The Cairo Film Connection (CFC) team has revealed its selection of film projects for its seventh edition, which will be held as part of the Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF) in November this year.
The Cairo Film Connection’s selection committee, comprised of key industry professionals, have whittled down an initial long-list of 105 project submissions, to come up with the short list of 15 film projects. These feature a range of narrative films and documentaries, from 12 Arab countries, which are in the development and post-production stages.
Seven feature narratives in-development have been selected, including four projects from Egypt, namely: The Legend of Zainab and Noah by director Yousry Nasrallah; I Can Hear Your Voice… Still by director Sameh Alaa; Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner by Mohamed Samir; and Snow white by Taghrid Abuelhassan.
Alongside the Egyptian films are other films from across the Middle East, including: Passage by Amr Ali (Syria); Fog by Ruba Atiyeh (Iraq/Lebanon); and Scheherazade Goes Silent by Amira Diab(Palestine/Jordan).
The post-production section includes one feature narrative project, namely The Alleys by Bassel Ghandour (Jordan/Egypt/Saudi Arabia).
The selected documentary films include four in-development projects: Olfa’s Daughters by Kaouther Ben Hania (Tunisia/France); Flying Like a Bird by El Mahdi Lyoubi (Morocco/France); Tell Them About Us by Rand Beiruty (Jordan/Germany); and Caesar by Widad Shafakoj (Jordan/USA).
This section also includes three documentaries in post-production: Before the Final Picture by Aya Tallah Yusuf (Egypt); The Last Projectionist by Alex Bakri (Palestine/Germany); and Iraq Invisible Beauty by Sahim Omar (Iraq/Belgium/France).
“This year, we are determined to continue supporting Arab Cinema by shedding light on the young Arab filmmaking talent and their distinct projects, defying all the challenges imposed by the pandemic on the global filmmaking industry,” said CIFF President, Mohamed Hefzy, of the selection, “We promise to strictly follow the WHO approved precautions taken by the Egyptian government to ensure safety for the festival guests and audiences.”
He added, “There are numerous reasons why we feel proud of this year’s edition. Mayye Zayed’s film Lift Like A Girl, which is an official selection at the Toronto Film Festival, participated in the 5th Cairo Film Connection in 2018, and has been selected to screen at the official competition of this year’s event.”
Zayed’s film is considered as one of the most notable Arab films of 2020, Hefzy said.
”In addition, the selection this year, remarkably, included a slew of films by prolific filmmakers, as well as first-time directors and we are proud that 50% of the selected projects are by female directors,” he added.
Meriame Deghedi, Manager at Cairo Film Connection, highlighted both the huge responsibility this year’s edition feels in supporting regional filmmakers, given the pandemic, but also their resilience.
“We feel a huge responsibility to carry out CFC’s edition this year, not only because we want to build on the previous years’ success, but most importantly to offer full support to Arab filmmakers and talents who have been affected by this year’s global crisis,” Deghedi said.
Deghedi added, “We are proud that this year we have selected stories by directors with different backgrounds and cultures from across the Arab world, which has been one of our goals since the birth of Cairo Film Connection.”
She noted that success is not measured just by the value of the awards presented by the Cairo Film Connection’s valued partners and sponsors, which stood at $200,000 in 2019, the largest since its launch. It also presents a range of opportunities for multiple collaborations between Arab filmmakers and industry professionals worldwide, providing support for promising Arab film projects capable of competing at international film festivals.
The Cairo Film Connection provides an important space for discussions, networking, meetings, workshops, master classes and partnership and co-production opportunities. It aims to establish connections between Arab talent, and regional and international key industry professionals, to further support Arab Cinema.