Cairo Int’l Film Festival to support 15 new film projects in 2021 edition

Eslam Omar , Wednesday 13 Oct 2021

The Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF) will support 15 new film projects this year as part of its eighth Cairo Film Connection (CFC) Programme.

Adham El-Sherif
Ravens of the City by Adham El-Sherif is among the selections for the 8th Cairo Film Connections

The CFC gives filmmakers an opportunity to meet international industry professionals and pitch their projects to a jury. Prizes include cash awards to push applicant’s films to completion.

“This year, we received a record number of 110 high-quality submissions, and the majority came from debut filmmakers,” CIFF President Mohamed Hefzy said late on Tuesday, praising “the richness and urge of youths in the Arab world to tell their stories.”

During the 43rd edition of the CIFF — which will be running under strict safety measures from 26 November to 5 December — the CFC will present new works of sophomore filmmakers Lina Soualem, Soudade Kaadane, Mehdi Barsaoui, Ahd Kamel, Farida Zahran, Adham Al-Sherif, among others.

“More than a third of the 2021 selection is composed by first-time filmmakers,” revealed CFC Manager Chadi Zeneddine, adding that they have decided to take risks in their choices and shine a light on new and eclectic talents.

Tunisian documentary films in post-production; On The Hill by Belhassen Handous to participate at 8th Cairo Film Connection

Women take up the majority

Selections include a majority of eight film projects by women directors, five projects by first-time directors, and three feature narrative projects by award-winning directors.

The lineup includes five projects from Egypt, three from Tunisia, and one project from each of Algeria, Lebanon, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Morocco, and Syria.

In the past three years, the CFC has offered awards worth more than $600,000, which supported more than 120 Arab filmmakers, including Yousry Nasrallah, Kaouther Ben Hania, Sameh Alaa, Mehdi Barsaoui, Bassel Ghandour, Haider Rashid, and Mayye Zayed.

Egyptian director's Farida Zahran's feature narrative project in-development 'The Leftover Ladies' unveiled for 8th Cairo Film Connection

One of the oldest and most attended festivals in the Arab world and Africa, the CIFF is the only festival in the Arab and African region to be given a category “A” designation by the International Federation of Film Producers Associations in Paris (FIAPF).

The CFC will run under the framework of Cairo Industry Days, in partnership with the Arab Cinema Centre.

The 15 Selections are as follows:

Seven in-development feature narrative projects:
‘The Leftover Ladies’ (Egypt) by Farida Zahran.
‘My Driver and I’ (Saudi Arabia – United Kingdom) by Ahd Kamel.
‘Life After Siham (Egypt – France) by Nameer AbdelMassih.
‘Nour’ (Egypt) by Sara Shazli.
‘In the Land of Aram’ (Lebanon-Armenia) by Tamara Stepanyan.
‘Ravens of the City’ (Egypt – Sudan) by Adham El-Sherif.
‘Aicha’ (Tunisia – France) by Mehdi Barsaoui.

Nezouh (Syria) by Soudade Kaadan is among 3 feature narrative film projects in post-production selected for 8th Cairo Film Connection

Three in-development documentary film projects:
‘Bullets do not kill. Silence does’ (Tunisia – France) by Hind Meddeb.
‘American Dream’ (Egypt) by Amir El-Shenawy.
‘Bye bye Tiberias’ (Algeria, France – Belgium – Qatar) by Lina Soualem.

Bye bye Tiberias by Lina Soualem competes at 8th Cairo Film Connection

Three feature narrative film projects in post-production:
‘A Summer in Boujad’ (Morocco) by Omar Mouldouira.
‘Alam - The Flag’ (Palestine – France) by Firas Khoury.
‘Nezouh’ (Syria) by Soudade Kaadan.

Two documentary film projects in post-production:
‘Mohsen of Iraq’ (Iraq – Costa Rica) by Ishtar Yasin.
‘On the Hill’ (Tunisia) by Belhassen Handous.

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