The 4th edition of El Gouna Film Festival (GFF) will take place from September 24 to October 2, 2020. The activities organized by the Festival’s industry arm, CineGouna Platform, will take place from September 26 to October 1, 2020. This announcement is made in conjunction with the opening of the Festival’s Call for Entries. Works of all genres, forms, and lengths will be considered. Film Submissions will open on March 1, 2020 and close on July 15, 2020.
The 3rd edition of GFF attracted 740 international filmmakers, buyers, distributors, sales agents, and 750 accredited local, regional and international media representatives. The screenings and events recorded 33,000 footfalls. 83 films representing 44 countries were screened; and prizes of more than US $220,000 were awarded to the winning films of the competitive sections.
There is no doubt that the Festival’s exceptional success during the past editions encouraged renowned filmmakers to place their trust in GFF. The Festival is proud to have hosted some of the most remarkable productions of 2019: El Gouna Golden Star for Narrative Film winner You Will Die at Twenty by Amjad Abu Alala, El Gouna Silver Star for Narrative Film winner Corpus Christi by Jan Komasa, El Gouna Bronze Star for Narrative Film winner Adam by Maryam Touzani, Papicha by Mounia Meddour, winner of El Gouna Star for the Best Arab Narrative Film, 143 Sahara Street by Hassen Ferhani winner of El Gouna Silver Star for Documentary Film, El Gouna Silver Star for Short Film winner Ome by Wassim Geagea, and El Gouna Star for the Best Arab Short Film winner Give Up the Ghost by Zain Duraie. As well as two of the highlights of the Official Selection Out of Competition: Tamer Ezzat’s When We Are Born and Bashir El Deek’s The Knight and The Princess; Egypt’s first animated feature film.
GFF honoured luminaries such as superstar Mohamed Henedy and internationally acclaimed director and producer Mai Masri, who is recognized for her powerful documentaries, as well as her humanistic and poetic approach. The Festival management bestowed the Variety Award upon Sudanese director Suhaib Gasmelbari, whose film Talking About Trees won El Gouna Golden Star for Documentary Film.
CineGouna SpingBoard, the Arab project development and co-production lab, selected 12 projects in development and 6 films in post-production out of 133 submissions, where an amount of approximately US $240,000 was awarded to the winners. The prizes were funded by GFF along with its sponsors and partners. The industry arm also included a wide range of round-tables, workshops, panel discussions and masterclasses.
Celebrating 100 years since the birth of legendary Egyptian writer Ihsan Abdel Quddous, GFF presented a specially curated exhibition honoring his memory. In addition, restored films by Ferid Boughedir, Walter Salles, Francois Truffaut and Federico Fellini were screened as part of the Special Presentations.
In collaboration with the U.S Embassy in Egypt, GFF hosted Cinema in Concert, at the Marina theatre, that regaled the audiences with music from Hits of Hollywood and a Homage to Nino Rota. The success and positive reception by the audience led to the decision to make the event a yearly tradition to cherish and commemorate the unforgettable music of iconic national and international films. This collaboration also featured a partnership with Film Independent, with the aim to provide independent filmmakers with insight and support.
GFF signed a five-year memorandum of understanding with UNICEF to advocate for the rights of disadvantaged children across Egypt and the region, reflecting the belief in the power of cinema to bring a positive change to the lives of millions of children. A partnership agreement was signed with IEFTA to honor UNHCR and shed light on the refugee voices in the film industry.
Extending the ongoing collaboration with Facebook and Instagram, a workshop was held to answer questions about the use of social media. The Festival also collaborated with The Filmmaking Education Forum (FEF), an independent initiative that supports the development of filmmaking through enhancing the skills of young film and media students.
For the first time, the Festival hosted the jury members of the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) as well as the jury members of The Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema (NETPAC). Another successful agreement was made with the Italian NGO Controluce in cooperation with The Italian Embassy in Egypt. The partnership included screenings of Italian films, and the participation of an Italian delegation of four filmmakers.
It is worth noting that five of our 2019 feature film selections received a total of 11 nominations at the 92nd Academy Awards. Three of the Best International Feature Film (formerly known as Best Foreign Language Film) nominations are from GFF’s Official Selection Out of Competition; Les Misérables, Pain and Glory, Parasite, in addition to El Gouna Silver Star for Narrative Film winner Corpus Christi. These four films are 80% of the Best International Feature Film category selections. Also, our 3rd edition's opening film, Ad Astra, has been nominated for Best Sound Mixing. Parasite scored four out of a total of six nominations by winning Best Picture, Best International Feature Film, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Director.
“El Gouna Film Festival has been making some measured choices that are all geared towards managing and hopefully meeting the expectations of industry professionals, audiences and the media. Thanks to the commitment and enthusiasm of the team, GFF has been able to attract first-rate slate of acclaimed films from established filmmakers alongside innovative works from emerging filmmakers. This, coupled with the international attention the Festival receives from the world's film industry, talents, media and its growing audience, is surely a matter of pride,” stated Festival Director Mr Intishal Al Timimi
About El Gouna Film Festival
One of the leading festivals in the MENA region, GFF aims to showcase a wide variety of films for a passionate and knowledgeable audience,while fostering better communication between cultures through the art of filmmaking. Its goal is to connect filmmakers from the region with their international counterparts in the spirit of cooperation and cultural exchange. The Festival is committed to the discovery of new voices and strives to be a catalyst for the development of cinema in the Arab world.