To go or not to go? Egyptian producers fear low turnout to film releases this Eid El Fitr
Fearing the escalation of an already heated, polarised political scene in Egypt, Egyptian producers are worried that audiences will avoid cinema houses during Eid El-Fitr holidays - the big end to the month of Ramadan fasting - fearing their safety.
However, some producers were up to the challenge and announced their films will be released during the usually booming season.
Controversial Egyptian producer Mohamed El-Sobky never misses a season without leaving his fingerprints.
After his film Abdo Mota, starring young actor Mohamed Ramadan, has topped the Egyptian box office, Mohamed El-Sobky is planning a comeback with Qalb Al Assad (Heart of the Lion), also starring Ramadan.
More or less the same as Abdo Mota, Qalb Al Assad, directed by Karim Al-Sobky, features Ramadan as a the main male character who gets involved in gang-related activity, including lots of action features, car chases and slang.
Also trying to catch the season, comedian Hani Ramzi returns with Tom and Jimmy, a children's/family comedy. Directed by Akram Farid, the film features Ramzi as a mentally-challenged adult who reacts to his surroundings.
Another film, taking the Egyptian-style cabaret night club as its main location, is action thriller Al Princisa (The Princess), based on sript by Mostafa El-Sobky, directed by Wael Abdel Kader and starring Ola Ghanem. The film highlights the challenges the protagonist faces - a poor street vendor who aims to get rich and starts to work in a night club.
Other comedy films like Nazarit Amity (The Theory of My Aunt) and Kalbi Dalili are ready for opening night on Thursday. Both are comedies mix romance with commercial thriller elements.
What is evident in some of this year's season is the amount of films that feature the now popular mahraganatmusic, underground shaabi techno/rap, bringing many of the genre's underground faces to the silver screen, like Okka, Ortega, Dj Figo and Al-Madfaagea band, among others.
The serious drama on the set this season is Al Fiel Al Azraq (The Blue Elephant). Directed by Mawaran Hamed, the film brings a large number of renowned actors like Karem Abdel-Aziz, Nelly Kareem, Khaled Al-Sawy, and Lebleba onto one set.
Al Fiel Al Azraq is based on the novel written by bestseller Ahmed Morad, which tells the story of a psychiatrist who works in a governmental hospital dedicated to rehabilitating convicted criminals. The psychiatrist finds one of his best friends among the patients and tires to help him.
Another film whose release date is still uncertain is Al Garsonira (The Waitress), starring Ghada Abdel Raziq and directed by Hani Gerges. According to sources, the film is being reviewed by the censorship committee and its release is still undecided.
Egyptian filmmakers had hoped the Eid El-Fitr season would compensate the loss they faced as the summer vacation was interrupted by the fasting month of Ramadan, which does not witness high turnouts in cinema houses.