The second edition of the Luxor Egyptian and European Film Festival wrapped up on Saturday, with a Serbian film taking the festival's top prize.
Withering, by director Milos Pusic, which won the Gold DJED Pillar award, tells the story of a Janko, a young man who returns to his dismal village from Belgrade and must confront his desire to flee to Switzerland with his widowed mother's wishes for him to stay. The second feature film by the young director Pusic, Withering beautifully portrays the never-ending debate between town and country, east and west, and how we find our identities somewhere in between.
This year's festival saw participation from 62 films hailing from 19 countries.
Egypt's Sara Rozik, 20, won an award in the short film category for The Left Shoe, which tells the story of two children at a train station.
The festival's second-biggest prize, the Silver DJED Pillar award, went to Greek director Yorgos Tsemberopoulos for The Enemy Within. The fast-paced film uses the European economic crisis to show how the film's characters discover themselves and their true priorities in tough times.
The third and final feature film prize, the Bronze DJED Pillar, was awarded to first-time director Nana Ekvtimishvilli for In Bloom, about two teenagers in 1992 who are caught in the midst of a raging civil war in Georgia.
Several hotly-anticipated Egyptian films made their debut at the festival in Luxor before heading to mainstream theatres across the country.
Director Amr Salama's La Moakhza, about a Coptic Christian boy who pretends to be a Muslim when he transfers from a private school to a rougher public one, opened the festival and is now playing in cinemas.
As part of the festival's policy of supporting independent cinema and highlighting its significance, several other Egyptian films that were shot digitally will also get mainstream distribution in cinemas -- Yousry Nasrallah’s Al Madina (The City, 1999), Mohamed Khan’s Klephty (2004) and Ahmed Abdalla’s Farsh w Ghata (Rags and Tatters, 2013).