Naguib Sawiris dedicates 6th El-Gouna Film Festival to Palestine

Soha Hesham , Friday 22 Dec 2023

The sixth edition of the El-Gouna Film Festival (GFF) concluded on Thursday with a ceremony at the Festival Plaza, where the winners were announced, and festival founder Naguib Sawiris dedicated the entire edition to Palestine.



The ceremony began with a performance by the popular band Cairokee, who performed their recently released track about Gaza titled Telk Qadeya (This Cause). 

Mistress of ceremonies Nardine Farag welcomed the GFF founder, Naguib Sawiris to the stage. In his speech, Sawiris said “It was a difficult decision whether to do this edition [of the festival] or not. I discussed it many times with Samih [his brother and El-Gouna resort founder], but life goes on and no one can doubt our feelings towards our family there [in Gaza]. We dedicate this edition to Palestine.”

Artistic Director of GFF, Marianne Khourt, took the stage and presented an honorary award to actor Christopher Lambert.

GFF also honoured the names of artists who have recently passed away: actors Ashraf Abdel-Ghaffour, Mustafa Darwish, and Tarek Abdel-Aziz; directors Ahmed El-Badry, Ahmed Samy Al-Adl and producer Nahed Farid Shawky.

Afterward, Farag welcomed to the stage the Executive Director of GFF Amr Mansi, who said “I am happy that the edition made it despite all the challenges,” referring to the two postponements of the festival. 

Mansi continued, “The festival is not based on any particular person, nor the red carpet or conducting interviews, but it is based on the presence of filmmakers looking to showcase their works. It was a difficult time for the festival team, amid everything that’s happening around us.”

The first announced award was the NETPACT (Network for the Promotion of Asia Pacific Cinema) awarded to From Abdul to Leila, directed by French-Iraqi filmmaker Leila Al-Bayaty, while the FIPRESCI award went to Hollywoodgate, directed by Ibrahim Nashaat.  

The El-Gouna Star for Best Arab Short was awarded to the French film Les Chenilles by Michelle and Noel Keserwany; the El-Gouna Bronze Star for Short Film was granted to At Last, the Day by Carolina Vergara, and the Silver Star for Short Film went to The Red Sea Makes Me Wanna Cry by Faris Alrjoob. 

The Golden Star for Short Films went to Cross My Heart and Hope to Die, directed by Sam Manasca. 

The El-Gouna Green Star Award went to the Brazilian film The Buriti Flower, directed by João Salaviza and Renée Nader Messora. 

The El-Gouna Star for Best Arab Documentary Film was granted to the Tunisian film Machtat by Sonia Ben Slama. 

As for the El-Gouna Bronze Star for Documentary Film, the award was granted to the French film On the Adamant, directed by Nicolas Philibert. 

The El-Gouna Silver Star for Documentary Film was offered ex aequo to two films, the Serbian film Non-Aligned: Scenes from the Labudovic Reels by Mila Turajlic and Seven Winters in Tehran by Steffi Niederzoll. 

The film Hollywoodgate, directed by Ibrahim Nashaat received the El-Gouna Star for Documentary Film. 

The Sudanese film Goodbye Julia, directed by Mohamed Kordofani received the Cinema for Humanity’s Audience Award. 

For the feature narrative competition, the Best Actor Award went to Bottsooj Uortaikh for his role in the film If I Could Only Hibernate (Mongolia) by Zoljargal Purevdash. 

The Best Actress Award went to Parwin Rajabi, for her role in the Kurdish-Iraqi film Transient Happiness (Iraq) directed by Sina Muhammed. The movie also won Best Arab Narrative Film. 

The Bronze Star for Narrative film went to the Brazilian film A Strange Path, directed by Guto Parente, while the Silver Star went to A Greyhound of a Girl, directed by Enzo D'Alò. 

Finally, the El-Gouna Gold Star for Best Narrative Film was awarded to the film In Our Day, directed by Hong Sangsoo. 

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