13th Luxor African Film Festival: All you need to know

Ati Metwaly , Thursday 8 Feb 2024

The 13th edition of the Luxor African Film Festival (LAFF) will run from 9 to 15 February in Luxor, Upper Egypt.

LAFF

 

The LAFF is Egypt's only cinematic event completely dedicated to showcasing the cinema riches from the continent. 

Throughout its history, the festival has screened countless films by African directors, held workshops, seminars, and industry-related events, attended by filmmakers and film aficionados. 

The festival, the first edition of which held in 2012, is organised by the Independent Shabab Foundation (ISF) NGO. It is the brainchild of Egyptian screenwriter and actor Sayed Fouad (LAFF president), and actress and film director Azza El-Hosseiny (festival director). Actor Mahmoud Hemeida is the LAFF's honorary president.

This year, the poster was designed by renowned Egyptian visual artist Mohamed Abla. The design reflects the LAFF slogan: "All Colours of Africa."

Each year, the opening and/or closing ceremonies take place at one of the remarkable archaeological locations of Luxor. The 13th edition's opening ceremony will be held at the Luxor Temple.

The festival comprises a number of competitive segments: Feature Film, Short Film, African Diaspora Film Competitions, and the Egyptian Student Film Competition. 

Films

The organiser of the 13th edition revealed some titles that will be screened in some of the competitive segments.

The Feature Film Competitions include films such as Goodbye Julia (Sudan), Flight 404 (Egypt), Mami Wata (Nigeria), Banel and Adama (Senegal), Agonda (Kenya), Al Djanat (Burkina Faso), The Cemetery of Cinema (France, Senegal, Guinea, Saudi Arabia), Animalia (Morocco), and Behind the Mountains (Tunisia).

The Student Film Competition that focuses on Egyptian young, up-and-coming filmmakers, will screen Madonna, Bread, Nile Harvest, Nahawand, Different, and No Matter How Far, among others.

Films from African diaspora include Le Courage En Plus (France, Benin), Mambar Pierrette (Cameroon), Bravo, Burkina! (Burkina Faso), Emna (Tunisia), and Togoland (Togo).

The line-up of the Short Films Competition features Lobi Ecosimba (Congo), Braquage (Tunisia), The Last Shoemaker (Uganda), Three Days to Demolish (Egypt), Sous Silence (Senegal), Usiliye (Zambia), Le Dernier Voyage (Mauritania), and Chiffon (Egypt), among others.

The honourees

This year, the festival will bear the name of Khairy Beshara, the Egyptian multi-award-winning director credited with pioneering Egyptian neo-realism. 

Special tribute will be paid to the late Senegalese director and ethnologist Safi Faye, and a book about her, written in French by Najib Sanya and Thierno Ibrahima Dia, will be published by the festival. 

In its past 12 editions, the festival honoured a variety of African countries, showcasing their cinematic wealth. LAFF honoured Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Kenya, Sudan, Rwanda, Uganda, Morocco, and Senegal, among others.

This year, Mali is LAFF's country of honour, creating focus on this West African country. In fact, previous editions already spoke about Mali's cinema. In 2018, Malian renowned filmmaker, Souleymane Cissé sat on one of the jury panel, while Malian actress Fatoumata Coulibaly was LAFF's jury member in 2022.

The Factory

Workshops and grants are part of LAFF's The Factory, a segment that focuses on the development of the African cinema industry. They also include workshops aimed at the development of a local community, such as a workshop for female entrepreneurs in creative industries, a drawing workshop for children, acting workshop, accessories creation workshop, etc.

During a recent press conference, the LAFF revealed winners of the Long Documentary Film Grant. The filmmakers behind the selected projects will be offered a workshop and support from the festival.

Meanwhile, the Short Film Scriptwriting Workshop has also named several scriptwriters as beneficiaries of the LAFF's support: Muhaned Wael, Helana Saadalla, Reham Tohamy, Reem Ibrahim, Hozifa Mohamed, among others.

The festival will also offer a number of other workshops and seminars, creating an active integration between established filmmakers and young cinema lovers.

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