Talented filmmakers from Egypt, who won honour and recognition at various editions of the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF), are leading the country’s first-ever special tribute at Cannes Film Festival.
To be held from May 11 to 22, the prestigious Cannes Film Festival is hosting Egypt as its first-ever annual country of honour setting a new tradition of welcoming a guest country every year. To celebrate the Egyptian presence at Cannes, the festival will host a screening of 18 jours – a series of short films by leading Egyptian directors, actors and writers, based on the January 25 uprising in Egypt. The screening will be held on May 18, and all proceeds from the film will be donated for promotion education missions in the rural areas of Egypt.
Among the film professionals selected for Cannes are several Egyptian talent who have showcased their works at DIFF and went on to win top honours. Some of the Egyptian directors who will be part of the jours include: Shareef Arafah (Terrorism and Kabab; winner of Muhr Arab Feature at DIFF 2005); Sherif El Bendary (Rise & Shine, winner of Muhr Arab Shorts at DIFF 2006; and At Day’s End; winner in same category at DIFF 2008); Ahmed Abdalla (Microphone; winner of Muhr Arab feature for Best Editor at DIFF 2010); Kamla Abou Zikri (One-Zero; winner of Muhr Arab Feature at DIFF 2009).
Also to take part at Cannes are director Yousry Nasrallah, who worked extensively with master director Youssef Chahine, the DIFF Lifetime Achievement Honouree in 2008; and Khaled Marei, the editor of I Love Cinema, screened in the Arabian Nights segment of the inaugural DIFF in 2004.
Masoud Amralla Al Ali, Artistic Director, Dubai International Film Festival, said: “We are pleased with the selection of Egyptian cinema as the first-ever country guest at Cannes, and delighted that several of the professionals selected for the jours have been associated with DIFF. Egypt has been central to the evolution of Arabic cinema, and DIFF shares a strong rapport with the country.”
Over the years, DIFF has honoured leading luminaries from Egyptian cinema including Youssef Chahine, Daoud Abdul Sayed, Adel Imam, Faten Hamama and Sabah, over the past years. At DIFF 2010, two Egyptian films, Cairo Exit and Six-Seven-Eight marked their premiere in the region with gala screenings. Cairo Exit also set the tone for DIFF’s Cultural Bridge panel.
DIFF has also partnered with the Cairo Film Connection, to explore further funding opportunities through meetings with established industry players who attend the festival. DIFF will award a project from the Cairo Film Connection and invite the filmmaker to meet with key industry players.
DIFF is held in association with Dubai Studio City. Dubai Duty Free, Dubai International Financial Centre, Dubai Pearl, Emirates Airline and Madinat Jumeirah, the home of the Dubai International Film Festival, are the principal sponsors of DIFF. The Festival is supported by the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority.