The activities of the Cairo International Film Festival, in its 44th session, kicked off on Sunday at the Cairo Opera House, in the presence of a large number of artists and filmmakers.
The ceremony began with a presentation on the late artist Samir Sabry, who passed away last May, as he was considered one of the most prominent supporters of the festival, since its early years in 1976, when he was chosen to present the activities of the first session.
During the ceremony, the festival screened a short film by the most prominent actors and filmmakers who passed away recently, namely: Hisham Selim, Maha Abu Auf, Izzat Abu Auf, and Ali Abdel Khaleq.
The festival’s president, Hussein Fahmy, stressed, during his speech at the opening ceremony, “the importance and value of Egyptian cinema,” and said: “Cinema has the right to have a national festival, so it is a great honor for me to be at the head of the festival this year.” Long decades, due to his association with the old stars.
Hussein Fahmy pointed out his enthusiasm for the restoration of two Egyptian films in the current edition, namely “Diary of a Deputy in the Countryside” and “Song on the Passage.” in the matter of restoration on an annual basis.
Absence of foreign stars
Fahmy told Al-Sharq that the Russian-Ukrainian war caused many guests to apologize for attending the opening ceremony, especially some filmmakers from East Asian countries.
He added, “The makers and stars of Egyptian cinema will make a difference, and are able to compensate for the absence of some foreign artists.”
He pointed out that the festival works hand in hand with the Climate Conference, which is being hosted by the city of Sharm El-Sheikh, saying: “We reduce the consumption of paper and plastic materials, in addition to using electric cars to facilitate the movement of guests.”
For his part, Amir Ramses, director of the Cairo Film Festival, revealed the number of films participating in the 44th session, explaining that “there are 108 films this year, from 53 countries, an increase of 12 works from last year.”
He emphasized that “the festival did not burden the Ministry of Culture with any additional budget, despite the recent rise of the dollar against the Egyptian pound, as we have overcome that crisis without affecting the quality of the existing works.”
The festival management honored 3 filmmakers, most notably the Hungarian director Bella Tarr, by awarding him the Golden Pyramid Award for Lifetime Achievement.
Bella Tao added, during the honoring, that despite the different languages among the audience, the language of cinema contributes to communication between everyone, saying: “The language of cinema makes us understand each other, and this is what I received from you .. Thank you.”
As for the Egyptian actress Nelly Karim, she presented the Faten Hamama Award for Excellence to director Kamela Abu Zekri, as she praised the experience of the latter, with whom she collaborated in several works of art, saying: “Kamla Abu Zekry was able to present novels in a very honest way, so she achieved great public success.” “.
For her part, Kamela Abu Zekry said, “This honor, I consider it an appreciation for my artistic career that began about 17 years ago, because I spent my entire life inside the world of cinema, and I was associated with it since my childhood.” And she continued: “I have a state of gratitude for every actor I dealt with and learned from.” Like Ahmed Zaki and Nour Al-Sharif, all of them gave me a lot of support and appreciation, as well as Muhammad Khan, Atef Al-Tayeb, Radwan Al-Kashef and others.
Hussein Fahmy presented the Golden Pyramid Award for Lifetime Achievement to the artist, Lebleba, stressing that “Lebleba’s artistic career began at the age of 5, and she presented many artistic experiences with great actors, and presented more than 88 films, and she has various roles, and she also won various awards and from the International Film Festival. Several local and international.
Fahmy pointed out that the Egyptian cinema “has many stars who deserve to be honored, and they made arduous efforts during their artistic career,” adding, “Our mission is to make the audience happy, even though we are going through difficult moments in our private lives.”
For her part, Lebleba was keen to thank the Minister of Culture, Nevin Al-Kilani, and Hussein Fahmy, the festival’s president, as well as her fans, saying: “I thank everyone I cooperated with and grew up among.”
Lebleba entered into a fit of crying on the stage, saying: “Always when I was watching the scenes, and every time I regained my mother’s support for me and her appreciation for my efforts, as she predicted to me every time that I would be honored, but that did not happen, and this time I am honored in her absence. Also, my honor comes in conjunction with my birthday celebration, as I was born on November 13th.
A cultural and artistic movement
The Egyptian Minister of Culture, Nevin Al-Kilani, told Al-Sharq, “The ministry provides full support for the festival, due to its high level of excellence, as the schedule of activities includes many workshops and distinguished films, in addition to the restoration of two Egyptian films, with which a large segment of the public was associated.”
She added, “Cinema is one of the soft forces that we are always proud of, especially in light of the cultural and artistic movement that Egypt has witnessed in recent years.”
In turn, the director of the Cairo Film Forum, Linda Belkhiria, told Al-Sharq that “the forum this year received 135 films from several countries, while only the best was chosen, and the most important thing that preoccupied me this year was choosing distinguished works from cinematically marginalized countries, such as Yemen.” And she continued, “The social issue is the most prominent feature that most of the existing films deal with.”
The director of the forum expressed her great happiness for her cooperation with Hussein Fahmy in this session, describing him as a “very professional artist”.
The artist, Mostafa Fahmy, expressed his happiness at the return of his brother Hussein Fahmy to the presidency of the festival again, praising during his speech to “Al Sharq” the schedule of the activities of the 44th session, and the films, workshops and discussion sessions it includes.
As for Nabila Obaid, she saw that Hussein Fahmy presented a distinguished opening ceremony, in the presence of a large number of stars, telling Al-Sharq: “I think he will continue his successes during the coming days of the festival,” pointing to honoring Lebleba in the 44th session, describing it as “ Talented since childhood.
Artist Hani Shaker told Al-Sharq that “the Cairo Film Festival has a long history,” and it is “one of the oldest festivals in the Middle East, and there is a distinguished cinematic program this year,” while Egyptian actor Hani Ramzi said that “the current session expresses stability.” that Egypt is experiencing at the present time.
Moroccan actress Maysa Maghribi said that her presence in “Cairo Film Festival” is an opportunity to learn about everything new in the industry and to see different films, and she added: “This festival is very ancient.”