Amir el Shenawy, Tamer Ashry and Mohamed Taher - Egypt Today.
CAIRO – 1 October 2019: Various projects by directors and producers from the Arab world competed in CineGouna Platform, seeking creative and financial support. The projects included some in-development and others in post-production.
The ceremony was initiated by Intishal el-Tamimy, Gouna Film Festival’s director, who thanked the platform’s team, mentors, and jury and gave a special thanks to Bushra, the festival’s COO.
Presenting the awards was Nada Howedi, the Senior Springboard coordinator of CineGouna Platform. The winners received a CineGouna Platform Certificate and a cash prize of US $15,000. Additional awards were presented through local and regional institutions with a total value of $250,000.
The project that garnered the highest number of awards was “Straight to The Goal”, a film in-development that is directed by Egypt's Tamer Ashry. The project won a $10,000 award from iProduction, a $10,000 award from Ergo Media Ventures, and a $5,000 award from Waraq powered by Magic Beans.
The project also won $15,000 from Film Independent and the U.S Embassy, in addition to a chance for the screenwriter to participate in the Film Independent Spirit Awards Residency.
"The Fountain of Bakhchisarai", an Egyptian film in-development, directed by Mohamed Taher and produced by Amir el-Shenawy, won a $15,000 sponsorship from Film Independent and U.S. Embassy. This is in addition to a chance for their creative producer to participate in the Film Independent Spirit Awards Residency.
"I started working in 'Straight to The Goal' 3 years ago; the movie tackles the story of the 20-year-old football player, Aly, who comes from Kafr el-Sheikh. Aly is offered a chance to play in France, but he suddenly suffers from a knee injury and is deprived from playing football," Ashry told Egypt Today.
Ashry added that the movie was based on a true story of a Syrian football player in Syria's national team, who had to travel after the Syrian crisis to Germany.
Louay Khraish, project manager at Film Independent, told Egypt Today that both Ashry and Shenawy won a residency in Los Angles. Ashry will attend a workshop for his script with American scriptwriters and script consultants and will attend the Spirits Awards.
"Shenawy will go later in the spring to attend a workshop to develop his project as a producer, where he will meet producers and distributors and will attend the Film Independent Forum," Khraish explained.
Ashry explained that this is his third participation in El Gouna Film Festival, as he previously participated with two movies; "Photocopy" that won the best feature film award in the first edition and "Ma Ti'lash An el-Hageb" that won the best short movie award in the second edition.
Ashry added that he started his career in 2006 with documentary movies and kept on working on documentaries for 10 years. He recounted that he didn’t expect to receive five awards and that "these awards will give a push to the movie to be implemented. I am working on this movie since 2016. I hope to finish it soon so that it can participate in the fourth edition of El Gouna Film Festival."
Ashry said that he will try to develop the movie script and reach a final version during the week he will spend in Los Angles. "I am thinking of Ahmed Dash to perform the leading role," Ashry said.
Shenawy said that his documentary “The Fountain of Bakhchisarai” tackles the story of five pioneer Egyptian ballerinas, including the famed ballerina Magda Saleh. The five ballerinas will re-unite and perform their old dance "The Fountain of Bakhchisarai" using the hologram technique.
Shenawy said that he will attend the Film Forum in Los Angles for one week and meet with distributors and producers from all around the world. “The Fountain of Bakhchisarai” won two awards at the CineGouna Platform; the first is from Synergy production and the second is from Film Independent.
Shenawy explained that this is the first cooperation with Film Independent and that he is excited to cooperate with them in this project. "All the previous experiences of Film Independent are successful; that’s why we are enthusiastic to work with them," Shenawy recounted.
Shenawy added that “The Fountain of Bakhchisarai” will need to be executed via the hologram technology, which is not available in Egypt, so he will contact American tech companies during the week he will spend in Los Angles.
For his Part, Taher said that these two awards encouraged them and proved they are moving in the right track. "We participated in Cairo Film Connection last year and the award was to meet European producers; all these awards will help us to continue our project," Taher explained.
Shenawy admitted that the documentaries' market is of limited size in Egypt; that is why the two awards they received at the CineGouna will help them to complete their project.
"I started to cooperate with Shenawy 7 years ago and our last project was a long documentary entitled ‘Kilo 64’ where Shenawy was the director, and I was the producer. The movie premiered last year at Cairo International Film Festival," Taher said.