The Luxor African Film Festival (21-28 February) opened yesterday, 21 February in the presence of African filmmakers, diplomats and Egyptian Minister of Culture Shakir Abdel Hamid. “This festival is among the fruits of the 25 January revolution, which has directed Egypt to its African roots,” according to Sayed Fouad, the president of the festival. Fouad adds that the Mubarak regime had forced Egypt to remain at a distance from the African continent.
Abdel Hamid also stated that the event is of “utter importance to the Egyptian cultural scene as it brings to light Egypt’s south after years of negligence”. During the opening, the Egyptian filmmaker Dawood Abdel Sayed was honoured, while the young filmmaker Aida El-Kashef received a prize on behalf of her father, the late Egyptian filmmaker Radwan El-Kashef. The Ethiopian filmmaker Haile Gerima will be honoured at the closing ceremony, as his film Teza opened the festival.
Seventeen films from Tunisia, Algeria, Morroco, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, Benin, Burkina Faso, the Ivory Coast, Mali and Egypt are competing in the feature-film competition, while 25 films from several African countries are competing in the short film competition.
Several important Egyptian films will be featured in the section “The Cinema of the South of Egypt”, which include The Night of Counting the Years by Shady Abdel Salam, Shai’ Min Al-Khawff (A touch of fear) by Hussein Kamal, Arak El-Balah (Date Wine) by Radwan El-Kashef and El-Tawq wal Iswara (The Ring and the Bracelets) by Khairy Beshara.
The festival is also publishing two books: Dictionary of Moroccan Filmmakers by the film critic Samir Farid and Black African Cinema by Nwachukwu Frank Ukadike, translated by Mahmoud Aly.
Many feel that this festival has brought back cultural activity to Egypt after many events were cancelled due to the political situation.
Translated by Ahram Online