Saturday,21 October, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1267, (22 - 28 October 2015)
Saturday,21 October, 2017
Issue 1267, (22 - 28 October 2015)

Ahram Weekly

Hope for change

Soha Hesham takes a look at the awards of the Egyptian National Film Festival, which wrapped up this week

Hope for change
Hope for change
Al-Ahram Weekly

The 19th Egyptian National Film Festival (7-16 October) opened at the Cairo Opera House Main Hall under the slogan Aflamna, Meraatana (Our films, Our Mirror). Held under the auspices of the Minister of Culture Helmi Al-Namnam, the ceremony brought Festival President director Samir Seif together with a large number of actors and filmmakFers and featured the screening of the documentary Aflamna, Meraatana by Shadi Sorour, followed by other screenings: 72 Kilometres (Haitham Khalil, 2015), Mosafer Lel Shamal, Mosafer Lel Ganoub (Travelling North, Travelling South, 1973) by Samir Ouf, and Shafika Wa Metwali (Ali Badrakhan,1978). The festival honoured actors Yehia Al-Fakharani and Laila Elwi, screenwriter Mustafa Moharam, set designer Mahmoud Mohsen and cinematographer Essam Farid.  

The National Festival was founded with a view to showcasing local filmmaking and taking stock of its quality and direction, but in recent years its quality had deteriorated to the point when people called for cancelling the event altogether. With lectures on such recently deceased icons as Faten Hamama, Omar Sharif, Nabiha Lotfi, Raafat El-Meehy and Nour Al-Sherif, however, this year’s edition seemed to hold some promise. Novelist Youssef Al-Qaid headed the feature film competition and filmmaker Ahmed Fouad Darwish the the shorts, documentaries and animation competition jury. The closing ceremony did seem to offer, in the form of the awards announced in its course, a balanced and fair view of the last two years’ best productions.

Marwan Hamed’s Al-Feel Al-Azraq (The Blue Elephant, 2014), based on Ahmed Mourad’s best-selling novel, received the best actor and best actress awards (Karim Abdel-Aziz and Nelly Karim, respectively). The best supporting actor and best supporting actress awards went to Sherif Ramzi and Arwa Gouda, respectively; Ramzi dedicated the prize to the names of his late father producer Hassan Ramzi and the late actor Nour Al-Sherif. The best director, best screenplay, editing, sound, music and production awards all went to Lamo’khza (Excuse My French) by Amr Salama.

For his part Darwish said the jury suspended the first short film award due to the poor quality of the selection. The debut short film award went to Laila, and the jury short film award to Al-Bustan (The Orchard). Dina Abdel-Salam was granted the first documentary film award for Alf Rahma wa Nour (A Thousand Blessings), while the jury awards for documentary films went to Rasm Ala Gassad Aari (Drawing on a Naked Body) and Al-Muhareb (The Warrier). Filmmaker Helmi Abdel-Meguid, for his part, received the long documentary award for Heitan (Walls).

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