Founded in 2017, the annual El Gouna Film Festival (GFF) strives to shed light on new voices and support the development of Arab cinema, in addition to fostering a cultural exchange between filmmakers and their audience.
Taking place on 14 October, this year’s festival boasts a variety of thought-provoking movies from the Middle East and North Africa. Egypt in particular has stood out in this regard, with a total of seven confirmed submissions.
Directed by Omar El Zohairy, this film was submitted in the Feature Narrative Competition and follows the life of a family struggling to adapt after their patriarch was turned into a chicken at the hands of a magician. The film won the 2021 Cannes Critics’ Week Grand Prix and International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) Award.
Submitted in the Feature Narrative Competition by Egypt and Jordan and directed by Mohamed Diab, Amira follows the life of a teenage girl who believes she was conceived using the smuggled sperm of her father, who is imprisoned. She later finds out her father is, in fact, infertile, leading to a struggle in her sense of identity.
Captains of Za’atari
Directed by Ali El Arabi, this documentary won three awards in the 2019 CineGouna Platform. It was submitted in the Feature Documentary competition and tells the story of two men who find solace in their love of football while living in a refugee camp.
This documentary tells the story of a woman who, after living abroad for ten years, ends up stuck in her childhood home due to the pandemic. Directed by Sara Shazli and submitted in the Feature Documentary Competition, the moving narrative features precious moments captured with the woman’s father on film.
Submitted in the Short Film Competition, this film tells the story of a young mother’s often uncomfortable interactions in the city of Cairo – a journey she must endure alone after her husband leaves to work in another city. The film is directed by Morad Mostafa.
Directed by Ahmed Abd El Salam, this Short Film Competition submission follows the life of a young woman who attempts to escape her homeland. Right before her departure, however, she experiences internal and external struggles; the former with herself, the latter with a patriarchal society.
Selected as an “Official Selection out of Competition,” this film features a star-studded cast of Khaled El Nabawy, Shereen Reda, Ahmed El Fishawy, Ghada Adel, and Yasmin Raeis, among others. Directed by Hadi El Bagoury, the movie follows five different love stories used to portray the societal beliefs that can destroy a romance.
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