The 44th Cairo International Film Festival, headed by renowned actor Hussein Fahmy and directed by Amir Ramses, will open on Sunday 13 November with a special ceremony held at the Cairo Opera House.
This year the festival will offer a large assortment of films from six continents and dozens of countries.
This intercontinental variety is particularly apparent in the Short Film Competition, whose jury is headed by Italian filmmaker Michelangelo Frammartino, with members including Egyptian producer Ahmed Amer and actress Rim Turki (France/Tunisia). Twenty-one films will be screened (chosen from over 4,700 submissions), representing six continents and 17 countries.
Equally, the festival will present a large number of films across its official competition and other non-competitive segments.
Among the films to be screened within the International Competition are 19 B (Egypt) by Ahmad Abdalla; Alam (France, Tunisia, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Qatar) by Firas Khoury; The Astronaut (France) by Nicolas Giraud; Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman (France, Canada, Netherlands, Luxembourg) by Pierre Földes; Bread and Salt (Poland) by Damian Kocur; Butterfly Vision (Ukraine, Czech, Croatia, Sweden) by Maksym Nakonechnyi; among others.
All films screened in this section are either world or MENA premieres, with many of the latter ones already awarded internationally.
The official International Competition’s jury is headed by Japanese filmmaker Naomi Kawase. The jury will also include Egyptian cinematographer Nancy Abdelfattah, actress Swara Bhasker (India), composer Rageh Daoud (Egypt), actress Stefania Casini (Italy), filmmaker Joaquin Del Paso (Mexico), and actor Samir Guesmi (Morocco).
Other segments including film screenings are Horizons of Arab Cinema, International Critics’ Week, Short Films, all of which represent CIFF’s competitions.
The non-competitive segment includes screenings within the Official Selection – Out Of Competition, Special Screenings, International Panorama, Midnight Screenings, and Cairo Classics.
The jury of Best Arab Film Award includes three members: actor Ahmed Magdy (Egypt), programmer Dorota Lech (Poland) and actress Nour (Lebanon).
The Horizons of Arab Cinema Competition’s jury panel consists of actor Michel Kammoun (Lebanon), producer Moufida Fedhila (Tunisia) and costume designer Reem El Adl (Egypt).
The Critic’s Week jury includes writer Ben Sharrock (UK), actor Karim Kassem (Egypt) and film critic Houda Ibrahim (France).
Industry related activities
The festival will also hold the 5th edition of the Cairo Industry Days (17-22 November).
This year, the activities of CID shall encompass 13 events ranging between masterclasses, conversations, workshops, and panel discussions featuring prominent award-winning filmmakers and industry professionals from around the world.
Among the masterclasses are those led by Hungarian filmmaker Tarr, the Festival’s Jury President Naomi Kawase, Ben Perry, the VFX Manager Netflix MENA & Africa, American Cinematographer Irvin Liu, Egyptian scriptwriter Mariam Naoum, among others.
The Cairo Industry Days will also feature the Cairo Film Connection.
In its 9th edition this year, the CFC focuses on supporting film projects in their many production phases.
This year, the CFC received 135 promising, original and powerful projects from all around the Arab world. Accordingly, new bright talents were discovered, along with established filmmakers who continue to surprise us. This year, 15 projects from 10 countries were selected, between development and post-production. Five of them are from Egypt.
A plethora of guests
This year, the festival will host over 125 guests from across the world, featuring well-known directors, actors and actresses, producers, art directors and musicians.
Many of the guests will be present during their films’ screenings and in Q&A sessions, while others will hold special seminars and workshops throughout the duration of the festival.
The guests linked to the Official Competition include director Maksym Nakonechyi and actress Rita Burkovska (Butterfly Vision – Ukraine, Czech, Croatia, Sweden); Pierre Földes, director of Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman, a French-Canadian-Luxemburgian-Dutch animated feature film; a large number of cast and crew members from films such as The Island of Forgiveness (Tunisia) and The Dam (Sudan).
While the festival is bringing together guests who are connected to all of its different sections, the representatives of Arab cinema are particularly highlighted through the Horizon of Arab Cinema segment.
For example, the festival will host 10 members of the cast and crew of Far from The Nile (Egypt), alongside filmmakers and actors representing films including Riverbed (Lebanon, Qatar), Joseph’s Journey (Syria), Jalaldine (Morocco), and The Family (Algeria).
Honoring the cinema icons
The festival will offer its highest recognition, the Golden Pyramid Award for lifetime achievement, to Lebleba, an award-winning film actress, singer and entertainer. Lebleba’s extensive repertoire encompasses 88 films and four TV drama hits.
The second Lifetime Achievement Award will be given to the legendary Hungarian filmmaker Béla Tarr, who will also hold a masterclass that will follow the screening of his film Werckmeister Harmonies.
The Faten Hamama Excellence Award will be awarded to Kamla Abu Zekri, an Egyptian film director whose extensive oeuvre encompasses several masterpiece films. The titles include Sana Oula Nasb, her film debut in 2004, followed by a plethora of films where she contributed as the film director and writer. Among Abu Zejri’s latest productions are 100 Wesh (2020), in which she collaborated one with Nelly Karim, the former recipient of CIFF’s Faten Hamama Award, and the Betolou’ El Rouhin (Ramadan 2022), which highlighted the daily struggles faced by women in the ISIS community.
Source: Ahram Online