Two films by Egyptian producers win post-production awards at Amman Int'l Film Festival

Ahram Online , Monday 30 Aug 2021

Journey of Eternity was awarded the Creative Media Solutions award, and 'This is Cairo' was awarded SAE post-production facilities

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Top row: Journey of Eternity's co-producer Mohamed Atef and director Frank Gilbert. Bottom row: This is Cairo's producer Kesmat Elsayed and director Hala Galal.

Two films produced by Egyptian filmmakers received post-production awards during the Amman International Film Festival (23 - 31 August): Journey of Eternity, with associate producer Mohamed Atef, and This is Cairo, produced by Kesmat Elsayed.

Journey of Eternity, a coproduction between the US, Egypt and Iraq, was awarded the Creative Media Solutions award (Film Branding Services, in the post-production category). The Film Branding Services grant is $10,000.

Directed by Frank Gilbert, an Assyrian writer and producer, known for Buffalo Bill Rides Again (1947), Lighthouse (1947) and Tattletales (1974), Journey of Eternity is co-produced by an Egyptian filmmaker Mohamed Atef (associate producer), working with producers Cecile Cinco and Shar Yonan. 

The feature narrative film "talks about an Iraqi music professor named Esho who is engaged to an Iranian lady. The nonpolitical character, the professor finds himself entangled in a difficult political situation of Iraq in the 1980s," Atef reveals to Ahram Online.

"The film protagonist's story reflects in some ways the circumstances that surrounded the character of Roman Polansky's The Pianist [2002]," Atef says without going any further into the plot details.

The IMDb synopsis of the film reveals that while Esho finds himself in prison, "he witnesses the unjust execution of three activists who become heroes in their martyrdom for defending the human rights of the indigenous Assyrian people in the Middle East. Upon his prison release, Esho vows to honour the martyrs' courage and sacrifice by journeying the world to share their stories. Ultimately, he gains international attention when he meets an American journalist William Cooper, a representative of the United Nations Human Rights Organisation."

The cast features mostly Iraqi and American-Iraqi actors. Atef also adds that American actor Eric Roberts is among the film's cast, playing the role of the UN representative.

Mohamed Atef is an Egyptian film producer. He is also an artistic director of the Alexandria Festival of Francophone Cinema which first edition will launch on 11 September. Atef serves as a programmer at El Gouna Film Festival and Malmo Arab Film Festival. His previous posts include Programme Director at Cairo International Film Festival (2017-2018), artistic director at Ismailia International Film Festival (2016) and artistic director at Luxor Arab and European Film Festival (2015-2016).

Journey of Eternity
Still from Journey of Eternity

This is Cairo is produced by Kesmat Elsayed. The film won SAE post-production facilities valued at $21,000.

The film is directed by renowned Egyptian filmmaker Hala Galal.

"Kesmat El Sayed is a producer, and co-founder of See Media Productions an independent production company based in Egypt. After launching her first international production "Althawra...khabar" (Reporting a revolution) which premiered at the Berlinale 2012, she founded a production company to produce creative feature documentaries and narrative films that have social relevance and transcends country borders. See Media Production has produced documentaries under the Seera Films brand that have screened in cinema in Egypt and were launched online," reads Elsayed's biography on IMDb.

Born in 1966, Galal directed several documentary films, including Women's Chitchat, for which she received a silver award for best documentary at the 4th Arab Film Festival in Rotterdam in 2005. Galal also directed Time Out, The Cities Choose Her Death, Unusual Garden, Journey, and People's Affairs. She also produced a number of films, including Colours of Love, directed by Ahmad Ghanem; The Door, directed by Abdel-Fattah Kamal; and Beirut Take-1, directed by Ahmad Rashwan.

Galal is also a co-founder and executive director of SEMAT Production and Distribution.

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The second edition of the Amman International Film Festival closes on 31 August. While the festival revealed the winners of the production and post-production awards, the winning films are yet to be announced during the festival's closing ceremony.

This is the second time that Egyptian productions have won support from the Amman festival. Two Egyptian producers/directors were awarded the production award during the festival's inaugural edition (August 2021).

These are ‘Home There… Cinema Here’ by Nidal Al-Dibs, produced by Mostafa Youssef (Syria/Egypt), which was granted an award of $7,000 from Rum Pictures (Jordan) for colour grading services, and ‘The Lottery’ by Karoline Kamel and produced by Mai Saad (Egypt), which granted participation in the MAFF Market Forum – Post Production Platform from the Malmö Arab Film Festival.

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