed a lawsuit against the rumourmonger, demanding he pay him compensation of LE25 billion!

Global acclaim for taboo movie
Asmaa, which premiered at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival on October 17, received a lot of recognition and praise upon its screening. The film tells the story of an HIV positive Egyptian woman, who is full of life but suffers social persecution within her community and eventually decides to stand up for her rights.
Starring Hend Sabry, Maged el-Kedwani and Hani Adel, and written and directed by Amr Salama, the film was awarded Black Pearl Awards in both the Best Director from the Arab World and the Best Actor in the New Horizon Competitions category.
Best Director was given to Salama for the bold choice of a taboo topic, highlighting the importance of cinema for raising awareness, while el-Kedwani was chosen as Best Actor for “a natural and restrained performance bringing to life a character with human complexity and emotional conflict”.
A tribute to the stars
• Kamal el-Shenawi Prominent Egyptian actor/painter Kamal el-Shenawi died in August at the age of 90.
He began his film career in Ghani Harb (Rich by War) in 1947, while his last movie was Zaza, a Hani Ramzi comedy in which he played the Egyptian president.
His most memorable films include Al-Less wa Al-Kelab (The Thief and the Dogs), Al-Mar'ah Al-Maghoola (The Unknown Woman), Hobi Al-Waheed (My Only Love), Al-Harib (The Fugitive) and Adel Emam's Al-Irhab wa Al-Kabab (Terrorism and Kebabs).
• Khairiya Ahmed
This veteran actress died at the age of 74 after a career in local film and television spanning the best part of half a century.
• Omar el-Hariri
Silver-screen icon Omar el-Hariri died in October at the age of 86. El-Hariri, who spent nearly 60 years in theatre and television, starred in more than 100 films.
El-Hariri made his film debut at the age of ten, when he briefly appeared in the 1937 silent movie Salama fi Kheir (Salama is Safe).
He subsequently starred in countless cinematic productions, including Wesada el-Khaleya (The Abandoned Pillow); Sukkar Hanim (Dame Sugar); El-Nasser Salah Eddin (Saladin); El-Khaina (Traitor); and Nahr el-Hob (River of Love).
• Hind Rostom
Actress Hind Rostom, a star from the golden era of Egyptian cinema, died at the age of 82 after being admitted with chest pains to a Cairo hospital.
She won popular acclaim for her 1958 film Cairo Station, about the city's underclass and their struggle to survive, in which she starred alongside legendary movie director Youssef Chahine.
Among her other well-known films were Love Rumour and Struggle on the Nile with Omar Sharif the country's most celebrated actor. She quit acting in 1979 because, she said, she wanted the people to remember her as a beautiful movie star.
Her last public appearance came after Egypt's popular uprising in January that forced Mubarak to step down.

• Hassan al-Asmar
One of the nation's most popular folk singers, Hassan al-Asmar died of a heart attack on August 7 at the age of 52.
Famous for his hit Ketab Hayati (The Book of My Life), he also ventured into film and stage, and, at the time of his death, he was reportedly working on a comeback album.
• Talaat Zein
The singer famous for ‘Tiki Ta', ‘Ya Moustafa Ya Moustafa' and the Egyptian version of the ‘Macarena', died in August at the age of 56 after battling cancer.

• Souad Mohamed
Egyptian singer of Lebanese origin Souad Mohamed passed away in July in a Cairo hospital at the age of 85.
She left behind hundreds of works, the most famous being the songs in the film Shaimaa, and her rendition of the poem ‘The Will of Life', written by late poet Abu Qasim al-Shabi.

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