Famed director Mohamed Khan considers Muscat International Film Festival's decision to bar his most recent film ‘Before the Summer Crowds’ (or Abl Zahmet El Saif) from participating in the festival's upcoming round an insult to him and his film career.
The festival’s decision came after the governmental censorship authority in Oman rejected the film for its alleged containment of “some inappropriate scenes.”
Before the Summer Crowds is a drama and romance set at a resort by the sea. It follows an estranged couple and their neighbour whose holiday plans do not go quite as expected.
For his part, Khan commented on this decision on his Facebook account writing, “I consider this rejection [of my film] a personal insult.”
Khan appreciated the decision by MAD Solutions, a Cairo-based company that specialises in public relations and marketing for the film and entertainment industry, and the distributor of Before the Summer Crowds, to withdraw all their other film submissions to the festival, adding that he aspires to "see other Egyptian participants [in the festival] do the same.”
Khan also asserted that “Before the Summer Crowds’ participation [in the festival] was based on a request by the festival’s organisation. An agent from the festival had watched the film in the [past edition of] Dubai International Film Festival.”
“The intervention of a governmental censorship authority in the choices made by an international festival is an intrusion upon the freedom of choice. While conventionally, all other international film festivals usually screen films without having to submit to any governmental censorship authority,” Khan explained.
“I’m proud of ‘Before the Summer Crowds,’ and Muscat International Film Festival's organisation should have taken my film vocation into account and showed respect towards it.”
Before the Summer Crowds stars Maged El-Kedwany, Hana Shiha and Ahmed Dawood. It premiered at the Dubai International Film Festival where it participated in the Muhr Feature competition.
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