email print share on facebook share on twitter share on google+

CAIRO 2018

The Cairo Film Festival turns 40

by 

- The A-list gathering, which is the oldest and only internationally accredited annual film festival in the Arab world, Africa and the Middle East, will unspool from 20-29 November

The Cairo Film Festival turns 40
A Twelve-Year Night by Álvaro Brechner

Peter Farrelly’s comedy-drama Green Book, starring Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali, will have the honour of raising the curtain on the Cairo International Film Festival, which this year celebrates its 40th birthday and will take place from 20-29 November. The winner of Toronto’s coveted People’s Choice Award will have its MENA premiere at the Egyptian gathering, in the awe-inspiring surroundings of the Cairo Opera House.

(The article continues below - Commercial information)

The Cairo International Film Festival, the new president of which is Film Clinic producer Mohamed Hefzy, who was appointed as recently as March this year, is one of only 15 festivals granted category “A” status by FIAPF, and is the oldest and only internationally accredited annual film festival in the Arab world, Africa and the Middle East.

This year’s high-flying main international jury will be a sight to behold: it will be presided over by Academy Award- and Palme d’Or-winning Danish director Bille August, who will be aided in his tasks by Filipino director Brillante Mendoza, Tunisian actor Dhafer L'Abidine, Lebanese actress-screenwriter Diamand Bou Abboud, Italian director Francesco Munzi, Egyptian filmmaker Hala Khalil, Argentinian producer-writer Juan Vera, Belgian actress Natacha Regnier and Kazakh actress Samal Yeslyamova (seen recently playing the lead role in this year’s Oscar submission Ayka [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Sergey Dvortsevoy
film profile
]
, which will also get an airing at Cairo). They will be tasked with handing out the awards in the official film sections, including the Golden Pyramid for Best Film, the Silver Pyramid, or Special Jury Award, for Best Director, and the Bronze Pyramid for Best First or Second Work. In addition to honorary awards (see below) and other prizes given out in the Horizons of New Arab Cinema Competition, the International Critics’ Week Competition and the Cinema of Tomorrow International Competition, there will be an Audience Award worth $20,000, granted to one of the films selected in the International Competition, and the Best Arab Film Award, which comes with $15,000, plus a FIPRESCI Award.

British actor-producer-director Ralph Fiennes will be honoured with a career award, as will Egyptian actor Hassan Hosny. In addition, British writer-director Peter Greenaway will be presented with the prestigious Faten Hamama Honorary Award during the opening ceremony, in appreciation of his bright, distinguished and international artistic career in filmmaking. Greenaway will also be giving a master class to pass on his experience to the Egyptian audience of film buffs.

The International Competition comprises a tantalising array of features from around the globe, the vast majority of which with European involvement – namely, A Twelve-Year Night [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Álvaro Brechner
film profile
]
by Álvaro Brechner (Spain/Argentina/Uruguay/France), Amin [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Philippe Faucon
film profile
]
by Philippe Faucon (France), Birds of Passage [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
by Cristina Gallego and Ciro Guerra (Colombia/Denmark/Mexico/France), Donbass [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Sergei Loznitsa
film profile
]
by Sergei Loznitsa (Germany/Ukraine/France/Netherlands/Romania), Euphoria [+see also:
film review
trailer
making of
film profile
]
by Valeria Golino (Italy), Ext. Night by Ahmad Abdalla El Sayed (Egypt/UAE), I Act, I Am by Miroslav Mandić (Slovenia/Bosnia and Herzegovina), Manta Ray [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
by Phuttiphong Aroonpheng (Thailand/France/China), Obey [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
by Jamie Jones (UK), One Day [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Zsófia Szilágyi
film profile
]
by Zsófia Szilágyi (Hungary), Pause [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Tonia Mishiali
film profile
]
by Tonia Mishiali (Cyprus/Greece), The Gentle Indifference of the World [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Adilkhan Yerzhanov
film profile
]
by Adilkhan Yerzhanov (Kazakhstan/France), The Third Wife by Ash Mayfair (Vietnam) and the animated title The Tower [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Mats Grorud
film profile
]
by Mats Grorud (Norway/Sweden/France).

In addition to these movies and other titles screening across the various sections of the festival, Cairo will play host to four world premieres: The Immubilia Crime by Khaled El Hagar (Egypt), Wanted by Nibal Arakji (Lebanon), The Giraffe by Ahmed Magdy (Egypt) and Kilo 64 by Amir el Shenawy (Egypt). A raft of films from all around the world will also be enjoying their international premieres, such as Distances [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Elena Trapé
film profile
]
by Elena Trapé (Spain), Domestique [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Adam Sedlák
film profile
]
by Adam Sedlák (Czech Republic/Slovakia), Rafaël [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
by Ben Sombogaart (Netherlands/Belgium/Italy), Tazzeka [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
by Jean-Philippe Gaud (France), The Benefit of the Doubt [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Samuel Tilman
film profile
]
by Samuel Tilman (Belgium/France/Switzerland) and Two Little Italians [+see also:
trailer
interview: Tommaso Arrighi
film profile
]
by Paolo Sassanelli (Italy/Iceland).

The industry side of things includes the Cairo Industry Days (25-29 November), in partnership with the Arab Cinema Center, the primary aim of which is to support Arab cinema, and the Cairo Film Connection co-production platform, both of which will be re-introduced at the 40th edition after previously being discontinued. A total of $110,000 in cash prizes will be up for grabs this year for Arab film projects at various stages of development, and approximately 120 industry professionals are expected to attend to partake in the Cairo Film Connection, including executives from Gaumont, HBO and Netflix. A range of workshops, master classes and industry panels will also be on offer, covering a wide array of topics such as “Finding the Essential Truth in Film”, “The Creative Role of the Producer”, “How Can We Forge a Stronger Euro-Arab Production Alliance?” and “Storytelling of Awakening and Change”.

A special focus at this edition will be the tribute to Arab female directors, a showcase celebrating eight Arab women who have accomplished great achievements in filmmaking, and who have prestigiously represented Arab cinema at international festivals. The titles included in this selection are Nawara’ by Egypt’s Hala Khalil, Al- Khroug lel- nahar by her fellow countrywoman Hala Lotfy, 3000 Nights [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
by Palestine’s Mai Masri, Wajib [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
by her compatriot Annemarie Jacir, Wadjda [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
by Saudi Arabia’s Haifaa Al- Mansour, Beauty and the Dogs [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Kaouther Ben Hania
film profile
]
by Tunisia’s Kaouther Ben Hania, Blessed [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
by Algeria’s Sofia Djama and Sharp Tools by Emirati poet and director Nujoom Al-Ghanem.

Did you enjoy reading this article? Please subscribe to our newsletter to receive more stories like this directly in your inbox.