The 38th edition of Cairo International Film Festival is scheduled to open on Tuesday, 15 November, and will run until 24 November.
This year’s edition is directed by Magda Wassef, with film critic Youssef Cherif Rizkallah as artistic director and renowned actor Mahmoud Hemeda as honourary president.
Egyptian director Kamla Abouzekri’s Yom Lel Sitat (A Day for Women) will MC the opening of the festival.
A total of 204 films will be screened in this year's edition, which has been dedicated to late iconic Egyptian actor Mahmoud Abdel-Aziz who died on Saturday.
The committee responsible for film selection , which was announced in May, includes a number of prominent Egyptian critics, including Essam Zakaria, Magdi Tayeb, Magda Khairallah, Magda Morris, Hanan Abu Diaa, Khaled Mahmud, Amal El-Gamal, Mohammed Atef, Nihad Ibrahim, Andrew Mohsen, Safa Laithi and Mahmoud El-Ghitani.
Eight Oscar-hopeful films will be screened in this year’s edition, including Egypt's submission for the foreign language category at the 2017 Academy Awards, Clash by Mohamed Diab, which will be screened in a special section that celebrates recent award-winning Egyptian films.
The other seven films are: Tony Erdman by Maren Ade (Germany), Kills on Wheels by Attila Till (Hungary), Eva Nova by Marko Skop (Slovakia), It’s Only the End of the World by Xavier Dolan (Canada), Ma’ Rosa by Brillante Mendoza (Philippines), The Black Hen directed by Kalo Pothi (Nepal), and Barakah Meets Barakah by Mahmoud Sabbagh (Saudi Arabia) which will screen as part of the festival's The Prospects of Arab Cinema parallel programme.
The guest of honour at this year's festival will be China, with around 20 Chinese films to be screened and more than 20 guest speakers, directors and experts on Chinese cinema scheduled to participate in seminars.
With 2016 marking the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare's death, CIFF’s 38th edition will include screenings of films either inspired by the playwright's dramaturgy or cinematic adapations of his plays.
According to the CIFF's management, the selection will include seven films: Sir Laurence Olivier’s Hamlet (1948), Kenneth Branagh’s Henry V (1989), Oliver Parker’s Othello (1995), Peter Brook’s King Lear (1971), Roman Polanski’s Macbeth (1971), Franco Zvirelli’s Romeo and Juliet (1968), and Kenneth Branagh’s Much Ado About Nothing (1993).
They will be topped by Egyptian films inspired by Shakespeare’s work, including Inas El-Degheidy’s Lobster (Estakoza), Fatin Abdel Wahab’s Ah min Hawa, and a variety of adaptations from Russia, Greece and other countries.
Paralleling the Shakespeare cinematic focus, the festival will also publish the book Shakespeare in Films written by film critic Essam Zakaria. This year’s films will be shown in 382 screenings, at a rate of four films per day, with screenings at popular cinema houses in Downtown Cairo.
Five halls will screen the festival’s films this year, three in Odeon Cinema and two in Cinema Karim.
With Cairo Opera House’s five screening halls, the total number of screening rooms will be 10, expanding the festival’s audience hosting capacity.
The festival will also use a digitised ticket-booking process through elcinema.com and will offer the public a mobile app to navigate the programme schedule.
In parallel to the screenings, the festival will host several workshops and talks, including a seminar on legislation to regulate the film industry. “Any change needs a legal framework, and that is what Egyptian cinema needs," festival president Magda Wassef had said in a press conference held last month.
The Faten Hamamma Awards will be awarded this year to late Egyptian director Mohamed Khan, Egyptian actor Yehia El-Fakharany, Palestinian producer Hussien El-Qala, Egyptian actor Ahmed Helmy, and Malian director Cheick Oumar Sissoko.
CIFF's advisory committee includes actress Yousra, lawyer Mona Zulficar, screenwriter and producer Mohamed Hefzy, scriptwriter Mariam Naoum, director Mohamed Diab, director Mohamed Qaliouby, and critic Tarek El-Shennawy.
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