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Watch the 4th El Gouna Film Festival in full gear: ambiance from the opening week

4th El Gouna Film Festival in full gear: ambiance from the opening week


Amidst strict precautionary measures, a dazzling festive atmosphere, and a global media and artistic presence, the 4th edition of El Gouna Film Festival was launched, which began with a song by Lebanese singer Rami Ayash, then the ceremony was presented by Lebanese media presenter Hilda Khalife. Governor of the Red Sea Governorate, Major General Amr Hanafi, gave a speech, Engineer Samih Sawiris, founder of El-Gouna, in turn thanked the efforts of the late Khaled Bishara, presenting a souvenir to his wife after she was summoned to the stage amid a warm welcome by the audience. In agreement with the festival, Mrs. Bishara announced a new annual award to support independent film initiatives, under Khaled Bishara’s name.


Director Peter Weber, head of the Feature Film Competition jury, stepped onto the stage to present the Creative Achievement Award to renowned French actor, Gerard Depardieu. After that, the festival's founder, Engineer Naguib Sawiris, presented the Creative Achievement Award to the exceptional Egytian production designer Onsi Abu Seif.

This was followed by a speech by Intishal Al Timimi, Director of the festival, who shed light on the difficulties that the festival had faced this year, and how its proficient team managed to overcome them. Al Timimi then presented the 4th edition jury members.

Egyptian actor Khaled El Nabawy then awarded the Omar Sharif prize to the French-Moroccan artist, Said Taghmaoui. Followed by Egyptian star Sherine Reda, who gave a speech about her late father, iconic choreographer and dancer Mahmoud Reda. The word was followed by a dance performance by the Reda Troupe of folk performance.

On the second day of the 4th edition of El Gouna Film Festival—witnessed a distinguished assortment of performances and activities, and a press conference for actor Said Taghmaoui, recipient of the Omar Sharif prize. The press conference was held at the headquarters of the Technical University of Berlin at 11:00 a.m. Taghmaoui addressed the beginnings of his career, how he managed to reach the international audiences, and being very affected by yhe golden era of Omar Sharif, making his reception of an award under the late star's name much more special.

At twelve noon, the exhibition of the great production designer Onsi Abu Saif was inaugurated, with great turnout of stars, including: Bushra, Chief Operations Officer and the Co-founder of the festival; Saeed Taghmaoui; and Festival Director, Intishal Al Timimi. Abu Saif was keen to accompany the Moroccan artist, Taghmaoui, on a tour inside the exhibition, explaining the details of his awards and the works he had presented over the course of his artistic career.

As for film screenings, the screening of Italian film Bad Tales by Damiano and Fabio D'Innocenzo—winner of the Silver Bear Award for Best Screenplay in the 70th Berlin International Film Festival, and participant in GFF’s Feature Narrative Competition— began at 2:45 pm. The opening movie, The Man Who Sold His Back, by Kaouther Ben Hania, was also re-screened.

From the Feature Documentary Competition, Their Algeria (Algeria, France) directed by Lina Soualem, was screened. The film revolves around the director’s Algerian grandparents, monitoring their lives in exile, where they lived as a married couple for more than sixty years, after which they decided to quietly separate. The Furnace was also screened today as the first red carpet screening, directed by Australian director Roderick MacKay and starring young Egyptian actor Ahmed Malek.

Third day activities, 25 October 2020

The festival screens a number of distinguished films participating in its various sections, including: Oasis by Ivan Ikic; Spring Blossom by Suzanne Lyndon; Beginning by Déa Kulumbegashvili; and Days of Cannibalism by Teboho Edkins. The red carpet shows also include the screening of the film 200 Meters by Ameen Nayfeh, which won the audience award in the Venice Days section of the 77th Venice International Film Festival.

In addition, the activities of the 4th edition of CineGouna Bridge will be launched, which includes a lecture by the famous Indian actor Ali Fazal and moderated by Bushra Rozza. Fazal talks about his long creative career, his arrival to Hollywood and his acting with the brightest names of the film industry. The panel discussion also includes the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the Sawiris Foundation: Children are Important, moderated by the well-known media presenter Raya Abirached, with the participation of professor Karim Atassi, representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Egypt and the League of Arab States; and engineer Noura Selim, Executive Director of the Sawiris Foundation For Social Development; ambassador Dr. Haifa Abu Ghazaleh; and Syrian actress Kinda Alloush, in addition to the virtual participation of Lebanese director Nadine Labaki.

The fourth day of El Gouna Film Festival witnessed an intense schedule of events and shows. It began with a virtual master class by Christopher Mack entitled Pitch Realization Master Class by Netflix, where Mack presented to the participating writers some of the best practices on how to create and document the best presentation files for series and movies centered on the character. A panel discussion entitled Women’s Empowerment Through Film was also held, focusing on the participants' personal journeys in filmmaking. French director Dorothée Myriam Kellou; Egyptian actress Menna Shalaby; Indian actress Richa Chadha; Palestinian director Najwa Najjar; and General Director of DOX BOX, Jihan El Tahri participated, under the moderation of Raya Abirached.

The day’s screenings included a variety of films, including the red carpet screening of Ismaël Ferroukhi’s Mica in its international premiere, with the presence of its director; in addition to the films Tragic Jungle by Yulene Olaizola, winner of the award for best foreign-speaking film in the Horizons competition of the 77th Venice International Film Festival; In Between Dying by Hilal Baydarov, which participated in the Official Competition of the same festival. In addition, the fourth day witnessed the screening of Notturno by Gianfranco Rosi and Truffle Hunters by Michael Dweck and Gregory Kershaw, as well as The Big Hit by Emmanuel Courcol, one of the official selections of Cannes International Film Festival in 2020.

Another panel discussion IEFTA: A Filmmaker's Journey from Film Lab to VOD Platfrom was held as a virtual meeting with leading industry professionals to get an overview of what to expect in the filmmaker's journey to complete their film. The panel’s participants included Office Manager for Filming Europe, Angelica Cantisani; marketing and PR executive Riaya Aboul Ela; Manager of the Cairo Film Connection at Cairo Industry Days, Meriame Deghedi; Head of Education of IDFA, Meike Statema; Joint Managing Director of Moviehouse Entertainment, Gary Phillips; and consultant for Fintage House, David Zannoni. It was moderated by Emma Smith.

Press conferences were also held for a number of films, including the press conference for The Man Who Sold His Skin, which was held at the Technical University of Berlin in Hall (G15) at 1:00 p.m. Director Kaouther Ben Hania talked about the source of her inspiration for the idea of ​​the film; a work of art, as well as her choice of actors, namely Yahya Mahaini and Monica Bellucci. Bellucci had agreed to play the role after watching Ben Hania's previous film. A press conference for the Palestinian film 200 Meters was also held in the presence of its director Ameen Nayfeh and producer May Odeh. Additionally, a press conference for short films was also hosted. Among the attendees were the filmmakers of Shakwa, which was shown internationally for the first time at El Gouna Film Festival; and I Am Afraid to Forget Your Face, the first Egyptian film to be at Official Selection of short films in Competition at the Cannes Film Festival in 50 years.

Highlights of the Fifth Day (Tuesday, October 27) of El Gouna Film Festival

The fifth day will witness the screening of a variety of films, on top of which is the special screening of Charlie Chaplin's The Kid, creatively presented by El Gouna Film Festival as the first show of its kind in the Arab film festival scene. The film screening will be accompanied by a live orchestra led by renowned Egyptian Maestro Ahmed El Saedi, who will lead the performance of the film score live during the show. The concert takes place at 6:30 p.m. at the Festival Plaza. As part of the Official Competition, Quo Vadis, Aida? by Bosnian director Jasmila Žbanić will be screened at 6:00 p.m. at Sea Cinema 1. The film had its world premiere at the 77th Venice International Film Festival.

As for events, the day’s activities will commence at 10:30 a.m. with a panel discussion entitled Digital Media in the Wake of a Global Pandemic, which will explore how the global pandemic—with its dark aspects in these difficult circumstances—would allow for organizations, companies and governments to use electronic platforms to provide products and services and continue operations, while consumers adapt to the new normal. Participating in the discussion are Dominique Delport, VICE Media’s President of International & Global Chief Revenue Officer; Tarek Hosny, co-founder and CEO of Minly; Jakob Mejlhede and Moon Baz, Strategic Partner Manager for Media Publishers for Facebook in the MENA region. The panel will be moderated by Ahmed Abbas, founder and CEO of DigiSay.

At 12:30 p.m., a master class will be held by director of photography and film director Ahmad Al Morsy, entitled Visual Storytelling and Adapting to Changing Conditions. The master class will be moderated by film director Karim El Shenawy. At 6 p.m., another virtual panel discussion titled Equity and Access: Changing the Hollywood Narrative presented by the US Embassy and Film Independent. The participants of film and television executives will explore concrete methods to make a difference in Hollywood and beyond. They include Wei Chen, Program Manager for the Rideback TV Incubator; Karin Chien, president of dGenerate Films; Mel Jones, producer, director and writer; Dani Melia, producer; and Tilane Jones, President of ARRAY, a multi-platform arts and social impact collective. The panel will be moderated by American director, Angel Kristi Williams.

The sixth day of the festival witnessed the screening of a variety of films, the most prominent of which is Falling, the directorial debut of American-Danish actor Viggo Mortensen, in which he explores the contradictions of the modern family. After the showing, the director held a discussion with the audience through Zoom. In addition, the film Berlin Alexanderplatz was screened in the presence of its director, Burhan Qurbani. In the Special Presentations section, the documentary Hopper/Welles was screened. The film documents a conversation in 1970 between two film legends, Orson Welles and Dennis Hopper. In addition, Banksy Most Wanted (France) was screened, which addresses the mysterious icon of Banksy and his artistic journey, with an attempt to reveal his true identity.

The red carpet event for Listen was held in the presence of the film cast and crew. It won the Future Lion Award at the 77th Venice International Film Festival.

As for events, the day’s activities kicked off with the master class Creating Worlds Through VFX conducted by Meena Ibrahim, the award-winning animation supervisor. Ibrahim talked about how one builds the imaginary world of HBO's His Dark Materials, bringing the creatures to life, as well as the role of virtual production in achieving groundbreaking visual effects. The lecture was moderated by Yasser El-Naggar, multi-award-winning VFX supervisor and co-founder of Mercury Visual Solutions.

A panel discussion entitled Starting Up In Digital Media was also held. During this session, a number of experts discussed how startups approach the ever changing entertainment industry finding smart solutions for every challenge. The panelists included Minly Co-Founder & DigiSay Founder Ahmed Abbas, Orascom CEO Omar Hamamsy, Kijamii's Bassem Elhady and PeaceCake's Karim Gamrour. It was moderated by Mariam Farag, Founder & CEO of 4Mpact Company.

Highlights of the Sixth Day (Thursday, October 29) of El Gouna Film Festival

The seventh day of the festival will carry a number of distinguished film screenings, such as Mainstream by Gia Coppola, which participated in the Horizons section of the 77th Venice International Film Festival; and Softie by Sam Soko, winner of the Best Editing Award at the Sundance International Film Festival. The Short Film Competition screenings also continue, presenting the third program. The day also includes a special screening of Philip Hamilton's Ocean Souls as part of the CineGouna Platform activities.

Additionally, the seventh day will mark the closing ceremony of the CineGouna Platform, where the winners of the CineGouna Springboard prizes will be announced.





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