Veteran Egyptian screenwriter Wahid Hamed passed away on Saturday, following a long battle with illness. He was 76.
Hamed reportedly suffered a heart attack due to ongoing heart and lung problems, on Thursday, and was transferred to hospital for treatment.
He had been suffering from lung problems with weakness in the heart muscle for some time, with the significant deterioration in his health attributed to his recent efforts at the Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF) in December.
Hamed is widely recognised as one of Egypt’s most renowned screenwriters. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology in the late 1960s, before embarking on a career in screenwriting
The 42th edition of the CIFF, held last month, honoured the late screenwriter with the Golden Pyramid Award for Lifetime Achievement. The award was given on the back of a career spanning over five decades, during which he wrote over 40 films and 30 television and radio series, most of them garnering commercial and critical success.
Wahid Hamed works have won numerous awards in festivals locally and internationally. Two of his films were picked for the acclaimed list of the best 100 Egyptian films in the 20th century; Sherif Arafa’s ‘Al-Laab Maa al-Kobar’ (Playing with Giants, 1991) and Atef El-Tayeb’s ‘Al-Baree’ (The Innocent, 1985). The list was based on a poll of Egyptian critics under the supervision of the late Saad Eddin Wahba, president of CIFF’s 20th edition.
Hamed has added a lot of weight to the title of “screenwriter” in Egypt, said Mohamed Hefzy, CIFF’s current director. Thanks to him, the profession has gained greater splendour and importance, added Hefzy, pointing to the fact that Hamed is also a seasoned producer who allows full creative-space for the directors he works with.
The Golden Pyramid Honorary Award, previously the Faten Hamama honorary award, recognises the filmmakers’ lifetime achievement. The new name reflects the award’s significance since the Golden Pyramid has been the festival’s icon since its inception in 1976.
The festival’s Advisory Board unanimously selected Hamed to be the first to be honored with the award in its new form, to acknowledge his invaluable contribution to the Egyptian cinema industry, filmmakers and audiences.
“The best praise is that which comes from the heart. The appreciation of friends, colleagues and anyone who’s found joy in my work has always been enough for me,” Hamed said
“I was and still am loyal to the Egyptian street. Throughout my journey with writing, the people have inspired me. It’s their ideas that I’ve recreated in my work. That’s why I’m always elated when people tell me they grew up with my films. That’s when I feel that I didn’t slack off and that I really gave people something worthwhile.”
“I was always true to my work. I never wrote a word unless I was totally convinced. I learned early on that the secret to dealing with people is to be honest with them. I never deceived them. I chose justice to be the main theme in my work,” he continued.