Cairo International Film Festival
The Cairo International Film Festival (Arabic: مهرجان القاهرة السينمائي الدولي) is an annual film festival held in Cairo, Egypt. It was established in 1976 and was the first international film festival held in the Arab world. It has taken place every year since its inception, except for 2011 and 2013, when it was cancelled due to budget limitations and political instability. The 37th edition will take place from November 11th, to 20th, 2015. It is the only international competitive feature film festival recognized by the FIAPF in the Arab world and Africa, as well as the oldest in this category.
In 1975, after a visit to the Berlin Film Festival the late writer-critic Kamal El Mallakh and a group of like-minded cinema critics wondered why such a world-class festival couldn't take place in Egypt. The country was still riding the crest of Egyptian cinema's golden age and contained a formidable film industry, still the biggest in the Arab world. The Cairo International Film Festival was launched in 1976.
The 1976 festival featured around 100 films from 33 countries, with 14 films from 14 different countries in competition. In an effort to celebrate the best international cinema, the Cairo International Film Festival has proven its daring and versatility year after year and continues to act as a meeting point not only for filmmakers and critics but also for writers, intellectuals and other artists.
The Egyptian Association of Film Writers and Critics headed the festival for the first seven years until 1983. In the following year, the Union of Artist's Syndicates supervised the festival, and after that point, several associations mustered their resources to run the festival. The Egyptian Association of Film Writers and Critics joined with the Ministry of Culture and the Union of Artist's Syndicates to form a joint committee in 1985 to improve the quality and financial state of the festival.
The Cairo International Film Festival moved into the 21st century with hope. Hussein Fahmy, President of Cairo Fest, told UKHotMovies.com at the turn of the Millennium: "As we are moving into the new century, we want to put away the wars and bombings and remember to laugh."
Egyptians seem grateful for the Festival, most are never exposed to films made outside of Egypt other than commercial level Hollywood productions. The Festival offers audiences the opportunity to watch films from other countries and gain insights into their customs, concerns, and cultures.
Despite behind-the-scenes interference from a severe dictatorship, Cairo's International Film Festival sometimes becomes a forum for political and cultural statements. 2003 became a major year for the festival when Egyptian film director Khaled Hagar presented his controversial 'Girls' Love.' This only Egyptian entry to the festival that year was the story of a love affair between a young Egyptian man and a Jewish woman. Hagar was strongly criticized in a country where the majority of people passionately oppose closer ties with the neighboring Jewish state.
The presidents of the CIFF festival since it was founded in 1976 to 2006 are Saad El-Din Wahba, Hussein Fahmy and Sherif El Shoubashy. In the year 2006 a new president was appointed for the festival by Egyptian culture minister Farouk Hosny, he is Egyptian actor and musician Ezzat Abou-Ouf. In 2015, Magda Wassef was appointed as the new president. In 2009 the festival celebrated the contributions of Latin America movies, and honoured the French musician Charles Aznavour, the American actor Danny Glover, and other artists.
Awards and honorees
The Cairo International Film Festival, in its annual celebration and examination of the state of cinema in the world today, has awarded many Egyptian and internationally renowned actors, actresses, and directors. Special awards, such as the Best Arab Film Award, is awarded to the most exceptional regional films of the year.
- Major Award Winners
|Year||Best Film (Golden Pyramid)||Best Director||Best Actor||Best Actress|
|The Object of Beauty|| Michael Lindsay-Hogg
for The Object of Beauty
| Joaquim de Almeida
for Family Portrait
| Christiane Heinrich
|Those Left Behind|| Michael Apted
| Ole Lemmeke
for The Naked Trees
| Xiu Jingshuang
for Those Left Behind
|Curfew|| Nabil Maleh
for The Extras
| Andrzej Seweryn
| Marina Neyolova
for You Are My Only One
|Colonel Chabert|| Yves Angelo
for Colonel Chabert
| Nour El-Sherif
for A Hot Night
| Laila Elwi
for More Love, Less Violence
|The Flor Contemplacion Story|| Sergei Masloboischikov
for Josephine, the Singer and the Mice People
| Stephen Rea
for Citizen X
| Nora Aunor
for The Flor Contemplacion Story
|A Girl Called Apple|| Pantelis Voulgaris
| Abu Bakr Ezzat
for The Woman and the Hatchet
| Julia Jäger
for Outside Time
|The Chambermaid on the Titanic|| Bigas Luna
for The Chambermaid on the Titanic
| Davor Janjić
| Reem Al-Turki
for Ceremonial Wedding Dress
|Malli|| Santosh Sivan
| Paschalis Tsarouhas
| Mei Ting
for A Time to Remember
|A Major Inconvenience|| Martin Šulík
for Prague Stories (Segment: "Pictures from the Visit")
| Mahmoud Abdel Aziz
for Pleasure Market
| Pegah Ahangarani
for The Girl in the Sneakers
|Sigh|| Roch Stéphanik
| Zhang Guoli
| Xu Fan
|Pauline and Paulette|| Sinișa Dragin
for Everyday God Kisses Us on the Mouth
| Paul Freeman
| Niki Karimi
for The Hidden Half
|The Last Blues|| Mrinal Sen
for My Land
| Ahmed Zaki
for His Excellency the Minister
| Nandita Das
for My Land
for The Last Supper
|The King|| Liang Shan
for The Father
| Song Guofeng
for The Father
| Sandrine Kiberlain &
for Sole Sisters
|Guardians of the Clouds|| Héctor Olivera
for Ay Juancito
| Adrián Navarro
for Ay Juancito
| Eszter Bagaméri
for Guarded Secrets
for My Soul Mate
|Mother of Mine|| Klaus Härö
for Mother of Mine
| Bujar Lako
for Magic Eye
| Maria Lundqvist
for Mother of Mine
|The Road|| Khosro Masumi
for Somewhere Too Far
| Nicolás Mateo
for Speed Begets Oblivion
| Zhang Jingchu
for The Road
|Intimate Enemies|| Florent Emilio Siri
for Intimate Enemies
| Albert Dupontel
for Intimate Enemies
| Marina Magro
for Full Scope
|Return to Hansala|| Pernille Fischer Christensen
| Juan Diego Botto
for El Greco
| Yolande Moreau
|Letters to Father Jacob|| Mona Achache
for The Hedgehog
| Fathy Abdel Wahab
for The Nile Birds
for Madholal Keep Walking
| Karolina Piechota
|Lust|| Svetoslav Ovtcharov
for Voice Over
| Amr Waked &
for The Father and the Foreigner
| Isabelle Huppert
|Rendez-vous in Kiruna|| Marian Dziędziel
for The Fifth season of the Year
| Vanessa Di Quattro
for Breach in the Silence
|Melbourne|| Khaled Abol Naga
for Eyes of a Thief
| Adèle Haenel
for Love at First Fight
- International actors awarded include
Marcello Mastroianni, Catherine Deneuve, John Malkovich, Elizabeth Taylor, Morgan Freeman, Sivaji Ganesan, Samuel L. Jackson, Sophia Loren, Claudia Cardinale, Leslie Caron, Richard Gere, Susan Sarandon, Gina Lollobrigida, Peter O'Toole, Omar Sharif, Ornella Muti, Victoria Abril, Shashi Kapoor, Alain Delon, Nicolas Cage, Goldie Hawn, Kurt Russell, Greta Scacchi, Julia Ormond, Mira Sorvino, Khalid Abdalla, Alicia Silverstone, Priscilla Presley, Stuart Townsend, Yolande Moreau, Christopher Lee, Irene Papas, Nora Aunor, Bud Spencer, Tom Berenger, Salma Hayek, Lucy Liu, Juliette Binoche, Dominique Blanc and Charlize Theron.
- Internationally renowned directors awarded include
- Honored people and films include
The CIFF 2004 Best Arab Film Award was given to an Egyptian film, Inas El-Degheidy's 'Searching for Freedom.'
In 2005 the CIFF honored its two star guests, American actor Morgan Freeman and French actress Leslie Caron. There was a screening of American actor and director Clint Eastwood's 'Million Dollar Baby' starring Freeman, Eastwood and Hilary Swank; and American director Vincent Minnelli's classic musical 'An American in Paris' (1951), starring Caron and Gene Kelly. CIFF's other 2005 honorees included Mohamed Mounir and Hanan Turk for their roles in Lebanese director Jocelyne Saab's Dunia (2005 film), a controversial film focusing on censorship and the oppression of women in Egypt. The Syrian American producer and director Moustapha Akkad, who died in a 2005 terrorist attack in Amman, Jordan, was also honored that year. He is best remembered for 'Mohammad, Messenger of God' (1976) (U.S. 'The Message') about the early days of Islam, and for the spine-chilling 'Halloween' movie series.
Cairo Film Connection
The Cairo Film Connection is the latest coproduction platform aiming at maximizing networking to induce coproductions for films originating from the Arab world.
The first year, around 10 projects will be selected by a team of experts. Directors and producers will be invited to the Cairo Film Connection to pitch their projects over a period of 3 days to key industry professionals whether international or from the region.
Circulation of the selected project in Arabic and English as well as, individualized meetings scheduled in advance should maximize exposure of the projects and optimize all the participants experience.
Guests will be carefully selected to cover all stages of development of film production, funding, distribution, marketing, broadcasting, sales, festivals.
In addition to the exposure offered to film-makers during the Cairo Film Connection, the Egyptian Ministry of Culture is offering a special award amounting to $10,000.
- "The trouble with the Cairo International Film Festival". Daily News Egypt. Retrieved 18 November 2012.
- "36th Cairo International Film Festival postponed to 2014". Euromed Audiovisuel. Retrieved 6 April 2014.
- Muhammad Y. Gamal (May 2008). "Egypt’s audiovisual translation scene" (PDF). Arab Media & Society: 13. Retrieved 7 October 2014.
- "Klaus Haro's film, Mother of Mine, wins Golden Pyramid". Screen Daily. 2005-12-13. Retrieved 2015-04-29.
- "Chinese film defies critics and wins the Golden Pyramid". Daily News Egypt. 2006-12-10. Retrieved 2015-04-29.
- "French war movie sweeps film festival awards". Daily News Egypt. 2007-12-09. Retrieved 2015-04-29.
- "Spain and Belgium winners at Cairo film fest". Al Arabiya. 2008-11-29. Retrieved 2015-04-29.
- "Cairo festival hands main prizes to Letters To Father Jacob and The Hedgehog". Screen Daily. 2009-11-23. Retrieved 2015-04-29.
- "Egypt sweeps top awards at Cairo International Film Festival". Daily News Egypt. 2010-12-10. Retrieved 2015-04-29.
- "35th Cairo International Film Festival closes on a sad note". Al Ahram. 2012-12-08. Retrieved 2015-04-29.
- "36th Cairo International Film Festival: Iranian film Melbourne wins Best Film". Al Ahram. 2014-11-18. Retrieved 2015-04-29.