Having suspended its activities in March, the African Cinema Club (ACC) will resume film screenings and discussions starting Saturday 3 October at 7pm at the Artistic Creativity Centre located at the Cairo Opera grounds.
The first film in the Club's line-up is the award-winning film You Will Die at Twenty by Sudanese filmmaker Amjad Abu Alala, who will be present during the screening.
With a script by Yousef Ibrahim, the film is set in a Sudanese village in the 1960s, where Sufi beliefs are central to the villagers’ lives, and which follows the life of young protagonist Muzamel, after a prophecy determines that he will die at the age of 20.
The film won the Golden Star for Best Narrative Film at the Gouna Film Festival. The film also made headlines at the Berlin International Film Festival 2017, where it participated in the Berlinale Co-Production Market. It then won the Luigi De Laurentiis Award at the Venice Film Festival (2019).
Sudanese filmmaker Abu Alala was born and raised in the UAE and studied media at the United Arab Emirates University. Abu Alala previously directed and produced a number of short films, some of which took part in film festivals, including Coffee and Orange (2004), Feathers of the Birds (2005), Tina (2009), and His Studio (2012).
He is currently head of the programming committee of the Sudan Independent Film Festival. Transit Films is a Cairo-based production company established by producer Hossam Elouan, and specialises in the production of Egyptian and Arab art-house films.
(Photo: still from You Will Die at Twenty)
The film was also shown at the 9th edition of the Luxor African Film Festival (LAFF), which closed on 11 March, a day ahead of schedule, with no closing ceremony due to the general shutdown of all cultural activities due to the spread of coronavirus. Prior to that, the film was screened in October at the Artistic Creativity Centre, as the ACC's activities.
The African Cinema Club was launched in January 2017 in cooperation between the Luxor African Film Festival and the Cultural Development Fund.
Throughout the past years, the Club has held numerous film screenings followed by discussions at the Artistic Creativity Centre. It has also expanded its activities to other locations in Cairo and Alexandria.
Headed by Sayed Fouad, the Club has suspended all screenings in March.
It is worth noting that African cinema has been seeing a comeback in recent decades with a visible presence in international festivals and European cinema competitions.
Founded in 2012, the festival is organised by Independent Shabab Foundation, a nonprofit organisation, supported by the Egyptian ministries of Culture, Tourism, Foreign Affairs & Youth and in collaboration with Luxor Governorate.
The LAFF is the only festival dedicated uniquely to the continent's films in Egypt. Apart from its regular editions, and holding the year-long Club, the festival holds numerous additional events dedicated to African cinema and the promotion of its riches and filmmakers.
In October 2019, a special evening celebrating the Luxor African Film Festival was organised as part of the Panora Cinema segment of the Malmö Arab Film Festival.
The evening celebrated the Egyptian festival, which, according to the MAFF organisers, "made great strides and became one of the most important festivals specialised in African cinema."
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