The Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF) edition taking place from 20 till 29 November has announced that 40 films will premier as part of the festival’s competitions.
Mohamed Hefzy, CIFF president announced in a press conference that Russia will be the guest of honour this edition. Hefzy added that films will be screened in the 4K format.
Youssef Cherif Rizkallah, Artistic Director of CIFF said that several Russian films from different eras will be screened during the festival.
The festival decided to add two new awards to its list of prizes, one named the ‘audience award’, and the other named ‘best Arabic film’. It also announced that the privately-owned TV channel will broadcast the festival’s opening and closing ceremonies. Officials from the channel also added that other channels as well will be allowed to cover the festival.
Also, during the conference, Hefzy declared that businessman Samih Sawiris will donate EGP 2m to the festival from the Sawiris Cultural Foundation, adding that he considered the privately owned Gouna Film Festival as an ally.
The festival expressed that during the CIFF submission period it received 2,351, 2,200 of which are eligible. Those received include 790 feature films, 623 of which are feature fiction films, 167 are documentaries, and approximately 1,300 are short films. As for the Cairo Film Connection, more than 100 applications for projects were received.
The films submitted came from 121 countries where Spain came on top with a total of 202 offers, varying between feature-length and short films. France followed with 172 films, then Egypt with 146 films, Germany with 140 films, Russia with 136 films, China with 134 films, the US with 118 films, and India with 90 films. Noteworthy, numerous films entries are co-produced between different countries.
Apart from Egypt, the nominations from Arab states came largely from Lebanon with 38 films, followed by Morocco with 33 films, then Tunisia with 28 films, Iraq 20 films, Syria with 17 films, Algeria with 14 films, Saudi Arabia with 12 films and the UAE with 9 films. Both Jordan and Bahrain submitted five films, Palestine and Qatar each submitted four films, and Libya and Oman each submitted one film.
Hefzy commented that the increased number of submissions reflects a renewed confidence and hope for the festival in its 40th edition, and hoped that the festival can cope with the cinema industry’s needs in Egypt as well the Arab region along with the world.
He also remarked that the variety of choices provides the festival’s artistic direction with a bigger opportunity for the best choices.
Rizkallah assured that the screening committee and the artistic direction are watching all the eligible submitted films, to terminate the festival’s final programme, most of which has already been agreed upon, and will be announced in a press conference to be held less than four weeks prior to the CIFF’s 40th edition launch.