Moderators of the conference included the president of the festival, Marianne Khoury, the EU Deputy Head of the Egyptian delegation, Reinhold Brender, the headmaster of the Lycée Français, Jamil Maleyran, and Malak Makar, the festival coordinator.
Marianne Khoury relayed the several sections of the festival and announced that this year’s edition will be spread throughout four cities: Cairo, Alexandria, Tanta, and Menya.
“One of the most distinctive things about this year’s edition is its decentralization,” said Khoury.
Screenings will be held in Karim Cinema, Odeon Cinema, Point 90, and Plaza Cinema in Cairo as well as Amir Cinema in Alexandria, Rivoli Cinema in Tanta, and City Scape Cinema in Menya.
When asked why these cities in particular were chosen, Khoury responded saying that the people of Tanta came to them and not the other way around.
“Youth from different governorates in Egypt come every year just to attend the festival,” she said.
This year there is a diverse selection of films that includes 37 feature films, 12 documentaries and 16 shorts. Sections include a Balkan focus, which screens five feature films from the Balkan region as well as a selection of seven short films from Greece focusing on the country in its time of crisis.
Highlights of the European Selection include the German film Victoria by Sebastian Schipper, which is impressively shot in a single take and has won the Silver Bear for Best Cinematography, the Italian film Mia Madre by Nani Moretti, which was nominated for the Palme D’Or and the UK film 45 Years by Andrew Heigh, an emotional drama that has won the Silver Bear for best actor and actress.
The coming-of-age tale Mustang by Deniz Gamze Ergüven and the horror film Goodnight Mommy by Severin Diala and Veronika Franz are among the highlights in the emerging directors section, which features films by first-time directors.
Amy, a documentary film about the singer Amy Winehouse, who died tragically in 2011 is among the highlights of the documentary section.
Other sections this year include Crossroads, a section of films by Arab filmmakers with joint productions by European countries, Carte Blanche, a section in which films that have inspired filmmakers Mohamed Khan, Hala Galal and Amr Salama will be screened, and a tribute to the centenarian and prolific Portuguese filmmaker Manoel De Oliviera.
The documentary Etre et Avoir (To Be and To Have) is also one of the important films to be screened at the festival, which is screening among a retrospective of the French documentary filmmaker Nicolas Philibert. The film points its camera at a school in the classroom in a French village and follows a dedicated teacher shedding light on his teaching methods and students.
Education is also highly important in the festival’s program and each year trips by several schools are organized to attend the festival. Last year a workshop was given for public school teachers to learn how to use cinema as an educational method.
Jamil Melyran said the partnership with the festival is part of the Lycée Français curriculum. “We are following a method that encourages students to watch, learn and work with pleasure,” he said. “School nowadays is more and more in touch with reality.”
Reinhold Brender emphasized the importance of promoting European Culture in Egypt citing that the EU has been supporting the Panorama of European film since its 2nd edition in 2009 and has spent 35 thousand euros in support of this year’s edition.
“We strongly believe in culture in general and cinema in particular,” said Brender “cinema doesn’t only project a picture but it shows the habits, values, and fears of a culture.”
He quoted the important Polish filmmaker Krzysztof Kieślowski, “you make films to give people something, to transport them somewhere. And it does not matter to transport them in the form of intellect or through intuition. Intuition, fortunetelling, and dreams express the inner lives of humans.”
Brender concluded that the EU is proud to have the panorama in its yearly cultural agenda.
*Ahram Online is the main media sponsor of The Panorama of the European Film and of Zawya.
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