The organisers of the Cairo International Film Festival have announced that Egypt's veteran filmmaker Sherif Arafa (spelled Sherif Arafah on IMDb) will receive the Faten Hamama Honorary Award during the festival's 41st edition which is scheduled to take place 20-29 November.
Born in 1960, son of the late director Saad Arafa and a graduate of the Higher Institute of Cinema, Sherif Arafa is among the leading filmmakers of his generation.
His three-decades long filmography includes 22 long feature films. Five of his films directed in 1990s — Al-Le’b ma’a Al-Kobar (Playing with the Giants, 1990), Terrorism and Kebab (1992), Al-Mansi (1993), Toyour Al-Zalam (Birds of Darkness, 1995), Sleeping in Honey (1996) — starred Egypt's renowned actor Adel Imam.
He also directed two plays for the theatre, including Al-Zaim (The Leader, 1993), also starring Adel Imam.
Still from film Terrorism and Kebab (1992)
Arafa's other films include Aboud ala Al-Hudoud (Aboud on the Border, 1999), Al-Nazer (The Headmaster, 2000), Ibn Ezz (2001), Foul El-Seen El-Azeem (Great Beans of China, 2004), starring comedian Mohamed Heneidi, the action blockbuster Mafia (2002), El-Gazirah (2007), Welad El-Amm (The Cousins, 2009), among many others.
He also wrote scripts for a number of the well known films he directed, including The Treasure 2 (2019), The Passage (2019) and Tamantashar Yom (18 Days, co-written, 2011).
Arafa also directed a number of episodes of the TV series Tamer and Shawqia and Critical Moments (2007), as well as numerous advertisements.
Arafa garnered several awards locally, including the Ministry of Culture’s award for best director and best film awards for Playing with the Giants, Al-Mansi and Terrorism and Kebab, and best film and best director awards from the Catholic Film Festival for Toyour Al-Zalam (The Birds of Darkness, 1995).
He was also awarded the best film and best director award for The Dwarfs Are Coming, Sama’ Hoss, Playing with the Giants, Terrorism and Kebab, Toyour Al-Zalam and Laugh and the Picture will Turn out Right at the Egyptian Cinema Film Association Festival.
Still from film The Treasure 2 (2019)
International recognition for Arafa came with the silver award for best film for Terrorism and Kebab at the Milano Festival for African Cinema, as well as the bronze award from the Valencia Film Festival for Toyour Al-Zalam.
CIFF President Mohamed Hefzy will deliver the award to Arafa at the opening ceremony at the Cairo Opera House on 20 November.
“Arafa,” Hefzy commented in the official press release, “is one of the icons of Egyptian cinema who has dazzled the audience with that art’s magic. His works manage to combine artistic and entertainment value and he is an example to be followed in his ability to develop and keep up with the latest trends in his works without anyone period claiming him. This gives him a special, incontestable place among filmmakers and audiences alike. He has also become a trademark denoting artistic and human value and respect for the viewer’s intelligence, and he is as popular on the television screen as he is in the movie theatres.”
Still from film The Passage (2019)
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