● 15 films in the Feature Narrative Competition, 12 films in the Feature Documentary Competition, and 23 films in the Short Film Competition.
● Egyptian filmmaker Daoud Abdel Sayed and Tunisian producer Dora Bouchoucha to receive GFF Career Achievement Award.
● Number of titles selected to participate in CineGouna Platform doubles, with 12 titles in development and 6 in post-production.
● The platform received 135 submissions; 110 in development and 35 in post-production.
● Total amount of CineGouna Platform awards rose from $60,000 last year to $150,000 this year.
● GFF pays tributes to Youssef Chahine, Federico Fellini and Ingmar Bergman.
● International cooperation continues for the second year in a row, with partnerships with Variety and Festival Scope. New partnerships announced with Asia Pacific Screen Awards, UniFrance and CBC.
● Naguib Sawiris: “We believe in the role art plays in the development of society and in challenging regressive ideas… that is why we established GFF.”
● Intishal Al Timimi: “We are still as enthusiastic as we were when we first conceived the idea for this festival, and this year we are striving to present an even more memorable experience for all our guests and audiences.”
Cairo, Egypt, August 28, 2018: El Gouna Film Festival (GFF) is pleased to announce the program details of its second edition, which is set to take place in El Gouna from September 20-28, during a press conference attended by GFF founder Engineer Naguib Sawiris and El Gouna founder Engineer Samih Sawiris.
The press conference will also be attended by Minister of Tourism Dr. Rania Al-Mashat, a
number of GFF’s International Advisory Board members, in addition to members of its international jury, and some of the directors, actors and producers of the participating films. This year, 15 films are participating in the Feature Narrative Competition, 12 films in the Feature Documentary Competition, 23 films in the Short Film Competition, as well as 5 films in GFF’s special retrospectives program. The festival will be screening 25 films Out of Competition, which brings the total count to 80 titles; 10 more films than its first edition. The festival will also last one day longer than last year, most of the films shown will be subtitled, and most screenings will include discussions with the filmmakers and cast in an attempt to create more engagement for film-loving audiences. During the press conference, the broad outline of this year’s edition will be laid out. The majority of the selected titles, festival events, activities, participating film professionals and movie stars, as well as the list of cinematic personalities the festival will celebrate and honor this year will be revealed.
Light will also be shed on the activities of CineGouna SpringBoard and CineGouna Bridge, the two arms of the festival’s industry hub CineGouna Platform, including the titles of the panel discussions, masterclasses and workshops that will take place with the aim of continuing the platform’s quest to develop and support film talents from Egypt and the Arab world.
In its second edition, GFF is proud to grant its Creative Achievement Award to the iconic Egyptian director Daoud Abdel Sayed, and the Tunisian producer Dora Bouchoucha.
This year’s jury includes world-renowned Arab actor Ali Suliman, Egyptian film star Mona Zaki, acclaimed Moroccan director Ahmed El Maanouni, and newly-appointed Berlinale director Carlo Chatrian, Croatian producer Cedomir Kolar, Palestinian director Rashid Masharawi, film programmer Ally Derks and Mike Pandey; a three-time Green Oscar winning filmmaker from India.
The jury also includes Georgian director Ana Urushadze; whose film Scary Mother won GFF’s Golden Star last year, Jordanian actress Saba Mubarak, Austrian programmer Doris Bauer, and Palestinian actor Kamel El Basha; who won the Best Actor Award at the 2017 Venice Film Festival. The head jurors will be announced in a separate press release later.
CineGouna Platform is also taking on more titles this year; 12 projects in development and 6 in post-production. Last year, the platform received 55 applications, a number that was doubled this year with 145 submissions (101 in development and 44 in post-production). Last year, the awards totaled $60,000 ($40,000 from supporting entities and $20,000 from GFF); this year the prize money has reached $150,000, of which GFF is providing $30,000, while the rest is provided by other cinema and media institutions.
While last year the festival celebrated two classics by Youssef Chahine and Nasser Khmeir, this year it pays tribute to three cinematic legends. GFF commemorates the 10th anniversary of Chahine’s passing with an exhibition of his films’ posters and some of his belongings, in addition to a spectacle featuring scenes from his films accompanied by a live performance of selections from his films scores, played by a 50-piece orchestra led by Maestro Hisham Gabr. In addition, an exhibition featuring posters of films by Federico Fellini will be on view in remembrance of the 25th anniversary of his passing. Two films by legendary Swedish director Ingmar Bergman will be screened, and photographs related to his career will be displayed in an exhibition organized in coordination with the Swedish Embassy and the Swedish Film Institute.
GFF’s management continues its cooperation with international entities, including its partnership with Variety. During the festival, Variety will be presenting their annual Arab Talent award, which was given to Lebanese director Ziad Doueiri last year. His film The Insult was later nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. The festival’s partnership with Festival Scope has also been renewed, allowing festival guests to access the platform’s library of films during the festival and for 10 days after it ends. GFF has a new partnership with Asia Pacific Screen Awards (APSA). As part of this cooperation, GFF has nominated three Arab films for the consideration of the 2018 APSA Awards.
GFF also announces its partnership with UniFrance. Through this newly formed cooperation, UniFrance, an association administered by the National Centre for Cinema
and the Moving Image, will facilitate a connection between French producers and distributors and GFF; allowing GFF’s programming team to preview their latest productions and projects in post production. With the help of UniFrance, GFF has selected six French films that will be screened at the festival this year. Some of the most important festivals in the world have the same partnership with UniFrance, such as Locarno, Toronto and Venice. From this year onwards, GFF will also be part of the official festival calendar on UniFrance's website.
GFF’s management confirms that it intends to continue with a reasonable budget and the right circumstances to attract the right sponsors for the festival. Last year’s edition was mainly financed by Engineers Samih Sawiris and Naguib Sawiris, yet this year the festival relies on its main sponsors Orascom Development Egypt and Orascom Investment, in association with Attijariwafa Bank, Orange, El Gouna, Beltone Financial, Mara, Makadi Heights, Carrier, JWT, Careem, under the auspices of the Ministries of Culture and Tourism.
Additionally, GFF discloses its partnership with CBC as the main TV sponsor of the festival. CBC will be providing comprehensive coverage of the opening and closing ceremonies as well as all the festival events and activities. GFF is happy to collaborate with CBC, one of the leading Egyptian networks that support the festival and Egyptian arts.
“What encouraged us to establish GFF was our firm belief in the key role of art – especially the 7th art – in the development of society on one hand, and our keen desire to challenge the regressive and fanatic ideas that seem to dominate the world on the other hand,” says GFF founder Engineer Naguib Sawiris. “It is this conviction that drives us to continue this journey, hoping that more like-minded and committed people will join it and help us take it forward.”
“For the second year in a row, GFF is planning to turn El Gouna into a hub of international celebrities, filmmakers and cinema enthusiasts from around the globe. Its inaugural round was a big success; not only for the festival team, but also for the entire town of El Gouna, which played a major role in creating a unique experience of culture and entertainment for the festival’s guests. It is a work in progress, which will hopefully place El Gouna among the most prestigious centers of art, such as Cannes or Locarno,” says El Gouna founder and one of GFF’s central supporters, Engineer Samih Sawiris. “Last year, three screening halls were renovated, refurbished and equipped with state-of-the-art projection and sound systems for the festival. I am proud to note that these cinemas were in use throughout the year. We hope
our experience inspires other cities in Egypt to develop cultural infrastructure by embracing film festivals and other artistic events,” he adds. “This year we are holding the press conference three weeks before the festival kicks off because we are very keen on communicating with Egyptian, regional and international media outlets,” says GFF director Intishal Al Timimi. “With GFF’s second edition, we are still pursuing the same objectives we started with last year: to create a lineup with a balance between acclaimed and awarded films, and to secure certain titles to premiere in the festival.” “All films participating in the second edition of GFF were produced in 2018, and their screening in the festival marks their Arab premiere,” Al Timimi adds. “We are still as enthusiastic as we were when we first conceived the idea for this festival, and this year we are striving to present an even more memorable experience for all our guests and audiences.”
The press conference will be attended by several members of the festival’s juries, including Mona Zaki and Saba Mubarak; as well as filmmakers and cast members of some of the participating films, including Yomeddine’s A.B. Shawky and Dina Emam, Gunshot’s Karim El Shenawy, Haitham Dabbour, Ruby, Ahmed Malek, Mohamed Mamdouh and Asmaa Abul-yazeid; the stars of the short film Fork and Knife Asser Yassin and Menna Shalaby, in addition to the director of documentary film Dream Away, Marouan Omara.
Also in attendance will be members of GFF’s International Advisory Board including renowned actress Yousra, acclaimed filmmaker Yousry Nasrallah and Tunisian actress Hend Sabri, in addition to Career Achievement Award honoree Daoud Abdel Sayed.