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CAIRO 2019

The 41st Cairo International Film Festival kicks off

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- With a programme comprising 150 movies, including 18 world premieres, the most prestigious and oldest film event in the Middle East starts its nine-day run on 20 November

The 41st Cairo International Film Festival kicks off
Between Heaven and Earth by Najwa Najjar

The Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF), which is celebrating reaching its 41st edition this year, will open with a screening of Martin Scorsese’s highly anticipated new film The Irishman. The US director’s 219-minute oeuvre, starring Al Pacino and Robert de Niro, will have its Middle Eastern premiere in Egypt, prior to its 22 November release on Netflix.

The CIFF is one of the last “category A” events of the season, and as such, it nicely rounds off the 2019 clutch of such festivals, presenting 150 films from 63 countries. The programme offers 18 world and 17 international premieres, as well as screenings of many festival darlings, such as Little Joe [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Jessica Hausner
film profile
]
by Jessica Hausner, About Endlessness [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Roy Andersson
film profile
]
by Roy Andersson, The Lighthouse by Robert Eggers and Monos [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
by Alejandro Landes, among others.

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The International Competition features 15 titles, including eight European productions or co-productions. The contenders are A Certain Kind of Silence [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Michal Hogenauer
film profile
]
by Michal Hogenauer (Czech Republic/Netherlands/Latvia), All This Victory [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
by Ahmad Ghossein (Lebanon/France), Between Heaven and Earth [+see also:
film review
film profile
]
by Najwa Najjar (Palestine/Iceland/Luxemburg), Ghost Tropic [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Bas Devos
film profile
]
by Bas Devos (Belgium), I Am No Longer Here by Fernando Frias de la Parra (Mexico/USA), Let’s Talk by Marianne Khoury (Egypt), Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom by Pawo Choyning Dorji (Bhutan), Mindanao by Brillante Mendoza (Philippines), Nova Lituania [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Karolis Kaupinis
film profile
]
by Karolis Kaupinis (Lithuania), Sons of Denmark [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Elliott Crosset Hove
interview: Ulaa Salim
film profile
]
by Ulaa Salim (Denmark), The Border by David David (Colombia), The Fourth Wall by Zhang Chong and Zhang Bo (China), The Friendly Man by Ibre Carvalho (Brazil), Wet Season by Anthony Chen (Singapore/Taiwan) and Zavera [+see also:
interview: Andrei Gruzsniczki
film profile
]
by Andrei Gruzsniczki (Romania). Between Heaven and Earth, The Border and Zavera will have their world premieres at Cairo.

The International Competition has no fewer than seven awards up for grabs: the Golden Pyramid for Best Film, the Silver Pyramid (Special Jury Award) for Best Director, the Bronze Pyramid for Best First or Second Work by a Director, and the Naguib Mahfouz Prize for Best Screenplay, plus gongs for Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Artistic Contribution. These distinctions will be decided on and presented by an impressive international jury that comprises American writer-director Stephen Gaghan, Belgian producer-director Marion Hänsel, Mexican director-producer Michel Franco, Italian director Daniel Luchetti, Egyptian writer Ibrahim Abdel Meguid and Chinese actress Qin Hailu.

Movies will also be locking horns in three other contests: the Horizons of Arab Cinema Competition, the Critics’ Week Competition and the Cinema of Tomorrow International Competition for short fiction films. Nestled among CIFF’s rich and diverse offering are four other European world premieres: Gasman [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
 by Arne Korner (Germany), Porcelain by Jenneke Boeijink (Netherlands/Italy/Belgium), Yib (Roots) by Ozan Mermer (Mexico/Germany) and Skin Walker by Christian Neuman (Luxembourg/Belgium). Cairo will also be offering accolades to well-established filmmakers: directors Terry Gilliam and Sherif Arafa will pick up the Faten Hamama Honorary Award.

The festival is also holding the second edition of the Cairo Industry Days, which will run between 21 and 26 November. The main event in this strand is the Cairo Film Connection (CFC), a co-production platform for 16 projects covering two genres (fiction features and documentary features) and two different stages of production (in development and in post-production). The jury, made up of screenwriter Mariam Naoum, founder and managing director of Media Luna New Films Ida Martins, and Beholder Entertainment consultant and producer George David, will pick the most promising projects and hand them both cash and in-kind awards. The Cairo Industry Days will also host an EAVE on-demand script development workshop, the Film Independent Creative Production Workshop, the Middle East Media Initiative Summit, Arab Stars of Tomorrow (in partnership with Screen International), as well as many panels and lectures on topics ranging from television production and the role of a creative producer on an independent film to the work of a dialect coach. Attendees will also have a chance to attend master classes led by Terry Gilliam and Gabor Greiner (from sales agency Films Boutique), plus special seminars with Guillermo Arriaga and an extended Q&A with Carlos Reygadas – very aptly, given that Mexico is the CIFF 2019 country in focus.

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