American Director: GFF paves way to become cultural exchange hub



Sun, 24 Sep 2017 - 01:32 GMT


Sun, 24 Sep 2017 - 01:32 GMT

Screenwriter Jeff Stockwell on the left and American film director on the right - Egypt Today staff

Screenwriter Jeff Stockwell on the left and American film director on the right - Egypt Today staff

CAIRO- 24 September 2017: El Gouna Film Festiva; (GFF) invited several internationally renowned stars making it a cultural exchange hub according to American film director Richard Tanne who spoke exclusively to Egypt Today.

From a young age, Tanne’s talents attracted astonishing attention where he received the New Jersey Governor’s Awards for Excellence in Arts Education as a teenager. He debuted his career in feature film “Southside, With You” and was nominated for several awards including Grand Jury Prize at Sundance Film Festival.

He has also won the Bingham Ray Breakthrough Director Award and Audience Award at Gotham Awards and Golden Space Needle Award at Seattle International Film Festival taking home the Audience Award at Maui Film Festival in 2016.

Tanne and American screenwriter Jeff Stockwell have visited Egypt for the first time to conduct a screenwriting workshop during GFF. Stockwell works with American Film Showcase, a program which allows film experts and filmmakers to engage in workshops and master classes.

“I actually went to them and asked to participate as part of their film program; they later gave me an orientation. American showcase has helped me to arrive in GFF,” Stockewell told Egypt Today.

Stockwell has written the script for “Wilder Days,” a drama film which was nominated for a WGA Award for Best Original Long Form TV in 2004. He has also written many other scripts including the films “A Wrinkle in Tome,” “Our Wild Life,” “The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane.”

Since 2004, Stockwell has been a mentor at Screen Writing Labs and has previously conducted two workshops, one in Oman and the other in Los Angeles.

Both Tanne and Stockwell have worked together at Pixar Animation Studio where they both exchanged feedback on their writings and actively collaborated in the process of scriptwriting.
As a result of their collaborative chemistry, Stockwell enthusiastically approached Tanne to co- teach in this screenwriting workshop.

“The big attraction for me is that I love working with filmmakers, so when El Gouna Film Festival board was interested in working with the American Embassy and the American Showcase, this was just a lovely opportunity for me,” Stockwell added.

Tanne believed that GFF is already off to a good start because “GFF is attracting worldwide recognized artists such as Forest Whitaker, Dylan McDermott, Michael Madsen and other international actors and filmmakers that might be the key to an internationally recognized festival,” he said.

He also added that the festival is working to be a global enterprise in which it is expected to gather people from all over the world. The film screenings in GFF helps create a cultural exchange hub between foreign communities, according to Tanne.

GFF opening ceremony (Photo: File photo)

Stockwell and Tanne were lucky enough to have a translation booth in their classes allowing the participants who speak Arabic and French to instantly understand their teachings.

The slogan of the GFF is “Cinema for Humanity.” When asked what it means to him, Tanne elaborated, “Every movie contributes in one way or another to humanity. Cinema is powerful on its own. In the 21st century, cinema has become the most important provider for images.”

He further added that if one sees himself/herself represented on screen they would know that there are people who are similar to them that have the same physical and mental characteristics, and language. He asserted that this alone brings people together and makes one more open to different cultures.

“I don’t know a better way that most of us can learn about the rest of the world other than through cinema. We get the news and most of it is flying by us. For example, you are notified that five people were killed in Los Angeles last week so you think ‘Oh! It must be a terrible place’ but then you see a film telling the story of someone trying to make their way in Los Angeles and you connect it with this piece of news, and this conclusion is great in result,” Stockwell explained.

Stockwell hopes that ultimately people watch films from different countries, “because that’s what allows people to connect with each other and with the films regardless of the films culture and setting. And it’s an exciting time because it’s easier now to see each others films with streaming and you don’t have to wait until it screens in a specific movie theater. It’s really the quest of how we can get people to see each others’ films, and El Gouna could be a lovely platform for promoting that.”

Both Tanne and Stockwell have high hopes about GFF and are very excited for the upcoming parts of the festival emphasizing, “For being the first year, the opening ceremony was like no other. No film festival has an opening similar to GFF! This opening has made me become curious about next year’s edition.”



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