Colourful continent

Hani Mustafa , Tuesday 6 Feb 2024

Hani Mustafa raises the curtain on the 13th Luxor African Film Festival


Under the slogan “Africa in All Colours”, the 13th Luxor African Film Festival (LAFF, 9-15 February) will kick off tomorrow, showcasing 42 films from 33 countries. According to LAFF founding president screenwriter Sayed Fouad and LAFF co-founder and director filmmaker Azza Al-Houseiny, speaking at a press conference in Al-Hanager Theatre Last Friday, LAFF will honour a number of African, Arab and Egyptian artists: Burkinabe actress Ai Keita Yara, Moroccan filmmaker Hassan Benjalloun, and from Egypt filmmaker Khairy Beshara, producer Gaby Khoury, actor Hassan El Raddad and actress Amy Samir Ghanem at the opening ceremony; and Egyptian actors and actresses Lotfy Labib, Ahmed Abdelaziz, Tayseer Fahmi and Sahar Ramy at the closing ceremony. This round is dedicated to the memory of the Senegalese filmmaker Safi Faye, the Moroccan film critic Nour El Din El Sayel, and from Egypt screenwriter Raouf Tawfik, actor Ezzat Abou Ouf, actor Hussein El Emam and actor Samy El Adl.

This year, in the Long Narrative Competition, the festival will screen: The Spectre of Boko Haram, a documentary directed by Véronique Holley (Cameroon); Goodbye Julia, a narrative directed by Mohamed Kordofani (Sudan); Mami Wata, a narrative directed by Kelechi Udegbe (Nigeria); Agonda, a narrative directed by Bill Jonnes Afwani (Kenya); Nome, a narrative directed by Sana Na N’Hada (Guinea Bissau); Au cimetière de la pellicule, a documentary directed by Thierno Souleymane Diallo (France - Guinea Conakry); Al Djanat, a narrative directed by Chloé Aïcha Boro (Burkina Faso); Animalia, a narrative directed by Sofia Alaoui (Morocco - France); Behind the Mountains, a narrative directed by Majd Mastoura (Tunisia); Flight 404, a narrative directed by Hani Khalifa (Egypt); Omi Nbou, a narrative directed by Carlos Yuni Ceunuck (Cape Verde); and Banel and Adama, a narrative directed by Ramata Toulaye Sy (Senegal). The Long Competition Jury consists of actresses Ai Keita Yara and Maimouna N’Diaye from Burkina Faso; filmmakers Hala Khalil and Mohammed Yassin from Egypt; and filmmaker Mokhtar Ladjimi from Tunisia.

In the official Out of Competition selection, the festival will screen: Bufis directed by Mahad Ahmed and Vinceno Cavallo (Kenya); The Return Train directed by Oumar Niguizié Sinenta (Mali); 27-37 directed by Nour Halloum (Egypt-Syria); Mr. Mayor directed by Olivier Kone (Côte d’Ivoire); and Al-Gaafra directed by Islam Abdel-Gawwad (Egypt).

In the African Diaspora Competition, the festival will screen: Togoland directed by Jürgen Ellinghaus (Togo); Emna directed by Bouslama Chamakh (Tunisia); Bravo, Burkina directed by Wale Oyejide (Burkina Faso); Mambar Pierrette directed by Rosine Mbakam (Belgium - Cameroon); and Le Courage en Plus directed by Billy Touré and Laurent Chevallier (France - Benin). The African Diaspora Competition jury consists of Sam Lahoud from Lebanon and Lamia Guiga from Tunisia.

In the Short Competition, the festival will screen: The Last Shoemaker directed by Ali Musoke (Uganda); Three Days to Demolish directed by Eslam Youssef (Egypt); Agharid directed by Nasser Rabe (Egypt); Lobi Ekosimba directed by Kumbuka Maene Elle (Congo Brazzaville); Chiffon directed by Bishoy Asaad (Egypt); 205 directed by Faraj Meayouf (Libya); Braquage directed by Bilel Bali (Tunisia); A Wingless Bird that flies directed by Remy Ryumugabe (Rwanda); Act of Love directed by Eric Mwangi (Kenya); Désert Rose directed by Oussama Benhassine (Algeria); Usiliye directed by Dickson Mwape (Zambia); Sous Silence directed by Mazigna Barros (Senegal - France); Hair Care directed by Fatima Wardy (Côte D’Ivoire - USA); and Le Dernier Voyage directed by Abdoulaye Sall (Mauritania). The Short Competition jury consists of Naky Sy Savane from Côte d’Ivoire; Jean Roke Patoudem from Cameroon; Abdelilah Jaouhary from Morocco; Mohamed El-Adl and Magdi Ahmed Ali from Egypt

In the Student Competition, the festival will screen: There Once Was a Boy directed by Salma Waleed (Animation); Mirror directed by Ziad Ragheb (Narrative); Sea directed by Belal Abou-Samra (Animation); Different directed by Sara Mostafa (Animation); No Matter How Far directed by Donia El-Zaher (Narrative); Bread directed by Norhan Hassan (Documentary); Madonna directed by John Farid (Narrative); Nile Harvest directed by Nasra El-Zahaby (Documentary); Closed Way directed by Emad Kassem (Narrative); Give and Take directed by Medhat Saleh (Narrative); Nahawand directed by Khaled Ghareeb (Documentary); and House of Art and Heritage directed by Nabil Agybi (Documentary). The Student Competition jury includes Malek Khouri from Lebanon; Eman Younis and Hany Lashin from Egypt.

A number of special screenings will take place including Khairy Beshara’s iconic films: The Collar and The Bracelet (1986); Sweet day, Bitter day (1988); Caboria (1990); Houseboat No.70 (1982); and several films from Morocco: Hala Madrid Visca Barca  directed by Abdelilah Jaouhary (2019); Jalaldine directed by Hassan Benjelloun (2022); Oliver Black directed by Tawfik Baba (2020); and Sotto Voce (Low Voice) directed by Kamal Kamal (2013).

The festival will hold several discussion panels and masterclasses such as Arts Festival and Cultural Event Making; Cinema in the age of AI; Women Redefining Cinema; Challenges of African Film Production and Distribution while Preserving Local Identity; and two masterclasses with Khairy Beshara and Gaby Khoury.

For the third year in a row, the festival will host another edition of the Factory Initiative which celebrates the development of long documentary film projects and prepares them for production. It also awards some of them financial grants to help new directors enter the film production market, supporting and sponsoring promising young filmmakers in Egypt. The selected projects are: 90, 60, 30 by Hany Yassa; Atef, The Puppeteer by Amroush Badr; Home, Somewhere by Rania Zahra; My Dream to Fly by Asmaa Gamal El-Gafrie; Family Business by Mohamed Kassaby; Safe Memories by Salma Saad Helmy; and Roshdy by Haytham Farouk Abdellatif.

The festival is keen to hold several workshops every year in order to give young talents an opportunity to meet some artistic expertise in many fields of art such as: Documentary Film making without budget workshop by Mohamed Shafik,  Ahmed Rashwan, Hani Sarhan and Khaled El Hagar; Acting workshop by Ahmed Moktar; Art interactive workshop by the artist Mohamed Abla; Painting and animation workshop by Shweikar Khalifa; Jewellery making workshop by Fayrouz Abdel Salam; Cinematic decoration design workshop by Fawzi Alawamry; Story Heroes illustration design  workshop by Wael Nour; Story cover design workshop by Yousra Hafad; Soundtrack workshop by Haitham Alkhamissi;  Creative advertisement design and content creation workshop by Abdallah Abdel-Maged

The Luxor African Film Festival is also cooperating with Film Independent, and in partnership with the US Embassy in Cairo, to present a four-day short film scriptwriting workshop led by an American filmmaker. The workshop aims to support and enhance the creative expression of Egyptian filmmakers through short film projects.

* A version of this article appears in print in the 8 February, 2024 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly

Short link: