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43rd Cairo Int’l Film Festival attracts about 100 films from over 60 countries

From left: Egyptian actors Ilham Chahine, Yosra, Ali Rabi, and Laila Elwi pose during the opening ceremony of the 43rd Cairo International Film Festival in Cairo, Egypt on November 26. Photo: IC

From left: Egyptian actors Ilham Chahine, Yosra, Ali Rabi, and Laila Elwi pose during the opening ceremony of the 43rd Cairo International Film Festival in Cairo, Egypt on November 26. Photo: IC

The 43rd edition of the Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF) opened on Friday evening at Egypt's Cairo Opera House with the participation of about 100 films from over 60 countries. 

Running from Friday to Sunday under the auspices of the Egyptian Ministry of Culture, the 43rd CIFF saw its opening ceremony attended by Egyptian Minister of Culture Inas Abdel-Dayem.

CIFF President Mohamed Hefzy said the festival is hosting more films at this event than 2020's as coronavirus-related restrictions have eased given the success of Egypt's precautionary measures and the administration of vaccines.

"We are determined to restore normal life. Cinemas have started to operate at full capacity... and festivals around the world have started to be held not virtually this year," Hefzy told the Xinhua News Agency on the red carpet.

"This year, we didn't only increase the number of films but the number of guests is much higher and we have more activities and very distinguished films," he said.

After a big red carpet ceremony at the yard of Cairo Opera House, which gathered Egyptian and foreign filmmakers, producers, artists and critics, Spanish-Argentine fiction film Competencia Oficial (Official Competition) was screened as the opening film of the festival.

The festival has four main competitions, the top of which is the International Competition for feature fiction and documentary films in which 13 works are contesting, including Egypt's Abu Saddam, France's Softie, Argentina's Seven Dogs and Tunisia's Tomorrow.

Egyptian veteran film star Hussein Fahmy, who once had been the president of CIFF for four years, said CIFF is a category A international festival and one of the few important film festivals in the world.

"It has a great value and a very distinguished status in the Arab world. It constantly revitalizes itself because it features very good films and selects very distinguished juries," the Egyptian actor told Xinhua.

As for the International Short Film Competition, it features 22 films including It's Nothing Nagy and Just Hang up! from Egypt, Poem for a Distant Village from China, Prairie Flowers from Mexico, Skin River from Portugal and Happy Town from Colombia.

Among the guests at the opening ceremony was Lebanese film producer and distributor Mario Junior Haddad, whose family has been running a film production company for over 100 years and owns theaters in Lebanon, Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

"The Cairo festival is one of the most important in the Middle East, and Egypt has always been the pillar of film production in the Arab world," the Lebanese producer told Xinhua, adding that holding the festival despite COVID-19 and the difficult conditions the Arab world is going through is "an important accomplishment."

Launched in 1976 and recognized by the International Federation of Film Producers Associations, CIFF is the oldest annual film festival in the Arab world, Africa and the Middle East.  


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