Magazine article Screen International

Melbourne Wins Best Picture in Cairo

Magazine article Screen International

Melbourne Wins Best Picture in Cairo

Article excerpt

The Cairo International Film Festival ended its 36th year with a glitzy ceremony [pictured] below the ancient pyramids on Tuesday.

In an attempt to move forward from previous years when films were overshadowed by protests, and when the festival was altogether cancelled in both 2011 and 2013 due to political upheaval, the Minister of Culture, Gaber Asfour announced "this festival is a fresh new start."

From actresses Basma Hassan, Lyla Elwi and Ghada Abdel Razek, actors Mahmoud Hemida, Asser Yasin and Tamer Habib to filmmakers Mossad Fouda and Khaled Youssef, a bevy of Egypt's notable talent were present to help celebrate the conclusion of the ten day event that opened on Nov 9 at the historic Citadel.

From the main sections Film on Films, Festival of Festivals, Special Presentations, International Competition - 45 films screened as Arab and African Premieres, 5 as World Premieres and 4 as International Premieres. Yousra headed the international competition jury, marking the first time the festival had both a female and an Egyptian as Jury President.

The screen icon, along with eight additional jury members, awarded Iranian drama Melbourne as best picture, Margarita Manda as best director for Greece's Forever, Adele Haenel as best actress in France's Love at First Fight, Egypt's Khaled Abol Naga for best actor in the Palestinian Oscar contender Eyes of a Thief, Alê Abreu for best screenplay for the animated Brazilian feature The Boy and The World and Zaki Aref for best artistic contribution for Egypt's Gates of Departure.

The Fipresci Award was given to Sand Dollars, directed by husband and wife Israel Cardenas and Laura Amelia Guzman.

Festival revamped

Esteemed film critic Samir Farid, stepping in as the festival's new president, continued with change by introducing parallel programmes that were independent of the festival: Perspective of Arab Cinema (run by Egyptian Filmmakers Syndicate), Critics Week (run by Egyptian Film Writers and Critics Association) and International Cinema of Tomorrow (run by the Student Union at Cairo's High Cinema Institute, consisting of both a short film and student film competition).

The Arab Cinema special prize went to Naji About Nawar's Theeb, while the Saadeldin Wahba Award was given to Kamal Kamal's Moroccan Sotto and the Salah Abou Seif Award was handed to Lebanon's Zeina Daccache for Shahrazad Diary.

International Critics Week praised Serbian Vuk Rsumovic's No One's Child by awarding the film with the Shadi Abd El Salam prize along with Tinatin Kajrishvili's Brides that won the Fathy Farag Award for best artistic contribution. …

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