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Cairo International Film Festival to go ahead in November despite coronavirus

The festival will go ahead under strict safety measures

Ahram Online , Tuesday 2 Jun 2020
CIFF
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The Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF) have opened submissions for its 42nd edition, which will take place from 19 to 28 November, the organisers said on Tuesday, after coordination with the Egyptian authorities and the World Health Organization on safety measures in light of the coronavirus.

The organisers are “committed to holding a successful and safe edition if the situation allows, while putting a high emphasis on the safety and wellbeing of its staff as well as local and international guests,” said festival director Mohamed Hefzy.

Egyptian filmmaker Mohamed Hefzy

The festival’s artistic director, Ahmed Shawky, who succeeds Youssef Cherif Rizkallah, echoed Hefzy’s statement's, explaining that "the task of maintaining the success of the last two editions will be not be easy, especially in light of the unprecedented challenges facing the film industry due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.”

"CIFF’s high advisory committee has been working on laying out several alternative plans to ensure the 42nd edition comes to light, hoping the circumstances will improve before November," the film critic added.

Egyptian critic Ahmed Shawky

The festival will mandate “the use of sanitary equipment, masks, and applying social distancing,” as required by the cabinet and the WHO.

The 42nd agenda includes promoting gender equality and transparency in film-related events, following a Cannes initiative in 2018.

Organised by the culture ministry in Egypt and sponsored by many public and private entities, the 41st edition of the festival screened over 150 films from 63 countries.

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) awarded the festival Oscar qualifying film festival status, the statement added.

“This year the Best Short Film in the ‘Cinema of Tomorrow’ competition will be eligible to compete in the Animated and Live Action Short Film category," added the CIFF statement.

Currently, all cinemas in Egypt are shuttered, as are all cultural, sports and entertainment venues, with the number of recorded coronavirus cases surpassing 26,000 and with more than 1,000 dead.

The government has said, however, that cinemas along with mosques, sports and social clubs and restaurants might be reopened soon, after the coronavirus committee holds a meeting later this week.

Submissions for this year’s festival are open to all filmmakers from across the globe until 31 August, and must be made through their website: https://www.ciff.org.eg/.

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