Part of the festival’s activities - ET
CAIRO - 13 October 2019: The 35th edition of Alexandria Film Festival for Mediterranean Countries will conclude on Oct. 13. The festival bears the name of veteran actress Nabila Ebeid.
The closing ceremony will be held at Sayed Darwish Theater in Alexandria Opera House, where the awards will be granted to the winners of various competitions.
This is the end of a difficult edition of the festival, as it comes after the Ministry of Culture's decision to reduce monetary support to the festival to only 40 percent of its total budget, which placed a great burden on the festival’s management.
The president of the festival made desperate attempts to get the financial support of Alexandrian businessmen to save the situation and bring the festival to light.
The beginning was not promising after the audience was surprised by the venue of the opening ceremony, which changed from the Bibliotheca Alexandrina to Sayed Darwish Theater. Hence, the festival canceled the Red Carpet tradition for the first time in its history, bringing the stars and guests directly to the theater.
As the festival lost one of its main events, media personnel had great difficulty conducting interviews with stars and guests of the festival at the opening ceremony. However, the situation improved during the festival’s second day as the official seminars and film screenings of the festival kicked off.
The seminars witnessed a huge turnout from the people of Alexandria who were keen to attend to take memorable photos with the stars. Perhaps the most prominent symposium was that of actor Mahmoud Kabil, which saw a cry from the people of entertainment because of high unemployment rates among them.
Opinions varied greatly on the artistic level of the participating films. Some assert that they are of a good standard, while others believe that the films are rather mediocre. Yet, there was an agreement among attendees on the films capable of garnering the awards of the closing ceremony, including the Palestinian film “Jaffa Om el-Gharib” for director Raed Dzdar, and the Syrian film “Darb el-Sama’a” for director Jud Saeed.
Also, the festival's committee decided to cancel film screenings at the guests' residence as the hotel's exhibition hall is next to wedding halls.
Like most festivals, many films suffered from low turnout; however, the situation changed when the festival's management announced the screening of the film “El-Mammar” (The Passage) in honor of its filmmakers.
The huge turnout prompted the festival's administration to set aside two halls for the screening of the film, which was previously broadcast by most free-to-air Egyptian channels.
The halls did not accommodate the large number of viewers, where some decided to sit on the stairs, while others watched the entire film while standing.
The strangest thing however was the interaction of the audience with the film’s events despite their prior knowledge of what was happening.
Although all the honoring symposiums were a full house, the number of attendees arriving for the symposium of “El-Mammar” was unprecedented. It was attended by actor Mohamed Farrag, Mohammed Gomaa and producer Hisham Abdul Khaliq.
In addition, the festival’s management announced that French star Natalie Bay will not be able to attend the festival’s closing ceremony and receive her honoring as scheduled due to health reasons.
The French star confirmed that she was eager to visit Egypt, but faced sudden health deterioration, wishing the festival’s management would invite her in the upcoming edition, especially after what she heard about Egypt in general and the city of Alexandria in particular.