Some may disagree with the title of this article, whether they think I mean the past year or the new one. In fact, I am talking about both years. As one of the people from the film industry, I can say they are indeed two happy years, not just one.
A quick tour of Egyptian cinema since the 25 January Revolution in 2011 may explain my point.
Shortly after the revolution, hopes were up for the film industry. In that year however, only 12 films were played, two of which have been already produced before the revolution.
Most of those movies did not achieve any revenue and many production companies stopped producing. Some films were stopped days after shooting began.
We waited for 2012 for a change in conditions but our expectations were again misplaced. Only 17 films were shot that year and only two of them were bearable. Circumstances remained unchanged in 2013, though more movies were produced and 23 films came to light. That year saw the emergence of films such as Asham, Harag W’ Marag, and Rags and Tatters.
But it was different in 2014; though only 25 films were shot, 55 were in production and postponed to 2015 including Men Dahr Ragel, Cairo’s Time, and Dolly Chahine’s Medical Situation, which should have been called Sewage Situation.
The year 2015 surprised everyone; after many lost hope for a different film industry, 39 films were shot, ranging across genres and levels. The number far exceeded the number produced in the previous four years.
Revenue for all films reached EGP 160m, with additional revenue to come as some films are still playing in theatres.
Directors had more to offer; Tarek Al-Eryan came back with two films, Aswar El Qmar and Welad Rizk, after ten years of absence. Nour El-Sherif ‘s final film Cairo’s Time, directed by Amir Ramses , finally saw light.
Mohamed Khan directed Before the Summer Crowds. Daoud Abdel Sayed directed Extraordinary Abilities and Hala Khalil directed Nawara, in which Menna Shalabi won the Best Actress Award at the Dubai International Film Festival. Two other Egyptians won awards at the Dubai festival. Mahmoud Soliman’s We Have Never Been Kids won Best Direction and actress Hala Lotfy won the Fortress Film Clinic Award.
The year ended happily for the film industry but dreams are still in the making. The way is now paved for 2016’s films, with expectations for a number of good and different titles. This is why there are two happy years, not just one.
Mohamed Abdel Kareem is a journalist and a columnist in different of newspapers and magazines including Dostour, Tahrir, Sayidaty, and Rotana. Abdel Kareem has a number of short films such as “The Painter”, “Mestany”, and “Not Entering the Festival”. The films participated in international festivals in France, the US, Macedonia, among others.
As an author, Abdel Kareem wrote three books, the novel “Seven Spirits”, non-fiction “Oraby’s Diaries”, and the short stories “Reflective Glass”, which won the award of Independent Cinema Unit and was turned into a film in 2014. He also won best screen play from Sawy Culture Wheel in 2015.