Tuesday, 29 of August 2017
Cairo – August 27, 2017 — In a press conference today, El Gouna Film Festival unveiled details of its first edition, taking place 22–29 September. The press conference was attended by GFF founder Engineer Naguib Sawiris, El Gouna founder Engineer Samih Sawiris, GFF co-founder and CEO of GFF’s organizing company Amr Mansi, GFF co-founder and COO of GFF’s organizing company Bushra Rozza, and GFF director Intishal Al Timimi.
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El Gouna Film Festival reveals details of first edition in press conference

Cairo – August 27, 2017 — In a press conference today, El Gouna Film Festival unveiled details of its first edition, taking place 22–29 September. The press conference was attended by GFF founder Engineer Naguib Sawiris, El Gouna founder Engineer Samih Sawiris, GFF co-founder and CEO of GFF’s organizing company Amr Mansi, GFF co-founder and COO of GFF’s organizing company Bushra Rozza, and GFF director Intishal Al Timimi.

Cairo – August 27, 2017 — In a press conference today, El Gouna Film Festival unveiled details of its
first edition, taking place 22–29 September. The press conference was attended by GFF founder
Engineer Naguib Sawiris, El Gouna founder Engineer Samih Sawiris, GFF co-founder and CEO of GFF’s
organizing company Amr Mansi, GFF co-founder and COO of GFF’s organizing company Bushra Rozza,
and GFF director Intishal Al Timimi.
The conference was also attended by Egyptian actress Youssra and filmmaker Yousry Nasrallah, both
members on the festival’s Advisory Board, comprised of a number of leading international cinematic
figures. Also present were members of the cast and crew of the two Egyptian films competing in the
festival’s Narrative Feature Competition: Sheikh Jackson director Amr Salama, producers Mohamed
Hefzy and Mohamed Osama, actors Ahmed El Fishawy and Ahmed Malek, and Photocopy director
Tamer Ashry and producer Safei Eldin Mahmoud.
GFF management also announced the names representing Egypt in the festival’s jury: Actress Nelly
Karim, President of the Short Film Competition jury, director Osama Fawzi, Narrative Feature
Competition jury member, and music composer Tamer Karawan, Documentary Feature Competition
member.
The festival also announced for the first time the participation of its opening film Sheikh Jackson in the
Narrative Feature Competition, competing for the Gouna Golden Star alongside Egyptian film Photocopy.
Also revealed was the festival’s closing film, German-American production Human Flow by Chinese artist
Ai Weiwei.
The conference also addressed the main activities and panel discussions to be held in the context of
CineGouna Platform, the festival’s creative and professional hub, designed with the aim of supporting
and developing promising talents from Egypt and the Arab world and consisting of two sections:
CineGouna Springboard and CineGouna Bridge.
Engineer Naguib Sawiris spoke of his profound appreciation of cinema as an art, stressing that he is one
of Cairo International Film Festival’s longtime supporters, and that this deep-rooted love of film is one of
the reasons why he is excited about GFF. He also mentioned the French city of Cannes, which hadn’t
become an international tourist destination until it started hosting the Cannes Film Festival, now among
the most prestigious film festivals in the world, and expressed his hope for El Gouna to follow a similar
path.
Answering a question about the reason behind choosing “Cinema for Humanity” as the festival’s slogan,
Sawiris said that the Middle East is increasingly viewed as a troubled part of the world, rife with terrorism
and poverty, creating constant waves of illegal migration, and so the idea behind the slogan was
asserting that the festival is committed to promoting cinema as a harbinger of human values such as
peace and love, elaborating that the films that leave the deepest impact on viewers are those with a
humanitarian message at heart.
As for choosing a non-Egyptian director for the festival, Sawiris said, “GFF is an international festival,
and the only criterion when picking its leadership was competence and efficiency.”
“I believe we will create a memorable festival,” said Engineer Samih Sawiris, “we have made sure to
provide venues that are up to the standards of an international event. There were screening halls in El
Gouna that had been built ten years ago but had unfortunately closed down. I bought the building and
Naguib handled its renovation,” he added.
Meanwhile, Amr Mansi said the festival’s organizing company is driven by a dream for a better country,
and that he hopes GFF will be a similar success to El Gouna’s International Squash Open. “We have
what it takes, from capable, patriotic businessmen like Engineers Naguib and Samih Sawiris, to a super
dedicated team, and we pledge that the festival’s organization will live up to the highest standards.”
“The festival is set to receive almost 700 guests, and GFF management will be promoting it globally
through our partnership with American entertainment magazine Variety, as well as the sponsorship of
Euro News,” he added.

Meanwhile, Bushra Rozza said that GFF is on its way to accomplishing a wish that she had been
harboring for a long time, namely proving Egypt’s leading position within the region’s filmmaking industry,
and rebuilding what the spread of terrorism had destroyed of Egypt’s international reputation, asserting
that this is exactly why “Cinema for Humanity” was chosen as a slogan for the festival’s first edition.
“90% of the program is confirmed already,” said Festival Director Intishal Al Timimi, and in regards to the
festival’s timing he continued: “Our aim was to select a number of award-winning films that had already
been part of the lineup of the important international film festivals taking place in the first half of the year,
such as Rotterdam, Berlin, and TriBeCa, as well as those happening in the year’s second half, from
Cannes to Karlovy Vary to Locarno, and then those being held near the end of the year: Venice, Toronto
and San Sebastian.”
As for the Egyptian films participating in the festival, Al Timimi says: “We are very pleased to have Amr
Salama’s Sheikh Jackson as our opening film as well as part of our official competition. We are also
pleased to host the world premiere of Tamer Ashry’s Photocopy.”
“We make it a point to support young filmmakers, in addition to our focus on international films,” he
added. “Also in the Narrative Feature Competition is The Insult by Lebanese director Ziad Doueiri, the
only Arab director to compete in this year’s Venice Film Festival competition, in addition to Moroccan
filmmaker Faouzi Bensaïdi’s Volubilis, the only Arab film in this the festival’s Venice Days sidebar.”
Al Timimi also added that the festival offers cash awards that amount to $200,000, and that the
international film community has so far displayed a great deal of interest when dealing with GFF.
Meanwhile, Egyptian actress Youssra said that she was honored to be selected as an Advisory Board
member, especially since she considers El Gouna to be one of the most beautiful places in the world. “I
am very pleased that El Gouna is becoming a cultural and artistic hub as it had always been a tourist
destination. Egypt has offered us a lot, and it is our turn now to repay her, and this is why I hope similar
film festivals will take place all across the country. GFF is destined for greatness because to the team
behind it promoting Egypt as a safe haven of art and beauty is paramount.”
The United States’ Cultural Attaché added that the festival’s objective isn’t only to celebrate established
filmmakers but also to support the industry’s promising talents and to help bring their voice to the rest of
the world, including the United States. “This is why the American Embassy has supported the
collaboration between the American Film Showcase and CineGouna Platform to organize a
screenwriting workshop for ten young aspiring writers from the Arab world, which is a great opportunity to
enhance cooperation between the two countries,” she said.
The conference was also attended by Dr. Khaled Abdel Gelil, President of the National Center for
Cinema, as a representative of the Minister of Culture, Dr. Adel Al Masry, Director of the
Domestic Tourism sector, as a representative of the Minister of Tourism, two
representatives from the Americanِ Embassy and the Danish Egyptian Dialogue
Institute, both sponsoring parallel activities in coordination with the festival, as well as
representatives of the festival’s various sponsors and partners: Orascom Development,
Promo Media, Mentor Arabia, New Century Production, Aroma Studios, and Film
Factory.

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