Tonight, writes Soha Hesham, El Gouna will witness the opening of the third El Gouna Film Festival (19-27 September), coinciding with El Gouna celebrating its 30th anniversary. The opening ceremony will feature the screening of the American film Ad Astra starring Brad Pitt and Liv Tyler, featuring astronaut Roy McBride who is on a mission across the solar system to reveal the truth behind the mystery of his missing father, directed by James Gray.
The festival will showcase feature films, documentaries, short films from all around the world, in addition to holding the CineGouna Platform which is devoted to discovering new talents from the Arab world and assist them in the film industry.
The festival includes 15 Feature Narrative films in the Official Competition, 12 Feature Documentary films in the Official Competition in addition to 24 films in the Short Film Competition and 25 films in the Official Selection Out of Competition.
The Official Selection Out of Competition will screen a number of award-winning films like including Parasite, winner of the Palme d’Or at the 72th Cannes Film Festival, Bacurau and Les Misérables, joint winners of the Jury Prize at Cannes Film Festival, Once in Trubchevsk, part of the Un Certain Regard programme at the Cannes Film Festival, Pedro Almodóvar’s Pain and Glory, which received the Best Actor Award for Antonio Banderas’s performance at the Cannes Film Festival.
The Official Competition will feature a Tunisian film, Noura’s Dream, directed by Hinde Boujemaa, starring Hind Sabri, among other films like Papicha directed by Mounia Meddour, Song Without a Name directed by Melina León, The Weeping Woman directed by Jayro Bustamante and the Sudanese fil You Will Die at Twenty, directed by Amjad Abu Alala, winner of the Luigi De Laurentiis ‘Lion of the Future Venice Award for a Debut Film.
GFF has a Special Presentations section screening African Cinema: Filming Against All Odds (1983) directed by Férid Boughedir, Stolen Kisses (1968) directed by François Truffaut, The Well of Deprivation (1969) directed by Kamal Al-Sheikh (a tribute to novelist Ihsan Abdel-Quddous), Central Station (1998) directed by Walter Salles, The Spider’s Stratagem (1970) directed by Bernardo Bertolucci and The White Sheik (1952) directed by Federico Fellini. The festival will also hold a retrospective exhibition on Abdel-Quddous.
The festival will give the El Gouna Film Festival Career Achievement Award to the Egyptian comedian Mohamed Henedy and the Palestinian filmmaker Mai Masri.
The CineGouna Bridge will organise masterclasses, panel discussions, workshops and roundtables with a number of experts. These include “The Documentary Journey: A Conversation with Mai Masri”.
*A version of this article appears in print in the 19 September, 2019 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly.