The management of the 41st Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF) has announced that it is granting actress Menna Shalaby the Faten Hamama excellence award.
Shalaby will be honoured during the CIFF's official opening ceremony on 20 November.
Commenting on the choice of Shalaby for the award – which is given for remarkable achievements in acting – CIFF President Mohamed Hefzy said in a press release that "only a small number of actors deserve to be honoured with a prize that bears the name of the Lady of the Arab Screen," referring to iconic actress Faten Hamama.
Shalaby, who stands out for carefully selecting her roles and boldly taking the roads less travelled, became one of her generation’s most significant actresses in record-breaking time.
Shalaby has expressed her happiness with the honour, saying that although she has received many awards throughout her career, all of which she cherishes and by which she is humbled, "nothing can compete with being honoured by my own country’s biggest festival; that will always have a special place in my heart."
Shalaby began her career in 2001 with the television series 'Morning and Evening Talk,' based on a story by Nobel laureate Naguib Mahfouz. Her silver screen debut was also in 2001 when she got a role in the late Radwan Al-Kashef’s 'The Magician.'
Ever since, Shalaby has worked with many renowned Egyptian directors and alongside many other stars. Her filmography includes I Love Cinema (2004 dir. Osama Fawzi), The Best of Times (2004, dir. Hala Khalil), Downtown Girls (2005, dir. Mohamed Khan), About Love and Passion (2006, dir Kamla Abouzekry), Chaos (2007, dir. Youssef Chahine), and Microphone (2010, dire Ahmad Abdalla).
She collaborated with Youssry Nasrallah on 'After the Battle' (2012), which brought Egyptian cinema back to Cannes after a 15-year absence, and 'Brooks, Meadows and Lovely Faces' (2016), which world premiered at the Locarno Film Festival before it was released in France and Switzerland.
Among Shalaby's most significant appearances was in the film 'Nawara' directed by Hala Khalil, which brought her a record of 10 best actress awards.
Shalaby described her role in the film Nawara as the role of her lifetime and one of the most important artistic endeavours she has taken throughout her career.
Nawara is set in the wake of the 2011 revolution, centring on a woman in her twenties who works as a housemaid at a villa in a luxury compound.
Shalaby's most recent works include 'The Originals' (2017, dir. Marawan Hamed) and 'Diamond Dust' (2018).