Egypt’s national film this week held a seminar to pay tribute to its grand old man, the head of the Arab Artists Union, Saad Eddin Wahbeh, in recognition of his role in the Cairo Cinema Festival.
Agence France Presse (AFP) quoted the critic Samir Farid as saying that Wahbeh established the festival in the early 1970s.
Farid said that the Egyptian culture minister at that time, the novelist Yousef Al Sibea’i, cancelled it in its first year, after the festival jury gave the first prize to the film Al Asfour (The Sparrow) directed by Yousef Shahin.
Farid also assured the importance of Wahbeh’s role in the re-recognition of the Cairo Festival in the mid-1980s after the International Producers Committee had cancelled its recognition of the festival in 1979. And then there was the re-recognition of the festival international competition in 1991.
The head of the Cinema Association, the scenarist Mamdouh Al Laithi, told the seminar about Wahbeh’s role in releasing the Film Al Karnak, despite Sibea’i’s objections.
The writer Mahfouz Abdel Rahman talked about Wahbeh’s contribution to theater, which included more than 16 plays – Albawaba.com