The fourth edition of the El Gouna Film Festival, which will take place from 23 to 31 October, will hold many of its activities at outdoor venues, including the opening and closing ceremonies, amid the “challenging circumstances” of the coronavirus pandemic.
The festival will also enhance its virtual capabilities to allow greater online participation. The dates of the event had been postponed by a month in light of the coronavirus.
The festival founder, businessman Naguib Sawiris, has renewed the leadership of director Intishal Al Timimi, assisted by co-founder and chief operations and foreign relations officer Bushra Rozza, artistic director Amir Ramses, and festival co-founder Kamal Zadeh, who is also financial advisor. It will be the first public event hosted at the Gouna Conference and Culture Centre (GCCC).
"I thought about postponing this year’s festival due to the depressing atmosphere of the pandemic. But I also thought about going ahead with the festival in order not to stop its success wheel. The festival now is well-known internationally and cancelling it this year would have been a setback,” said Naguib Sawiris, the founder of El Gouna Film Festival (GFF), during a press conference held last week.
During the same event, GFF Director Intishal Al-Timimi sounded optimistic about the fourth edition. “The festival will succeed this year and it will be an investment for years to come. We worked hard this year to present a unique edition despite the challenging circumstances.”
El Gouna Film Festival press conference (Photo: Soha Hesham)
“We are always dedicated to bring our audience a collection of the best international films that were awarded in other film festivals, such as in Berlin and Venice, and the selected films in Cannes this year,” said GFF Artistic Director Amir Ramses.
The festival will screen 45 films in total, including, in the Feature Narrative Competition, 200 Meters, directed by Ameen Nayfeh, Bad Tales by Damiano and Fabio D'Innocenzo, and Kaouther Ben Hania’s The Man Who Sold His Skin.
Among the films are also 'Delete History' (France) by Benoît Delépine and Gustave Kervern, 'Berlin Alexanderplatz' (Germany, Netherlands) by Burhan Qurbani, 'Father' (Serbia) by director Srdan Golubović, and Viggo Mortensen’s directorial debut 'Falling' (United States, Canada).
The list also includes Aurélia Rouvier and Seamus Haley’s collaboration 'Banksy Most Wanted' (France), Samir Guesmi’s 'Ibrahim' (France), 'Another Round' (Denmark) by Thomas Vinterberg, Ivan Ikić's 'Oasis' (Serbia), 'The Whaler Boy' (Russia, Poland) by Philipp Yuryev and painted animation 'Pilar' (Netherlands).
Documentaries include 'Irradiated' (France, Cambodia) by director Rithy Panh, 'Days of Cannibalism' (France, South Africa, Netherlands) in addition to 'Peel' (Switzerland); an animated documentary by Samuel Patthey and Silvain Monney.
El Gouna Film Festival's opening film, The Man Who Sold His Skin by Kaouther Ben Hania
'Influencer' (Spain), a short by Rubén Barbosa, will have its international premiere, while Georgi M. Unkovski’s short 'Sticker' (Republic of North Macedonia) will also take part.
Among the most anticipated films to be screened during this edition is Australian film The Furnace, directed by Roderick MacKay and starring Egypt's Ahmed Malek.
The Feature Narrative Competition jury, headed by English filmmaker Peter Webber, of Kingdoms of Fires, combines acclaimed Egyptian actor and filmmaker Asser Yassin, award-winning Sudanese filmmaker Amjad Abu Alala, of You Will Die at Twenty in addition to acclaimed Rodrigo Sepúlveda, from Chile of My Tender Matador (2020) and producer Thierry Lenouvel, of Mediterranean Film Festival of Montpellier.
Under the helm of producer Marie-Pierre Macia, of Cannes' Quinzaine des Réalisateurs, the Feature Documentary Competition jury consists of acclaimed Egyptian director Marianne Khoury and award-winning Lebanese editor and director Simon El-Habre, of The One Man Village and Gate #5.
Also among the jury are Bernard Karl, director of the Berlin-based independent film festival 'Around The World in 14 Films' and the head of the International Program at the Munich International Film Festival (Filmfest München), and Freddy Olsson, the Swedish producer and programmer of Göteborg Film Festival.
David Wenham and Ahmad Malek in The Furnace (Photo: IMDb)
The short film competition combines renowned Indian actor Ali Fazal, French screenwriter and producer Guillaume de Seille, Syrian actress Kinda Alloush and Senegalese actress Mareme N'Diaye, under the leadership of Tunisian filmmaker Raja Amari, who was announced a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.
For the second year in a row, the GFF hosts the Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema (NETPAC) jury, consisting of Moscow-based film critic Andrey Vasilenko, Rome-based director and curator Italo Spinelli; and Egyptian writer and film critic Magdy El-Tayeb as well as the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) jury; critics Rami El-Metwalli, Bitopan Borborah,; and director Pierre-Simon Gutman.
Lebanese singer, songwriter, and visual artist Tania Saleh will perform at the opening of the El-Gouna Film Festival, on 23 October.
The fourth edition of the GFF will take place from 23 to 31 October.
Tania Saleh to perform during the festival's opening
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