The opening ceremony of the 20th edition of the Ismailia International Film Festival for Documentaries and Shorts will take place tonight in the coastal Egyptian city of Ismailia.
The festival will run between 11 and 17 April, showcasing 40 movies screened across three venues in Ismailia. The official competition includes 10 feature length documentaries, 14 short movies and 17 animated movies.
The opening will be attended by Minister of Culture Inas Abdel-Dayem and Ismailia governor Yassin Taher, as well as a number of figures from the film industry.
The opening ceremony will be followed by the screening of a movie about Ismailia football team “El-Darawish,” explaining the history of the team and its different generations of players.
Two agreements have been signed with the Moroccan National Cinematic Center, on cooperating in the various cinematic fields, and the Royal Film Jordanian Organisations, which will allow the festival’s movies to be screened in Jordan.
The festival will also include seminars about the late critic Samir Farid entitled “Establishing Movie Critic”, late critic Ali Abou Shady and the Iraqi director Samir Gamaleldin.
In the words of Hashim El-Nahas, the founder of Ismailia International Film Festival for Documentaries and Shorts, published at the festival's website: "When I was appointed as the Director of the National Cinema Center, I thought it might have been a chance to make the dream of all documentary filmmakers come true; the dream of establishing an annual festival for documentaries and shorts where winners receive prizes and the development of documentary filmmaking industry is widely discussed."
He underlines importance of having a festival outside Cairo to expand the cultural activities outside the capital and "to make of the event a culture camp for Egypt’s documentary and short filmmakers where they spend a few days only watching films and discussing filmmaking away from the everyday distractions that usually take place in Cairo."
Throughout the years, the festival has gained wider recognition and the number of guests, audiences and films had increased.
"The past editions of the International Film Festival for Documentaries and Shorts were considered one of Egypt's best film festivals, if not already the best," El Nahas writes.
The festival's president this year is Essam Zakareya, a Cairo-born journalist, film critic and researcher who has written hundreds of articles about films for several Arabic publications. Zakareya also authored numerous books about the Egyptian and foreign cinema industry. He has been a jury member at several local and international film festivals.
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