The award ceremony for the Cinegouna Platform was held on Thursday 28 September at the Gouna Film Festival, giving awards for seven films in different stages of production.
Egyptian film Odtein We Sala (Two Rooms and a Salon) by Sherif El-Bendary won the biggest award at the Cinegouna.
The award, worth $20,000, was granted for the film’s “unique literary adaptation, and clear vision of production,” as noted by the jury members.
The film is an adaptation of the novel of the same name (Hogratan Wa Sala) by Ibrahim Aslan.
El-Bendary expressed to Ahram Online how happy he is that his film, which was on hold for many years, is back on track.
"I've been working on this film for six years, so I'm very glad I didn't let go of it," the director said.
The Cinegouna Platform and Springboard is a section of the festival that aims to support Arab filmmakers creatively and financially through a film development lab for narrative and documentary films.
“The platform was very professional, and our mentors, the producers the distributors who were present were very well chosen, the mentors and jury were very experiencedt, and he films selected were very good, it was a very rewarding experience.”
A total of 12 in-development films that have not started shooting, alongside four works in-progress where almost 50 percent of the film is shot, participated in the lab.
The eight winners were selected from the 16 projects by three jury members: Alessandra Speziale, Hala Galal, who both presented the awards, as well as Nizar Andari, who was absent from the ceremony.
Sherif El-Bendary receiving the award from El-Gouna Film Festival at the Cinegouna Platfrom Awards (Photo: Soha Elsirgany)
The awards were granted by the six sponsors of the programme, alongside one from the festival itself.
“We urge El-Gouna Film Festival to continue supporting the film industry, and to improve this section, as it is clear there is so much talent,” Speziale said.
Aroma Studios awards went to Yomeddine by Abu Bakr Shawki from Egypt for a film in progress, and Noura in Wonderland by Hinde Boujemaa from Tunisia for a film in development.
The Mentor Arabia foundation, which tackles youth empowerment, awarded $5,000 for the Palestinian film 200 Metres by Amin Nayfeh.
Backstage by Afef Ben Mahmoud, a Tunisian / Moroccan co-production, was awarded by the Film Factory production company with $5,000.
Creative Media Ventrues (Ebdaa) awarded $10,000 to the Egyptian film Abu Zaabal 1989 by Bassam Mortada.
New Century Production awarded $10,000 for Lebanese film Costa Brava by Mounia Akl.
The Egyptian Critics Society granted the Samir Farid Award to Georgian director Anna Orshaza for her film Scary Mother, selected by jury members Andrew Mohsen and Manal Barakat.
This article was updated on 29 September.
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