Reflections on CIFF 2020

Misr International Films
The 42nd edition of the Cairo International Film Festival, oldest and only internationally accredited film festival in the Arab world, Africa and the Middle East, just came to an end on December 10th, after having run for 8 days.

This year’s edition was headed by award-winning Egyptian screenwriter and producer Mohamed Hefzy.

15 films competed in the International Competition, including three Egyptian titles: “About Her” by Islam El Azzazi, “Curfew” by Amir Ramses and “Lift Like A Girl” by Mayye Zayed.

British Film “Limbo”, directed by Edinburgh-born director Ben Sharrock and starring Amir El Masry, which tells the story of a Syrian musician put on a Scottish island while waiting for his request for asylum to go through, won the Golden Pyramid for best film.

Gaby Khoury, MIF Managing Partner and CEO, was part of the International Competition Jury, featuring German director Burhan Qurbani, Mexican actress Naian Gonzalez Norvind, Brazilian director Karim Ainouz, Egyptian actress Lebleba and Palestinian-Jordanian director Najwa Najjar. Russian director Alexander Sokurov, listed among the best 100 directors of world cinema according to the European Film Academy, headed the Jury.

“This year’s edition was particularly remarkable in terms of organization and punctuality”, declared Gaby, “and the International Jury, which I was honoured to be part of, featured richly diversified members headed by a formidable artist and human being, Mr. Sokurov.”

“I am especially happy we were able to recognize not one but two impressive female artists, by bestowing the Best Actress award upon Natalya Pavlenkova and Elham Shahin. I congratulate them for their memorable and moving performances.”

It is also worth mentioning that acclaimed Egyptian screenwriter Wahid Hamed was honored during the opening ceremony of the Cairo International Film Festival with the Golden Pyramid Award for Lifetime Achievement, celebrating Hamed’s extensive career in cinema and television, including over 40 films and 30 TV and radio series, which have won numerous local and international festival awards.

The Festival also awarded Mona Zaki the Faten Hamama Award of Excellence this year, in recognition of her outstanding career and of her becoming “a role model setting a great example of success for women working in Egyptian cinema” over the years.