Amr Salama film Sheikh Jackson to open first-ever El-Gouna Film Festival

Ahram Online , Friday 11 Aug 2017

The festival screening will be the film's Egyptian premiere

Sheikh Jackson by Amr Salama (Photo: Still from the film)

Director Amr Salama's film Sheikh Jackson will have its Egyptian and Arab world premiere at the first-ever El-Gouna Film Festival, where it will be competing within the festival's Feature Narrative Competition.

The Gouna festival, which is scheduled to run between 22 and 29 September, will come shortly after the Toronto International Film Festival in Canada (7 to 17 September) where the film will have its world premiere.

Sheikh Jackson stars Ahmed El-Fishawy, Ahmed Malek, Maged El-Kedwany, and Amina Khalil.

The film is set on the day of Michael Jackson’s death in 2009, and centres on a sheikh who was dubbed "Jackson" by his friends during his schooldays. The film explores the emotions stirred by the popstar's death, sparking a series of existential questions within the sheikh.

Salama is a self-taught, award-winning filmmaker and writer, who previously wrote and directed Zay Ennaharda (On a Day like Today, 2008), Asmaa (2011) and La Moakhza (Excuse My French, 2013).

The brainchild of Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris, the El-Gouna Film Festival will be held in the tourist resort on Egypt's Red Sea coast, which was developed by Samih Sawiris and Orascom Hotels and Development.

In the press release, Sawiris said that the festival "aims to activate the cinematic and cultural scene in Gouna and create the opportunity to develop, encourage and support all contemporary forms of creative expression in the MENA region, especially for the younger generations. Seeing that the festival is created by youth, for the youth, our efforts will focus on highlighting the work of the new generation of players in the field of Egyptian and Arabic cinema."

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