This year, the Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF) will hold a total of 382 screenings, at a rate of four per day, across three venues and eight screening halls.
The festival includes over 110 films screened within seven main sections.
The international competition for feature films and documentaries includes 16 films. The festival’s opening film was Kamla Abo Zekri’s A Day for Women, as well as Egyptian film The Other Land by Ali Edrees.
Participating films come from Serbia, Georgia, Algeria, Hungary, Morocco, Italy, China, India, Greece, Estonia, and Mozambique, among others.
The International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) will grant two prizes at the festival awarded by a jury that is comprised of actress Soheir Fahmy from Egypt, Tara Juddah from Australia and Tonci Valentic from Croatia.
Nine films from eight countries will screen in the Out of Competition section, including Japan, UK, Romania, Canada, France, Philippines, Serbia, and Austria.
Meryl Streep’s latest film Florence Foster Jenkins, Serbian film On The Milky Road, and US documentary Where to Invade Next are among the selections.
The Festival of Festivals section hosts a selection of 36 films, including German film A Heavy Heart, Lebanese film Halal Love, and Romanian film By the Rails, to name a few.
Forty-three films were selected in the International Panorama section, including A Footnote in Ballet History by Hisham Abdel-Khalek, a production between Egypt, France, the US and Saudi Arabia, as well as the American film Nasser’s Republic: The Making of Modern Egypt by Michal Goldman.
Eight award-winning Egyptian films produced between 2015 and 2016 are highlighted in the New Egyptian Cinema section.
According to CIFF, the aim of this programme is to allow the international guests of the festival to watch Egyptian films that toured and won awards in various international festivals in the past months.
The films are:
-- Before the Summer Crowds (Qabl Zahmet El-Saif) by late director Mohamed Khan, starring Maged El-Kedwany and Hana Shiha.
-- Out of Order (Khareg El-Khedma) by Mahmoud Kamel, starring Ahmed Al Fishawy and Sherine Reda.
-- Nawara, directed by Hala Khalil and starring Mahmoud Hemida and Menna Shalabi, who won the Best Actress Award at the 2016 Dubai International Film Festival for her role in the film.
-- Clash (Eshtebak) by Mohamed Diab, starring Nelly Karim, which premiered at Cannes ‘Un Certain Regard’ Section last May.
-- Hepta, directed by Hadi El-Bagoury and starring Maged El Kedwany.
-- Sins of the Flesh (Haram El-Gasad) by Khaled El-Hagar.
-- Brooks, Meadows and Lovely faces (Al-Maa w Al-Khodra w Al-Wajh Al-Hassan) by Yousry Nasrallah.
-- Bitter Moon (Sokkar Mor), by Hani Khalifa.
CIFF’s tributes this year include the Faten Hamama Award, and China as the guest of honour.
The Faten Hamama Excellency Award was given to German director Christian Petzold, Chinese director Jia zhangke, and Egyptian actor Ahmed Helmy.
Recipients of the Faten Hamama Appreciation Award were called to the stage, including Mali director Cheick Oumar Sissoko, Palestinian producer Hussein El-Qala, and late Egyptian director Mohamed Khan, whose daughter Nadine Khan received the prize on his behalf.
Egyptian Actor Yehia El-Fakharany will be awarded in the closing ceremony, as he was unable to attend the opening.
Around 15 Chinese films will be screened and more than 20 guest speakers, directors, and experts on Chinese cinema are scheduled to participate in seminars.
The China tribute is divided into classic Chinese cinema, screening Spring in a Small Town by Fei Mu and The Life of Mine by Shi Hui, as well as new era Chinese films, screening 14 films between 2001 and 2015 (with one film from each year, except for 2005 and 2012.)
The classic films were chosen to provide insight into how Chinese filmmaking evolved over the course of the past six decades, while the new era films focus on contemporary Chinese cinema to provide a retrospective into modern Chinese filmmaking of the 21st century, with its multiple narrative styles and film schools.
Jean-Michel Frodon’s book Chinese Cinema: A Retrospective was written specifically to be included among the CIFF publications, with an Arabic and an English translation.
The Classic Films section will highlight Shakespeare this year with nine films based on his plays, on the occasion of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death.
The films include Egyptian director Inas El-Degheidy’s Lobster (Estakoza), and a variety of adaptations from the US, Japan, the UK, Denmark, Italy and other countries, from Hamlet by Lawrence Olivier (1948) to Othello by Oliver Parker (1996).
The international jury president is German director and scriptwriter Christian Petzold.
The eight-member jury comprises two Egyptians; actress Arwa Gouda and director Hani Khalifa, and six international members, including Jordanian actress Saba Mubarak, Mali director Cheick Oumar Sissoko, Polish director, scriptwriter and producer Filip Bajon, Chinese director and scriptwriter Li Yu, American director, screenwriter, editor and producer Mary Sweeney and Australian producer Robyn Kershaw.
There are also three parallel sections of the festival; the International Cinema of Tomorrow Competition headed by Mohsen El-Touni, Critics Week directed by Ahmed Hassouna, and Arab Cinema prospects, directed by Sayed Fouad.
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