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CAIRO 2021

The Cairo International Film Festival unveils its full line-up

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- Emir Kusturica will chair the International Competition jury, appointed to weigh up 13 feature films, 8 of which are European productions or co-productions

The Cairo International Film Festival unveils its full line-up
Daughters by Nana Neul

From 26 November-3 December, the 43rd Cairo International Film Festival, the oldest and the only “category A” film event in the Middle East, will screen 98 titles from 63 countries within its rich and diverse programme, 27 of which are world premieres and seven international premieres. The festival kicks off with the hilarious film-industry satire Official Competition [+see also:
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by skilful Argentinian duo Mariano Cohn and Gastón Duprat, as one of the highly anticipated Middle Eastern premieres. Further well-received movies at previous festivals, such as Stefan Arsenijevic’s As Far as I Can Walk, Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Memoria [+see also:
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and Céline Sciamma’s Petite Maman [+see also:
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, will be shown within the Official Selection – Out of Competition, the Special Screenings and the International Panorama sections.

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Among the International Competition contenders, four of the non-European titles will enjoy their world premieres: Abusaddam by Nadine Khan (Egypt), Daughters of Abdul-Rahman by Zaid Abu Hamdan (Jordan), Seven Dogs by Rodrigo Guerrero (Argentina) and Tomorrow by Dhafer L'Abidine (Tunisia). Daughters [+see also:
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by Nana Neul (Germany/Italy/Greece) will celebrate its international premiere, while the rest of the titles will be shown locally for the first time: 107 Mothers [+see also:
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interview: Peter Kerekes
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by Peter Kerekes (Slovakia/Czech Republic/Ukraine), A Chiara [+see also:
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interview: Jonas Carpignano
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by Jonas Carpignano (Italy/France), Aloners by Hong Seong-eun (South Korea), Miracle [+see also:
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interview: Bogdan George Apetri
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by Bogdan George Apetri (Romania/Czech Republic/Latvia), Prayers for the Stolen [+see also:
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by Tatiana Huezo (Mexico/Germany/Brazil), Small Body [+see also:
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interview: Laura Samani
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by Laura Samani (Italy/France/Slovenia), Softie [+see also:
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interview: Samuel Theis
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by Samuel Theis (France) and The Hole in the Fence [+see also:
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by Joaquín del Paso (Mexico/Poland). One of the 13 titles will be granted the Youssef Cherif Rizkallah Audience Award, with a cash value of $15,000.

Emir Kusturica and his colleagues on the jury – namely, composer Khaled Mouzannar (Lebanon), directors Chaitanya Tamhane (India) and Roberto Minervini (Italy), and actresses Marisa Berenson (USA), Nelly Karim (Egypt) and Nora Arnezeder (France) – will be deciding on the winners of the awards in seven categories: the Golden Pyramid Award for Best Film, presented to the corresponding producer; the Silver Pyramid (Special Jury Award) for Best Director; the Bronze Pyramid Award for Best First or Second Work, presented to the director; the Naguib Mahfouz Award for Best Screenplay; the Best Actor Award; the Best Actress Award; and the Henry Barakat Award for Best Artistic Contribution.

Feature films will also be locking horns in the Horizons of Arab Cinema Competition and the International Critics’ Week Competition, in which there are 12 European productions and co-productions premiering locally: Fiasco [+see also:
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by Nicolas Khoury (Lebanon/Netherlands), Memory Box [+see also:
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interview: Joana Hadjithomas, Khalil J…
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by Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige (France/Lebanon/Canada/Qatar), Our River… Our Sky by Maysoon Pachachi (Iraq/UK/France/Germany/Kuwait/UAE), Streams [+see also:
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interview: Mehdi Hmili
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by Mehdi Hmili (Tunisia/France), The River [+see also:
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by Ghassan Salhab (Lebanon/France/Germany), Amparo [+see also:
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by Simón Mesa Soto (Colombia/Sweden/Qatar/Germany), Vera Dreams of the Sea [+see also:
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interview: Kaltrina Krasniqi
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by Kaltrina Krasniqi (Kosovo/Albania/North Macedonia), Blue Moon [+see also:
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interview: Alina Grigore
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by Alina Grigorie (Romania), La Civil [+see also:
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interview: Teodora Ana Mihai
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by Teodora Mihai (Belgium/Romania/Mexico), Wild Roots [+see also:
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by Hajni Kis (Hungary/Slovakia), The Stranger [+see also:
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interview: Ameer Fakher Eldin
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by Ameer Fakher Eldin (Syria/Germany/Palestine/Qatar) and Dark Heart of the Forest [+see also:
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interview: Serge Mirzabekiantz
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by Serge Mirzabekiantz (Belgium/France). Together with the titles from the International Competition, they are eligible for the Best Arab Film Award (worth $10,000). Another 22 short films will compete within the International Short Films Competition for the Youssef Chahine Award ($5,000) and the Special Jury Award. Two honorary prizes will be given out, too: the Golden Pyramid Award for Lifetime Achievement will go to highly popular Egyptian actress Nelly, while her fellow countryman, thesp Karim Abdel Aziz, will receive the Faten Hamama Award for his distinguished cinematic achievements.

The Cairo Industry Days sidebar event will hold its fourth edition from 1-5 December, once again including a series of talks and master classes, various activities organised by Netflix, and a “One Day TV Focused Pitch Forum”, co-organised with the Middle East Media Initiative (MEMI) and set to present 11 projects, among other highlights. The key industry section is the Cairo Film Connection (CFC) co-production platform, where a jury composed of prominent film professionals will select projects to receive cash and in-kind awards presented by the CFC’s partners. The jury members will distribute more than $300,000 via 21 awards offered by 22 film companies and institutions. Said jury includes cinema programming director at the Cannes Marché du Film Alice Kharoubi (France), filmmaker Sherif El-Bendary (Egypt) and Metropolis Cinema director Hania Mroue (Lebanon). Of the 15 selected projects, eight (in other words, the majority) have been developed by women directors, five projects are by first-time helmers, three feature-length narrative projects were submitted by award-winning directors whose filmographies include a number of acclaimed documentaries, and three celebrated filmmakers are back with their sophomore projects.

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