The 13th edition of the Panorama of the European film was held between 1 and 10 April instead of the tradition November schedule after many delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The organisers say they still hope to proceed with the 14th edition in November 2021.
Panorama’s management insist on having a physical edition and not a virtual one, even if that means to wait more than five months for the Egyptian government’s decision to permit festivals and public events, which were suspended for several months.
“Cinema must not stop. In Zawya, we believe that films should be watched in groups, not individually, and inside a cinema hall with high quality,” Malak Makar, head of festivals at Zawya cinema and the coordinator of the Panorama of the European Film told Ahram Online.
“Even when we screen old and classical films, people come to the cinema to see it, because watching films on a big screen with other people is a different pleasure,” added Makar.
“We were concerned because of the Corona pandemic, but we tried to apply all the possible precautionary measures to keep our audience save, and enjoy the cinema experience, we have to go on, we can’t stay at home forever.”
“Last year, the Cairo International Film Festival was held in the first 10 days of December, so we had to change the dates for the 13th edition of the Panorama and move it to January 2021, but then again we had to postpone it when the government decided to suspend all festivals,” Makar recalls.
“April was our last chance before summer; all the new films are coming in the summer, with international festivals coming back. We will do our best to run the 14th edition of Panorama in its usual timing, in November as usual, if the pandemic allows it.”
“I think the vaccine will help, it’s all about time, and maybe by the end of the year, things will be better, we will keep working and hoping to achieve our goal,” she adds.
“Having a virtual Panorama wasn’t an option for the 13th edition, because it needs a platform, and we didn’t have enough experience in that direction, plus we only had the rights to screen the films in a cinema hall not online.” Makar explains the insistence on a physical edition of the event.
Cathy Costain, the head of the arts programmes at the British Council and one of the Panorama’s partners, said to Ahram Online that it is one of her favorite events of the year, “it is very professional, always interesting, and always has a good audience.”
“The panorama made a huge difference over the years, and Zawya had a great impact on the cinematic and cultural society in Egypt, gaining a bigger audience for European films, especially British cinema,” Costain added.
“I would love to see two panoramas in the same year, simply to go back to normal and have its annual date return in November, but I know it might be difficult, because the organisations that support festivals might not be able to do that, but there is still time, and we will see about that.”
The Panorama of the European Film is an annual event that was launched by Misr International Films in 2004 and was incorporated under Zawya in 2014.
The panorama showcases some of the latest award-winning feature and documentary films, as well as cinematic landmarks and classics from all over Europe.
Additionally, it offers a parallel program that includes workshops and masterclasses with international film industry guests with the support of the European Union and some European embassies and culture institutes in Egypt.
The 13th edition was held between 1 and 10 April, screening 40 films in three sections: Main Narrative Features, Documentaries, and Emerging Directors.
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