CAIRO - 15 October 2021: In the heart of the magical resort town of El Gouna, El Gouna Film Festival officially raised the curtains on its 5th edition in a glamorous opening ceremony.
Gracing the 5th edition of GFF’s red carpet was a horde of Egyptian, regional, and international stars and starlets, filmmakers, and an assortment of industry professionals, who were dressed to the nines in arrays of colorful fabrics and lovely silhouettes.
Among these stars were Egyptian GFF jury members actresses Arwa Gouda and Menna Shalaby in addition to, superstar Youssra, Asser Yassin, Ola Roshdy, Ahmed Dawood, Mona Zaki, Asmaa Galal, Laila Eloui, Naglaa Badr, Sherif Mounir, Ahmed Hatem, Hend Sabri, Karim Kassem, Mohamed Farag, and Passant Shawky, in addition to GFF’s Career Achievement Award recipient Ahmed Elsakka.
Also GFF’s red carpet presence included; FIPRESCI jury member
Helen Barlow, Egyptian film critic Tarek El Shinnawi, salient stars Ashraf Abdelbaky, Ashraf Zaki, Rogena, Lebleba, Saba Mubarak, Hana Shiha, Laila Eloui, Elham Shahine, Hesham Maged, Akram Hosny, Dalia El Beheiry, Jamal Sulaiman, Ahmed Rizk, Sarrah Abdelrahman, Hadia Ghaleb, Lamees El Hadidy, Inas El Deghidy, Dina El Sherbiy, USA Ambassador Jonathan R. Cohen, and Egyptian actor Akram Hosny, who mentioned his thrill regarding the 5th edition of GFF.
“In terms of film festivals”, he said. “El Gouna Film Festival is like a child whose birth we all witnessed just as we witnessed its growth into what it is now.”
Egyptian actress Dalia El Beheiry also mentioned her excitement regarding GFF and its parti-colored lineup this year. “I’m incredibly curious about several films, but I mostly want to see Amira by Mohamed Diab,” says the actress.
Following the red carpet, GFF’s opening ceremony began with an introduction by TV personality Nardine Farag and a short documentary film about the past four editions of GFF as well as its most memorable events, special international guests, and milestones were presented.
Shortly afterward, Red Sea Governor, Major General Amr Hanafy, took to the stage and gave a speech about the power that the medium of art holds over humanity and how it moves our emotions.
Additionally, he extended his gratitude to the efforts of the Egyptian government and
the workers who extinguished the fire that occurred a day before GFF’s opening.
He also expressed his firm belief in the soft power of cinema, stressing its key role as an element that paves the way for change and brings people together.
Additionally, Engineer Samih Sawiris,Founder of El Gouna, along with superstar Youssra, member of GFF’s International Advisory Board, gave a joint speech about the ambitions that GFF holds.
Sawiris also discussed his insistence on holding a music festival soon.
He said: “Every edition of GFF is harder than the one that came before it, as we constantly seek what rejuvenates the core of our festival and makes it more special.” Eng. Samih also thanked the Ministry of Health and Population for supporting GFF during its 4th edition –an experience that international film festivals took as an example. He also commended the Red Sea Governorate, which was an essential factor of GFF’s success.
Presented by Egyptian actor Sayed Ragab and his sentimental narration, the next segment of GFF’s opening ceremony presented a video tribute in remembrance of the works of stars and filmmakers who passed earlier this year, such as Samir Ghanem, Dalal Abdel Aziz, Wahid Hamed, Ezzat El Alaili, Ramses Marzouk, Moufida Tlatli, and Jean- Paul Belmondo.
In a speech following this, Festival Director Intishal Al Tamimi said: “We are proud of what GFF has achieved in its previous editions. Also, we’re proud of our position and as Engineer Samih Sawiris said, the next edition of GFF will be harder because we always seek challenges to provide a different GFF edition.”
After Al Tamimi’s speech, a video showcasing the most important films in GFF’s competitive sections in its 5th edition was presented. He then began introducing the juries for El Gouna
Film Festival’s 5th edition, as the members of these juries, starting with the members of El Gouna Green Star Award’s jury, followed by the juries of GFF’s Short Film Competition, Feature Documentary Competition, and the Feature Narrative Competition.
Festival Director, Inthishal Al Tamimi
welcomed GFF’s jury members on
The 5th edition’s jury names
are as follows: El Gouna Green Star Award: Arwa Gouda (Egypt), Kayvan Mashayekh (USA), Rana Najjar (Jordan); Feature Narrative Competition: Rob Allyn (United
States), Kabir Khan (India), Menna Shalaby (Egypt), Sara Hoch (Mexico), Georges Hachem (Lebanon); Feature Documentary Competition: Martha Sosa (Mexico), Jay Jeon (South Korea), Kim A. Snyder (USA), Mahmoud Al Massaad (Jordan), May Odeh (Palestine); Short Film Competition: Kamla Abou Zekry (Egypt), Tamer Ashry (Egypt), Alice Kharoubi (France), Nadia Kounda (Morocco), E. Nina Rothe (Italy).
This was followed by a collective memorial photo of the 5th edition’s jury members on stage together with Al Tamimi, Amir Ramses, Artistic Director, and Bushra Rozza, Co-Founder and Chief Operations and Foreign Relations Officer.
Following this, film star Hend Sabri introduced GFF’s Career Achievement Award, which was presented to Egyptian actor Ahmed El Saka, who went on stage and received the award.
In introducing El Saka, Hend Sabri said: “He constantly pushes the walls of the cinematic industry to include us all without fail.”
As he gave his speech, Ahmed El Saka dedicated his award to late Samir Ghanem, Dalal Abdel Aziz, Onsi Sawiris, his father, Egypt’s late pioneer of the Puppet Theatre, Salah El
We constantly seek what rejuvenates the core of our festival and makes it more special.
Eng. Samih Sawiris
Saka, his mother Nadia El Sorougy, as well as his wife Maha Al Sagheer and his colleagues.
In this regard, he said: “In the late 1990s, Egyptian cinema came back to life with films such as An Upper Egyptian at the American University, which was an innovation. I’m proud I was a part of that stage.”
Under the guise of commemorating the great Egyptian actor Samir Ghanem, who had dearly departed
on May 20, 2021, renowned actress Lebleba gave a speech about the late cinematic icon, which was followed by a video celebrating his long, illustrious artistic career accompanied by contemporary choreography performance.
At the end of the opening ceremony, Egyptian artist Mohamed Ramadan took to the stage to present the
last segment, which was a live performance that featured actress Mais Hemdan.