In an exceptional atmosphere, the opening ceremony of the El Gouna International Film Festival was held on Friday, which is held at the El Gouna Conference and Culture Center (Festival Plaza) amid precautionary measures due to the Coronavirus, but this did not prevent artists from attending the events in the festival’s open square.
The festival applied a set of strict precautionary measures, requiring wearing masks all the time in closed halls, while providing free disinfection tools and masks everywhere. Most of the events are also organized in open spaces.
Among the precautionary measures are reducing dependence on paper materials and digitizing all materials and publications, including tickets for shows booked electronically. Also, PCR examinations were conducted for all invitees from outside Egypt before receiving them in El Gouna, and it was noticeable that a number of artists committed to wearing the muzzle while they were in the closed and crowded halls.
The opening ceremony witnessed the honoring of the French actor Gerard Depardieu, whose invitation to the festival sparked controversy recently because of his positions in support of Israel, in addition to the honor of the artist Khaled El Sawy and the exceptional scenery designer Ansi Abu Seif by giving them the Creative Achievement Award, and the festival also awarded the “Omar Sharif Prize” to the French-Moroccan actor. Origin Said Thalassa.
Abu Seif’s filmography includes many important films in the history of Egyptian cinema, including “The Mummy” by Shadi Abdel Salam, “Alexandria Violin and Violin” by Youssef Shaheen, “Kit Kat” by Dawood Abdel Sayed, “Summer Heist” by Lesri Nasrallah, and “Arak Al-Balah” by Radwan Al-Kashef, in addition to “Dreams of Hind and Camelia” by Muhammad Khan, and “A Day Passed … A Good Day” by Khairy Bishara.
After the concert, the opening film “The Man Who Sold His Back” by Tunisian director Kawthar Ben Haniyeh, whose hero Yahya Mahaini won the award for best actor in the Horizons section of the 77th Venice International Film Festival, was shown after the ceremony. The film – which stars Monica Bellucci and Dia Lien, in addition to Mahaini – will participate in the official feature film competition at the festival.
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Film Highlights: The Man Who Sold His Skin, dir. @kaoutherbenhania After sweeping up wins at the 2nd edition of GFF’s #CineGounaSpringboard competition, and then going on to continue a streak of wins worldwide, Tunisian director Kaouther Ben Hania’s ‘The Man Who Sold His Skin’ comes full circle with its MENA premiere at #GFF20. Ben Hania premiered the film earlier in September at the 77th edition of Venice Film Festival to a rousing success, and stole the show with its impactful narrative following Sam Ali, a young sensitive and impulsive Syrian national that fled his war-torn country. Sam then falls down a rabbit hole that puts a chink in his vulnerable armour, and has his expectations altered well beyond his control. Catch ‘The Man Who Sold His Skin’ at #GFF20 during these screening times: 📆: October 24th 3:00 PM 📍: AUDIMAX, TU Berlin 📆: October 25th 8:45 PM 📍: AUDIMAX, TU Berlin الرجل الذي باع ظهره، إخراج كوثر بن هنيه بعد فوزه الكبير في الدورة الثانية من مسابقة #CineGounaSpringboard بالمهرجان، ثم مواصلة سلسلة الانتصارات في جميع أنحاء العالم. سيُعرض فيلم “الرجل الذي باع ظهره” للمخرجة التونسية كوثر بن هنية لأول مرة في منطقة الشرق الأوسط وشمال إفريقيا في مهرجان الجونة السينمائي 2020. تم عرض الفيلم لأول مرة في الدورة 77 لمهرجان فينيسيا السينمائي وحقق نجاحًا باهرًا، بسبب قصته المؤثرة التي تحكي عن سام علي، وهو شاب سوري حساس ومتهور، فر من بلده الذي مزقتها الحرب. بعد ذلك تنقلب الأحداث مع “سام” لتُغير توقعاته بشكل خارج عن إرادته. شاهد “الرجل الذي باع ظهره” في مهرجان الجونة السينمائي 2020 خلال أوقات العرض هذه: 📆: الساعة 00/3 مساء يوم 24 أكتوبر 📍 AUDIMAX, TU Berlin 📅: 25 أكتوبر / 8:45 P 📍 AUDIMAX, TU Berlin
The jury of the feature films competition includes Egyptian actor, writer and producer Aser Yassin, Sudanese director and screenwriter Amjad Abu Al-Alaa, whose feature film “You Will Die at Twenty” (2019) won the Future Lion Award from the Venice Film Festival in its 76th session, and the El Gouna Golden Star for the feature film in The third session of the El Gouna Film Festival, in addition to more than 15 international film awards.
Rodrigo Ciboleda is also participating in the jury, whose latest work “The Paranoid Matadore” (2020) was selected at the 77th Venice International Film Festival, in addition to showing it in the fourth edition of the El Gouna Film Festival in the official selection section outside the competition.
In addition, co-founder and General Delegate of the Mediterranean Film Festival in Montpellier, Producer Terry Lenovell is also participating. The committee is chaired by director and producer Peter Weber, who recently directed the popular TV series “Kingdoms of Fire”.
The festival includes a number of distinguished films that have won various awards and have premiered in a number of international festivals such as Berlin (Germany), Venice (Italy) and Sundance (United States), in addition to 13 films in their international premieres.
Among the most prominent films participating in the fourth edition is Bad Tales (from Italy) by Damiano and Fabio Dinocenzo, in the feature film competition, which is the winner of the Silver Bear Award for Best Screenplay at the 70th Berlin Film Festival.
And “Falling” (produced in the United States and Canada) in the first directing experience of famous American actor Vigo Mortenson. And from the Arab world, the Palestinian film “200 meters”, written and directed by Amin Nayfeh, will participate. The film participated in the 77th “Venice Days” competition, parallel to the Venice Film Festival.
The Palestinian film had participated in the projects in the development stage of the first session of the El Gouna Film Platform, and at that time it won the “Mentor Arabia” prize for empowering children and youth, amounting to $ 5,000.