Egypt’s El Gouna Film Festival, after being postponed due to the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, has announced it will hold a special edition from Dec. 14 to 21.
The event held in a seaside resort near the tourist town of Hurghada, 250 miles south of Cairo, will feature its previously announced full lineup of films, plus a special program dedicated to Palestinian cinema, in collaboration with the Palestine Film Institute.
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“Additionally, a fundraising dinner is planned to gather donations for humanitarian aid efforts in Gaza in coordination with the Egyptian Red Crescent during the festival,” the fest said in a statement, adding that it’s “will be held without any celebrations.”
The Egyptian fest’s sixth edition will feature a rich mix of Arabic and international titles launching into the Middle East and plenty of promising projects from Arab countries set to be unveiled to prospective partners at its CineGouna industry side.
“In this special edition, we aim to fulfil our responsibility toward the industry by continuing with the planned program of film screenings and showcasing the initiatives of CineGouna Platform, a creative hub supporting and empowering Egyptian and Arab filmmakers,” the fest said in its letter to invited guests signed by fest co-founder Amr Mansi and chief Intishal Al Timimi.
It’s clear that due to the circumstances, it will be a much lower key affair than in the past, driven by a spirit of perseverance and unwavering support for the local industry.
The Arabic films competing in El Gouna alongside international titles for a total of more than $200,000 in cash prizes comprise debuting Sudanese director Mohamed Kordofani’s timely morality tale “Goodbye Julia” that takes place just before the 2011 secession of South Sudan; Egyptian director Ayten Amin’s comedy “The Shanabs,” about a funeral in Alexandria, which prompts some funny situations; and Moroccan director Leïla Kilani’s “Birdland (Indivision),” set in El Mansouria, near Tangier, which combines family melodrama and social fable elements.
In October the Cairo Film Festival announced that due to the Israel-Hamas conflict it was canceling its 45th edition, which was scheduled to take place from Nov. 15 to 24.
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