Second edition of Faten Hamama Film Festival kicks off in Cairo on Friday

Ahram Online , Thursday 26 May 2016

The four-day festival will take place at Hanager Arts Centre in Zamalek

Faten Hamama festival
(Photo: part of promotional material for Faten Hamama Film Festival)

A festival celebrating Egyptian actress Faten Hamama will take place from Friday to Monday at Hanager Arts Centre’s cinema in the Cairo Opera House grounds.

The festival, which began last year, will see the screening of over 30 recently released documentaries, feature and short films by Egyptian and international filmmakers, chosen from over 400 submissions.

Two less-known short films from 1973 starring Hamama will also be screened: Oreedo Haza El-Rajol (I Want That Man), which will open the festival, and Al-Sahira (The Witch).

The festival will also honour actress and entertainer Sherihan and folklore dancer Farida Fahmy. “We chose Fahmy and Sherihan for their distinctive roles in the Egyptian culture,” Maggie Anwar, filmmaker and founder of the festival told Aswat Masriya website.

The festival will also include a segment dedicated to Syrian cinema, Aswat Masriya reported. Admission is free.

Following the closure of the festival, the films included in the programming will also be screened at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Alexandria as well as a number of cultural locations in Mansoura, Beni Suef and Minya.

The festival is the brainchild of Anwar, a commerce graduate who shifted her career to writing reviews for foreign films, and then film directing.

Owner of production house Magica House, Anwar also founded the Mansoura Film Festival.

Anwar previously won an award for her film El-Fatena (The Beautiful), which was screened at Cannes. The film pays homage to Hamama, and is about her last interview, which took place just one day prior to her death in January 2015.

Anwar was also the first woman allowed to film in Saudi Arabia’s desert.

Hamama was one of Egypt’s most prominent actresses in the 1950s, 1960s and early 1970s.

She was born in the Delta city of Mansoura and made her film debut when she was seven years old, featuring in Youm Saeed (Happy Day) alongside singer and composer Mohamed Abdel Wehab, and went on to star in over two dozen films.

In 1963, during her heyday, she starred in an American film called Cairo.

Hamama also acted in several TV shows, including Dameer Abla Hekmat (The Conscience of Mrs. Hekmat) in 1992 and Wagh Al-Qamar (Face of the Moon) which premiered in 2000.  

The "Lady of the Screen," as she was dubbed, won a number of awards and honours throughout her career.

She was chosen the “Star of the Century” at the 2001 Alexandria International Festival, honouring her lifetime of achievement in Egyptian cinema.

Hamama married film star Omar Sharif in 1955. They co-starred in several movies together and became one of Egypt's most famous celebrity couples, before divorcing in the mid-1970s. Omar Sharif passed away shortly after Hamama, on 10 July 2015.

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