By Hajar Elkahlaoui
Rabat – Curtains went up on Tuesday night at El-Manara Hall in New Cairo for the 39th Cairo International Film Festival, initiated by the Egyptian Ministry of Culture, with the participation of 175 films representing 53 countries, including Morocco.
Like every year, the opening ceremony of this international event was marked by the presence of many figures from the culture and movie industries, including English actress Elizabeth Hurley as a guest of honour.
Egyptian actor Samir Ghanem was presented with the Faten Hamama Honorary Award, while the Faten Hamama Excellence Award was presented to Egyptian actor Maged El-Kedwany and to the Egyptian Actress Hend Sabry.
Syrian singer Assala opened the ceremony with a performance of “Yally Badaato Bil Fann” by the composer Mohamed Abdelwahab.
During the nine days of the festival, 15 films will be presented, including Fortunata by Italian director Sergio Castellito, Une saison en France by Chadian filmmaker Mahamat Saleh Haroun, Insyriated by Belgium’s Philippe Van Leeuw, Los Perros by the Chilean Marcela Said, Pomegranate Orchard by the Azerbaijani Ilgar Najaf, and Tunis By Night by the Tunisian Elyes Baccar.
The festival will also feature a parallel program of special screenings and seminars.
In the Horizons of New Arab Cinema competition for feature and documentary films, eight films are in competition, including two from Morocco, two from Syria, one each from Kuwait, Palestine, Tunisia, and Lebanon.
This section will be juried by Tunisian actress Rym Ben Messaoud, Egyptian DOP Ahmad El-Morsy, and Jordanian director and producer Mohmoud Al-Massad.