Luxor Egyptian and European Film Festival kicks off

Ahram Online , Sunday 31 Jan 2016

In it's 4th edition, the Luxor Egyptian and European Film Festival will screen 50 films from 30 countries in the official competition and the festival's different sections

Luxor Egyptian and European Film Festival
The 4th edition of Luxor Egyptian and European Film Festival opened on 30 January in the presence of Minister of Culture Helmy El-Namnam. (Photo: Al-Ahram)

The 4th edition of Luxor Egyptian and European Film Festival opened yesterday in the presence of Minister of Culture Helmy El-Namnam, Luxor Governor Mohamed Badr, festival president Magda Moris and the jury president, cinematographer Ramsis Marzouq.

This year 50 films from 30 countries are participating in the official competition as well as the festival’s various sub-sections.

Badr said at the opening that, “Luxor is honoured to host such an international festival in Egypt’s capital of ancient monuments. Tourism is only complete with the presence of culture and cinema. We aspire to reach a cultural peak ... and we are currently planning to set up a cinema complex, and also a media production city [in Luxor],” reported Mohamed Youssef Sherif from Al-Ahram Arabic.

In his statement, El-Namnam shed light on the city of Thebes, saying “We’ve been speaking about freedom and social equality and its about time we also realise cultural equality too. The Arab League chose Luxor as this year’s capital of Arab culture, and we are currently preparing to set up an opera house in Luxor … As for movie theatres, we are currently planning to establish the first cinema complex in Luxor,” reported Sherif.

An array of filmmakers and artists are honoured at this year’s edition, including Lobna Abdel Aziz, who was chosen to be the honourary president of the festival, Poussy, who will be honoured for her lifetime achievements, and Mahmoud Hemida, Dalia Elbehiry, Salwa Khattab, Naglaa Badr, and Nada Basiouny, all honoured for their work.

In her statement, Egyptian actress Lobna Abdel Aziz said that “it is a great honour to be chosen by the festival to be an honorary guest. I’m especially happy because Luxor is the mother of Egypt, and I consider it to be my home, country and land,” reported Iman El-Hawari from Al-Ahram Arabic.

At the opening ceremony, the cinemas of Kuwait and Italy were celebrated. Kuwaiti director Amer Al-Zuhair was honoured for his film career, which comprises an array of important documentary films, and TV drama series.

This year’s edition will also commemorate Helmy Halim and Elias Moadab, two Egyptian filmmakers who belong to the golden age of Egyptian cinema.

Halim (1916-1971) was a film director, screenwriter and film producer who worked with many stars, including Omar Sharif, Ahmed Ramzy, Faten Hamama and Abdel Halim Hafez. Moadab (1916-1952) was an actor who took part in many of Egypt’s comedy movies of the 1940s and 1950s.

The ceremony was followed by the screening of Palestinian film 3000 Nights by director Mai Masri. The film centres on a young newly-wed Palestinian school teacher who is jailed in a high-security Israeli prison where she eventually gives birth. 3000 Nights premiered in September 2015 at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).

The 4th edition of Luxor Egyptian and European Film Festival runs until 5 February.

The festival is supported by the ministries of culture and tourism, the European Union, the Arab Maritime Academy, and the Film Mehan Syndicate, under the supervision of the Noon Foundation for Culture and Arts (NOONCA) whose board of trustees includes the foundation's president, Mohamed Kamal El-Qaliouby, famed Egyptian director Daoud Abd El Sayed, film critic Youssef Sherif Rizkallah, critics Magda Wassef and Magda Moris, journalist Gamal Zayda (who is also the foundation's secretary general) and cinematographer Wadid Shoukry.

An annual event since its first edition in 2012, the festival started with the intention of promoting Egyptian and European cultural cooperation, in addition to reaching out to and including remote areas of Egypt in the cultural sphere mostly dominated by Cairo and Alexandria.

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