The 44th Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF) kicked off on Sunday with a lavish opening ceremony at Cairo Opera House with the attendance of Minister of Culture Nevine el-Kilani, national and international filmmakers and actors.
With over 100 movies from 52 countries, the festival this year offers a great experience and tackles current issues like climate change and true stories of heroic figures like the Mardini sisters in The Swimmers, a sports drama by Egyptian-Welsh director Sally El-Hosaini.
The festival, which runs until November 22, includes a number of premieres in the Middle East and North Africa, such as 19b directed by Ahmed Abdallah El Sayed (Egypt -2022), Alam (Flag) directed by Feras Khory (France, Tunisia, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Qatar-2022), Manzoor el Farasha (Butterfly’s prospective) directed by Maxim Naconitshy (Ukraine, Czech, Croatia, Sweden- 2022).
The festival will also include a number of lectures, seminars, discussion and workshops in filmmaking with international filmmakers.
Classic films restoration
Being aware of the great and rich history of the Egyptian Cinema, CIFF president Hussein Fahmy announced that for the first time since the debut of CIFF, two Egyptian classical films will be restored and screened at the festival.
The films are Tawfiq Saleh’s Yawmiyyat Na’ib F-il-Aryaf (Diary of a Country Prosecutor, 1969) and Ali Abdel Khaleq’s Ughniya ala al-Mamar (Passageway Song, 1972).
The Fabelmans screening
The opening ceremony of the festival included the screening of Steven Spielberg’s The Fabelmans (151 minutes). Sammy Fabelman grows up in post-World War II Arizona and wants to be a filmmaker. He discovers a terrible secret about his family and explores how the power of films help him see the truth.
Honoring prominent figures
The 44th edition of the Cairo Film Festival witnessed the honoring of the legendary Hungarian director Béla Tarr with the Golden Pyramid Award for Lifetime Achievement, as well as veteran actress Lebleba, in addition to honoring film director Kamel Abu Zekry, with the Faten Hamama Award for Excellence.
US Embassy supports CIFF
This year the US Embassy is partnering with Film Independent, a Los Angeles-based film and arts organisation, to sponsor American documentaryscreenings, panel discussions with American filmmakers and producers, and a cinematography workshop led by Hollywood cinematographer Irvin Liu at the 44th Cairo International Film Festival.
Among the special screenings are Exposure and The Story of Plastic, documentaries on the impact of climate change and grassroots activism. Panel discussions with the filmmakers and producers will follow both screenings.
The US Embassy and Film Independent are also bringing award-winning director Holly Morris, Emmy-winning director Deia Schlosberg and producer Michael Kovnat, to participate in a panel discussion on green filmmaking and environmental awareness in the film industry.
The US Embassy and Film Independent will sponsor a cinematography workshop led by Hollywood cinematographer and Film Independent alumnus Irvin Liu on storytelling, cinematography, and the role of cinematography in amplifying social issues. The US Embassy and Film Independent will award two Egyptian filmmakers with travel to Los Angeles and consultations with US film professionals.
The Cairo International Film Festival, one of the oldest festivals in the Arab world and Africa, is unique in being the only one in the Arab and African region, which is registered in Category A in the International Federation of Producers in Paris (FIAPF).