In a surprise move, Misr International Films (MIF) has begun uploading part of its back catalogue onto YouTube.
It is the first time an Egyptian production company has undertaken such an initiative.
Marrianne Khoury, director and producer of MIF, said the decision came as a response to how the film industry has become an open market.
“Since most of these films are already pirated, so we’d rather offer them in good quality through our own channel,” she told Ahram Online.
MIF was founded in 1972 by the late, world-renowned Egyptian filmmaker Youssef Chahine. He received a lifetime achievement award at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival.
According to the company's website, "[MIF] is commonly acknowledged as the most prestigious film company in the Middle East...Now an integrated film company with substantial experience in every aspect of the production, distribution and exhibition processes, [it] remains instrumental in designing the landscape of the Egyptian film industry."
MIF's YouTube channel can be accessed here.
Misr International Films are behind a number of important film initiatives, among them Panorama of the European Film, an annual festival that facilitates access to European films in Egypt. Throughout its seven editions, the Panorama has stood out for its compelling content and solid organisation, the latter often missing from similar Cairo-based festivals.
Another initiative monitored by MIF is Zawya, a project launched in March 2014 representing Cairo's first attempt at an art house cinema. Zawya hosts theatrical releases along with retrospectives for veteran directors, short films, documentaries, experimental films and classics. Over the past months Zawya has also screened Egyptian premieres of films from the region's emerging directors as well as established ones. Many of Zawya's films are attended by the filmmakers who engage in stimulating discussions with the audience.
Releases include 16 documentaries, 18 feature films, 20 films directed by Youssef Chahine, 32 episodes of Chahine Why, 12 episodes of Chahine’s story, and 30 episodes of Dawaran Shobra TV series.