CAIRO – 29 October 2018: Cairo International Film Festival management held a press conference on Monday that revealed all the details pertaining to the festival’s 40th edition.
The 40th round of the Cairo International Film Festival will launch on November 20 and end on November 29.
Head of DMC Channels Hisham Soliman affirmed in his speech at the Cairo International Film Festival press conference that DMC will continue to support the festival for the second consecutive year.
Soliman added that DMC channels is always keen to support all artistic festivals because of its great importance in shaping society.
“I asked the festival’s president to give the opportunity for all the other channels to cover the festival’s events, just giving DMC the exclusive right as the festival media sponsor to cover both the opening and closing ceremonies, and perform interviews with the festival’s guests,’’ Soliman added.
Head of the Cairo International Film Festival Mohamed Hefzy announced that the festival will cooperate with the American Embassy in organizing the Global Media Makers conference.
The conference will focus on the possibility of cooperation between filmmakers in the Arab world and their counterparts in America, and how to benefit from American expertise in the cinema industry.
The American embassy and Global Media Makers conference will bring a group of American speakers to participate in the conference, such as the president of HBO network Len Amato, American producer Effie Brown, producer, director and screenwriter Gregory Nava and producer Alex Madigan. Speakers will also participate in a number of panel discussions, workshops and art classes.
Artistic director of CIFF, veteran cinematic critic Youssef Cherif Rizkallah, gave the attendees a glimpse of the participating movies.
Rizkallah said that The American film "Green Book" is set to screen at the opening ceremony of the Cairo International Film Festival's 40th edition.
"Green Book" is considered one of the most important films competing for the 2019 Oscar Awards; it is directed by Peter Varley and stars Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali.
The film is based on a true story that took place in the 1960s as racial discrimination heightened in the United States. An Italian-born driver with racial tendencies takes a black-skinned pianist on a tour around the southern states where racism reached its highest levels.
The film was granted the Audience Award at the Toronto International Film Festival, the largest audience selection awards.
Film director Varley, who is also known internationally for presenting light comedy films, made sure his brother, Bob Varley, played a role in “Green Book” that was unlike any role he played before.
The movie presented a serious topic, but the actors did not lose their comedian attire.
A three-minute video was displayed during the press conference revealing glimpses from the festival’s movies.
‘’This edition will be a historical one,” recounted Hefzy. The CIFF head added that it is necessary to maintain the existence of Cairo International Film Festival and its strong presence in the region, especially amid strong competition with other festivals.
Hefzy pointed out that there are many developments in the upcoming edition, such as the purchase of new screens within the festival’s plan to pay more attention to the sound and image of the presented films, in addition to screening a number of films using the 4k technique.
‘’The festival this edition will present for the first time in its history 14 or 15 international film premieres,’’ Hefzy announced.
Hefzy pointed out that Cairo Film Forum program will be expanded this year with the participation of larger number of films. CIFF head added that this year, a red carpet will be laid every night of the festival nights before each film screening.
CIFF will launch this year two new awards to give greater opportunities for more films to win.
‘’The first prize of $20,000 given to the best film will be based on the audience vote, and will go to the producer and distributor of the film in Egypt, while the second award for the best Arab film will be chosen by an independent jury,” Hefzy said.
Hefzy announced that CIFF honorees include veteran Egyptian actor Hassan Hosny, famed Egyptian musician Hisham Nazih who will be awarded the Faten Hamama Award, and acclaimed English star Ralph Fiennes.
Hefzy revealed that he received a phone call from businessman Samih Sawiris on Sunday promising to support the Cairo Film Festival with L.E 2 million from the Sawiris Cultural Foundation.
Commenting on the crisis that followed the festival's decision to honor French director Claude Lelouch, whose opinions support Israel, the festival head commented that CIFF is against normalising ties with Israel.
A notable cast of stars attended the press conference, such as members of the festival’s Advisory Committee including Laila Alawi, Sherif Al-Bandari, Omar Abdul Aziz, Mohammed Al-Adel, Khalid Abdel Galil and Mousad Fouda, among others.
The Cairo International Film Festival management selected prominent Danish director Bille August to preside the jury of the International Competition in the 40th edition of the festival.
"Bille August is one of the eminent names in cinema; his films have captured the hearts of audiences all over the world. It is an honor to have him as the jury president in the festival’s historic 40th edition,” recounted Hefzy, CIFF president.
August is one of few directors around the world who was awarded three of the most prestigious cinematic awards during his long career: The Academy Award, Palm d'Or and the Golden Globe. He is also one of eight directors throughout history who have received the Palm d'Or twice.
"I am excited and honored to be the jury president of this year's Cairo International Film Festival, and looking forward to watching all the films from around the world along with the jury members,” said August before the conference.
Rizkallah announced that the International Competition will host other acclaimed jury members beside August, as it will include for the first time this year a group of notable filmmakers who have wide and unique artistic experiences.