Year after year, El Gouna Film Festival continues to celebrate its film alumni as they score more accolades and recognition worldwide; a token of pride that the festival’s program always combines the finest and most recognized cinematic productions.
This year, 15 GFF alumni were selected to represent their countries for the Best International Film category of the 2021 Oscars. This follows last year’s submissions, where 13 films from GFF’s 2019 competition were submitted to the Academy, including 8 feature films, 4 of which were officially nominated; Parasite, Corpus Christi, Les Misérables and Pain and Glory. In addition, Parasite made history by earning 4 Academy Awards out of 6 nominations and becoming the first South Korean film to receive this recognition.
Festival director Intishal Al Timimi commented, “We are thrilled that our films are crowning their successes by being chosen to compete for the most prestigious film award there is, after their screening at the 3rd and 4th editions of GFF. This is a testimony of the exceptional efforts done by our programing department to present a finely curated line-up to GFF’s audience, as well as the trust filmmakers place in the festival to be their gate to presenting their films in the Arab region.”
The films selected to represent Arab countries at the 93rd Academy Awards; from GFF 2019’s Feature Narrative Competition is Amjad Abu Alala’ debut feature, and winner of El Gouna Golden Star for Feature Film, You Will Die at Twenty which is selected to represent Sudan, marking Sudan’s first time to compete for the Academy Awards. While from the Official Selection out of Competition of the same year and selected to represent Egypt is Tamer Ezzat’s When We Are Born.
Winner of the BNL People’s Choice Award at the 17th Venice Days, Ameen Nayfeh’s 200 Meters was selected to represent Jordan. The film was part of CineGouna SpringBoard’s projects in development selection at the inaugural edition of GFF, where it was awarded the Mentor Arabia for Children and Youth Empowerment $5,000 cash prize. 200 Meters was also the biggest winner during the 4th edition of GFF. The film scored the FIPRESCI Award, and the Cinema for Humanity Audience Award, Ali Sulieman won the Best Actor Award, while producer Mai Odeh was awarded the Variety MENA Talent of the Year Award and director Ameen Nayfeh was this year’s recipient of Mena Massoud’s EDA International Artist in Motion Award.
Kaouther Ben Hania’s The Man Who Sold His Skin, the recipient of the Edipo Re Inclusion Award of the 77th Venice International Film Festival, and winner of the Best Arab Film Award at the 4th edition of GFF was selected to represent Tunisia. The Man Who Sold His Skin was also part of CineGouna SpringBoard’s projects in development selection during the 2nd edition of GFF, where it was awarded US $10,000 from Beelink Productions.
The submissions also include The Father by Kristina Grozeva and Petar Valchanov from Bulgaria, Song Without a Name by Melina León from Peru and La Llorona by Jayro Bustamente from Guatemala, all were selected to compete at GFF 2019’s Feature Narrative Competition.
Quo Vadis, Aida? by Jasmila Žbanic was selected to represent Bosnia and Herzegovina. Earlier, the movie won GFF’s Golden Star for Best Film and the Best Actress Award for Jasna Duricic. Also, from GFF 2020’s Feature Narrative Competition; Never Gonna Snow Again by Małgorzata Szumowska and Michał Englert was selected to represent Poland, and Listen by Ana Rocha De Sousa, winner of the Lion of the Future Award for a Debut Film as well as the Special Orizzonti Jury Prize at the 77th Venice Film Festival, was selected to represent Portugal. While from GFF’s Feature Documentary Competition, Gianfranco Rosi’s Nottourno will represent Italy.
Another Round by Thomas Vinterberg was selected to represent Denmark, And Tomorrow the Entire World by Julia Von Heinz was selected to represent Germany, Beginning by Dea Kulumbegashvili was selected to represent Georgia, and last but not least True Mothers by Naomi Kawase was selected to represent Japan. All four films were part of the Official Selection out of Competition line-up at the 4th edition of GFF.