Damascus Film Fest Opens Doors to International Cinema

Published September 17th, 2001 - 02:00 GMT

The Damascus International Film Festival has decided to give all nations the opportunity to participate in the event’s official contest, and change the festival slogan to Rejuvenated Cinema. 

The festival’s old slogan was Advanced and Liberal Cinema, and was described by the festival head, Mohammed Al Ahmed, as “funny” when foreigners read its translation into English. 

Ahmed told the Arabic daily Al Sharq Al Awsat that the decision resulted from the weakness of the participating films over the past years, during which the participation was limited to films from regions including Asian, Arabic and Latin American films. 

Ahmed said that 28 films would participate in the 12th festival, which will be held between November 1-10. 

Egypt will participate with two films: Al Saher (Magician) directed by Radwan Al Kashef and starring Mahmoud Abdel Aziz, and Baheb Al Cinema (I Like Cinema) directed by Osama Fawzi and costarring Laila Olwi and Mahmoud Hemeidah. 

The festival will begin by screening the film The Son’s Room directed by the Cannes Film Festival Palm d’or winner, the Italian Nanni Moretti. 

The Damascus festival will this year honor musician Suheil Arafeh and artist Mohammed Halawani, who took a starring role in the film Al Makhduo’un (Cheated) directed by Tawfiq Saleh from Syria.  

The event will also honor Egyptian actress Faten Hamamah and scenarist Abdel Hay Adib.  

Egyptian actor Adel Imam has been chosen as the festival’s guest of honor this year, and his film Amir Al Thalam is expected to be screened at the event. 

The festival will include a number of art activities, including ones covering Japanese cinema, old and new, in addition to special Egyptian cinematography, Moroccan and independent American films.  

It will also cast light on the Italian cinema, while screening the most important films that have participated in international film festivals - Albawaba.com  

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