Egypt among five countries hosting inaugural Film O’Clock Int'l Festival

Ahram Online , Monday 22 Feb 2021

In its first edition, the festival will run for five consecutive days, screening films simultaneously in countries located at the same time zone: Egypt, Lithuania, Romania, Greece, and South Africa


Egypt, Lithuania, Romania, Greece, and South Africa will hold the Film O’Clock International Festival between 27 February and 3 March, 2021.

The new festival emerged as a partnership between countries that share the same time zone and love for cinema.

The first edition focuses on countries located at the 25th meridian east time zone, a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole, runs through Europe, Africa, the Indian Ocean to  the South Pole.

As such, the festival’s inaugural edition will take place simultaneously in cinemas located thousands of kilometres apart, but also in video on demand platforms.

The live screenings’ locations are yet to be revealed.

“By connecting different audiences in the same time zone, the interchange of films and discussions aim to instil empathy and broaden one country’s awareness of another. A love is cultivated as a result, not only for cinema, but also for our time zone-neighbours,” reveals the festival’s website.

“In 2022, more countries from the same meridian will be added, and another meridian will be added in 2023. The aim is to create a worldwide brand in 12-15 years.” 

For more information, please visit the festival’s website.

The festival consists of two sections: a short films competition showcasing three films from each participating country and a non-competitive segment presenting one classic film from each country.

Egypt will be represented by Henry Barakat’s 1959 classic film The Nightingale’s Prayer and three shorts: Sunday At Five (17 min) directed by Sherif El-Bendary, The Promised (19 min) by Ahmed El-Ghoneimy, and Ward’s Henna Party (22 min) by Morad Mostafa.

The Nightingale’s Prayer, titled in Arabic as The Curlew’s Cry (Doa Al Karawan), is one of the most important films in Egyptian cinema.

Based on a novel by Taha Hussein, the film was directed by Henry Barakat and stars Faten Hamama and Ahmed Mazhar.

The film was Egypt’s entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the 32nd Academy Awards but was not nominated.

The documentary The Promised (Al-Maw’oud) takes place in the historical ruins of Fustat in Old Cairo.

“Tensions simmer between the site’s government-appointed guards and residents of a nearby informal settlement, Al-Izba. The guards chase away looters and confiscate their equipment, while locals infuriate them by taking shortcuts through the site, occasionally stopping for a smoke. For the guards it’s easiest to keep the site closed until further notice,” reads the film’s brief.

The fiction documentary Sunday at Five (Al-Had Al-Sa’a Khamsa) focuses on Hadil, who is at a turning point in her life.

“Her hesitant character and selfishness, that she is well aware of, make her unstoppable when it comes to getting what she wants, even if it is at the expense of others,” reads the film’s brief.

Ward’s Henna Party (Henet Ward) is directed and co-written by Morad Mostafa and Mohamed Ali Mansour. The film follows the life of Halima, a Sudanese henna painter living in Egypt.

“She goes to one of Giza’s neighbourhoods to prepare a bride for her wedding, and her seven-year-old daughter, Ward, accompanies her and starts to wander around and explore the place,” reads the film's brief on IMDb. 


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