Egypt's Omar El-Zohairi's debut 'Feathers' wins Grand Prize at Cannes' Critics Week

Eslam Omar , Wednesday 14 Jul 2021

The first representation for Egypt at Semaine de la Critique was warmly celebrated during its world premier on Tuesday

Egyptian director Omar El Zohairy and Critics' Week Artistic Director Charles Tesson during the premier of 'Feathers' that won the Grand Prize

Egyptian director Omar El-Zohairy clinched on Wednesday the Nespresso Grand Prize at the Cannes Film Festival’s parallel Critics' Week (Semaine de la Critique) for his debut feature film ‘Reesh’ (Feathers).

El-Zohairy was also warmly celebrated on Tuesday during Feathers' world premiere in Paris, with the attendance of the Cairo International Film Festival president Mohamed Hefzy, whose production company Film Clinic is the co-producer and MENA distributor of Feathers.

Produced by the French Juliette Lepoutre and Pierre Menahem, the comedy drama brings together many skilled Egyptian crewmembers including Ahmed Amer (screenplay), Kamal Samy (cinematography), and Hisham Saqr (sound).

The 112-minute Arabic-language film’s cast includes Demyana Nassar, Samy Bassouny, Fady Mina Fawzy, Abu Sefen Nabil Wesa, and Mohamed Abd El-Hady.

The first representation for Egypt at Semaine de la Critique, Feathers explores the adventures of a mother who is stuck in a repetitive daily routine after a magician mistakenly turns her strict husband into a chicken, as she tries to survive while going through a rough and absurd transformation.


Cairo’s High Institute of Cinema graduate Omar El-Zohairy worked as an assistant director on feature films with Egypt’s most prominent filmmakers, including Yousri Nasrallah.

Zohairy’s first short film, ‘Breathe Out’ (Zafir), premiered at the 8th Dubai International Film Festival and won the Muhr Special Jury Prize for Short Films.

His second short film, ‘The Aftermath of the Inauguration of the Public Toilet at Kilometre 375’, was the first Egyptian film to be selected for the Cinéfondation competition at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival. The film went on to win several awards around the world.

Feathers competed with Colombian Simón Mesa Soto’s ‘Amparo’, Somali Khadar Ayderus Ahmed’s ‘The Gravedigger’s Wife’, Spanish Clara Roquet’s ‘Libertad’, French Elie Grappe’s ‘Olga’, Italian Laura Samani’s ‘Piccolo Corpo’, and French Julie Lecoustre and Emmanuel Marre’s ‘Rien à foutre’.

Crewmember of Egyptian film 'Feathers' during its premiere in Paris as part of Cannes' Critics' Week

Feathers was chosen from nearly 1,000 nominees by a committee under the helm of artistic director Charles Tesson for the prestigious Semaine de la Critique, which will also see a contest for short films as well as special screenings.

All prizes awarded by La Semaine de la Critique's Jury, led by Cristian Mungiu, combining Camelia Jordana, Didar Domehri, Michel Merkt and Karel Och, are as follows;

Nespresso Grand Prize: Feathers by Omar El Zohairi.

Louis Roederer Foundation Rising Star Award: Sandra Melissa Torres in AMPARO by Simón Mesa Soto.

Leitz Cine Discovery Prize for short film: DUO LI (Lili Alone| Lili, toute seule) by ZOU Jing.

Awards given by partners: Gan Foundation Award for Distribution: Condor, French distributor of RIEN À FOUTRE (Zero Fucks Given) by Julie Lecoustre & Emmanuel Marre.

SACD Award: Elie Grappe et Raphaëlle Raphaëlle Desplechin, writers of OLGA of Elie Grappe.

Canal+ Award for short film: Brutalia, Days of Labour (Brutalia, jours de labeur) by Manolis Mavris.

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