Over the years, Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF) has devoted a special attention to short films, due to its growing popularity each year.
Previous editions of the festival included screenings in the Ewart Hall at the AUC, which can accommodate 900 people for short film screenings, and all of these screenings were sold out.
It is noteworthy that the winning short film now qualifies for the Academy Award lists, attracting filmmakers worldwide to submit their films for the chance to have their world or international premieres at the festival.
In its 45th edition, scheduled to take place between November 15 to 24, CIFF remains committed to empowering the short film industry with several new additions to the short film program.
The first of these enhancements involves a partnership between the festival and the Drosos Foundation in Egypt.
This partnership has resulted in offering oa $5,000 cash prize for the best Arab short film.
The Drosos Foundation, which focuses on supporting the creative economy and empowering young artists to access more opportunities and advance their careers in cinema, has coperated with the festival to award this prize.
The recipient of this award will be selected by the short film jury from among the Arab participants in the official short film competition.
In recognition of the significance of short films and the need to provide them with equal prominence alongside feature films, the festival has chosen to inaugurate an opening ceremony dedicated to short films, in the presence of the participating filmmakers, jury members and audiences. This ceremony will take place at the Grand Theatre, featuring a selection of short films that will also serve as the program's opening films.
Among these is the Egyptian film “I Promise You Paradise”, directed by Morad Mustafa, which has been awarded numerous prizes at international film festivals, including the prestigious Cannes Film Festival. Due to the geographical diversity constraint of the competition and the rising number of Egyptian short film submissions, the festival management has introduced a new segment.
This non-competitive section is designed to offer greater screening opportunities for promising Egyptian filmmakers, showcasing their distinctive artistic endeavors at the onset of their careers.
Commenting on these developments, CIFF President, Hussein Fahmy, stated: "in its previous edition, the festival has succeeded in presenting diversified performances and films to the audience, which resulted in high attendance rates. The screened films tackled multiple crucial themes that the audience enjoyed”.
Fahmy added: “this year, the festival grants young Egyptian filmmakers the opportunity to take part in its events through a non-competitive section. This section aims at granting them the opportunity to participate in the festival, in order to pave the way for them to unleash their creativity”.
CIFF Director, Amir Ramses, declared: “throughout the past years, the short film’s program has been so unique. The winning films will have the chance to take part in the Oscar Qualifiers for the Best Short Film. Indeed, the festival’s management is so proud of that. Over the past few years, we have observed the audience’s interest in these kinds of films. That’s why we thought of hosting red carpet shows for them, as well as presenting shows in a larger place -Ewart Hall, the AUC- that accommodates 900 audiences. Nevertheless, the turnout remained high”.
Ramses added: “this year, we agreed -in coordination with the short film program’s director, Maggie Morgan- to launch an official opening of the competition for the first time and screening some films at the Grand Theatre, Cairo Opera House. Furthermore, the festival decided to introduce a non-competitive program for enhancing Egyptian short films. This program is dedicated to young people and student films, so that they would be introduced to audiences and filmmakers for raising a new generation”.
CIFF is one of the most prestigious and long-standing festivals in the Arab World and Africa. It is unique as it is the only festival in the Arab and African region accredited as category “A” by the International Federation of Film Producers Associations (FIAPF) in Brasilia, France.