If you are wondering why you are reading about Future Shorts a full week before its opening, you clearly have never been. The tickets sell out before most people hear about it and space is very limited, despite the fact the organisers host two identical screenings on consecutive days each season.
This year’s winter season the festival returns after a one year hiatus and will be held at popular venue Vent in Downtown Cairo. The festival is Egypt’s first ‘pop-up’ film festival that is dedicated to short films, which are shown in one day with live music in between the films.
The selection shown during Future Shorts to a largely Egyptian audience showcases international and award-winning short films and in past seasons one local short film was included. Originally founded in 2003 in London, Future Shorts has expanded globally to cities all around the world where it takes place simultaneously.
The first Future Shorts Egypt was held in 2011 and founder Salma El-Shaffei said the venue was one of the tools organisers can use to host different screenings every season. “The venue is what dictates audience size and ticket prices. With Future Shorts, it is important to diversify and not host similar screenings every time and the venue is what helps you do that,” she said. “I chose Vent because it’s new and brings a fresh, experimental concept to Cairo. It has a versatile feel: it’s an underground art space, a bar and a performance venue at the same time.”
The festival puts equal focus on community, conversation and cinema as a group activity, as well as on the films themselves. The diverse screenings have the same programme of films but they differ because they are hosted in 325 cities, 90 countries and in locations such as music halls, warehouses, theatres, galleries, cinemas and clubs.
This year’s films include Rabbitland (Serbia), which won the Crystal Bear at the Berlin Film Festival; Out of Reach (Poland), which received an honourable mention at the Sundance Film Festival; The Date (Finland,) which competed at Sundance and Berlin; The Buzkashi Boys (Afghanistan), which won Best of Category at the LA Shorts Festival; and Blind Spot (France), which competed at the Cannes Film Festival.
Tickets are available through Ticketsmarche.com for EGP 55 or on the outlets listed on the festival’s Facebook page. El-Shaffei said the festival has consistently lowered its ticket prices, “it always depends on the venue; the first two seasons were EGP 75 but the past 3 season have been in the EGP 50-55 range.”
The festival will host its first screenings on 23 February with another planned the following day on 24 February.