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El Gouna Film Festival Reveals the Dates of Its 2021 Edition

The festival renews its pledge to nurture and support the art of cinema in the Middle East and beyond for the 5th year in a row

El Gouna Film Festival Reveals the Dates of Its 2021 Edition

Celebrating 5 years as one of the leading film festivals in the MENA region, El Gouna Film Festival (GFF) continues its mission to reinforce and promote cinema in the Middle East and beyond by announcing the dates of its 5th edition, scheduled to take place from October 14 -22, 2021 in El Gouna.

The 5th edition of GFF will follow the same approach that has been adopted in the past 4 years by the festival team, thanks to the continuous support of filmmakers and Arab and international cinema professionals, or the public, media and critical rallying.

The 2020 edition was the first public event to take place at the site of the newly established Gouna Conference and Culture Centre (GCCC) the new home for the festival and its activities, the opening and closing ceremonies, daily red-carpet events, premieres, networking events, and the closing ceremony of CineGouna Platform.

EL Gouna Founder and Orascom Development Holding Chairman, Samih Sawiris, said: 

“I am thrilled with the success achieved by GFF during the past years, especially in 2020, a year that carried a special significance for all of us. We are proud that we managed to host the 4th edition of the festival in the newly launched Gouna Conference and Culture Centre, which will contribute to further solidifying Egypt’s position as a cultural destination.” “What El Gouna is currently witnessing, in terms of being an artistic and cultural attraction to various local or international events, is a celebration of being a global destination for tourism, art, and culture.” asserted Sawiris

Festival director Intishal Al Timimi commented, 

“We always aspire to develop and fortify our organizational experience and teamwork to upscale the festival’s activities and create an atmosphere for new initiatives and ideas. As we look forward to our 5th edition, we promise to continue our contribution to the development of cinema in the region and internationally.”

Due to the global changes and challenging circumstances of the covid-19 pandemic, the line-up of the 4th edition of GFF was reduced to 63 films; 16 in the Feature Narrative Competition, 10 in the Feature Documentary Competition, 18 in the Short Film Competition, 17 in the Official Selection out of Competition and 2 in the Special Presentations section.

The 4th edition’s jury included some of the most influential and distinguished professionals in the film industry including Egyptian actor Asser Yassin, award-winning Sudanese filmmaker and screenwriter Amjad Abu Alala, director and producer Peter Webber, acclaimed Egyptian director Marianne Khoury, world-renowned Indian actor Ali Fazal, Syrian actress Kinda Alloush, and Tunisian Filmmaker Raja Amari.

Jasmila Žbanic’s Quo vadis, Aida? won El Gouna Golden Star for Narrative Film, Days of Cannibalism by Teboho Edkins won El Gouna Golden Star for Documentary Film, Being My Mom by Jasmine Trinca won El Gouna Golden Star for Short Film,Kaouther Ben Hania’s The Man Who Sold His Skin won the Best Arab Film Award and Ameen Nayfeh’s 200 Meters was awarded the Cinema for Humanity Audience Award.

Last year’s successful Cinema in Concert event witnessed the screening of Charlie Chaplin‘s newly restored copy of The Kid accompanied by an orchestra led by maestro Ahmed El Saeidi. The Career Achievement Award was bestowed upon renowned Egyptian actor Khaled El Sawi, Egyptian production designer and art director Onsi Abou Seif, and renowned French actor Gérard Depardieu, while the Omar Sharif Award was awarded to French-Moroccan artist Said Taghmaoui. The festival also organized a retrospective exhibition of the works of Onsi Abou Seif, including his films, movie posters, and the awards he received over the course of his career.

This edition also witnessed the inauguration of the Khaled Bichara Award for Egyptian Independent Filmmakers, which aims to maintain the late Khaled Bichara’s legacy of faith in those who dare to think outside the box. The award was given to the project in development, Hamlet from the Slums by Ahmed Fawzi-Saleh, and will be presented yearly along with the GFF awards.

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, especially through its industry arm, CineGouna Platform.

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