A starry night at the 40th Cairo Film Festival

The festival is the longest-running film event of its kind in the Middle East and Northern Africa. (Reuters)
Updated 24 November 2018
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A starry night at the 40th Cairo Film Festival

CAIRO: The stars of Arab cinema walked the red carpet at the opening of the 40th Cairo International Film Festival on Tuesday night and there were plenty of glittering gowns on show.
Orchestrated by Egyptian producer Mohamed Hefzy, who at just 43-years-old is said to be the youngest president the festival has seen, the Cairo Opera House-based event was attended by stars from across the Middle East and North Africa.
Set to run from Nov. 20-29, the festival opened with the regional premiere of Peter Farrelly-directed comedy drama “Green Book,” starring US actors Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali.
The festival will include 16 world premieres and screenings of 160 films from 60 countries.
Meanwhile, on the red carpet, Egyptian actress Nelly Karim and Tunisian star Dorra Zarrouk looked glamorous as they posed for photographs on Tuesday night.
Karim wore a black leather dress by designer Mohanad Kojak, while Zarrouk wowed onlookers with an opulent design by Lebanese couturier Zuhair Murad. The black ballgown was embroidered with golden flowers and leaves and also featured a daring high split.

Egyptian actress Nelly Karim wore a leather dress on stage. (AFP)

Seven Egyptian films will be screened during the festival, including “Leil Khargi” (External Night) — a film that will compete for the coveted Golden Pyramid Award.
The other Egyptian films on the itinerary are “Garemet Al-Immobilia, “Ward Masmom” (Poisonous Roses), “Kilo 64” and “La Ahad Honak” (The Giraffe).
Other films set to be screened at the festival include “Heaven Without People,” a provocative film that is the debut feature-length work of director Lucien Bourjeily; “Laaziza,” in which Moroccan writer-director Mohcine Besri tells the moving story of Laaziza, a troubled mother who is faced with the difficulty of welcoming back a man who once rejected her and “Fatwa,” which explores radicalization and its horrors.

Egyptian actress Sherine Reda took to the stage. (AFP)

The festival’s jury committee is headed by prominent Danish film director Bille August, who has received the Cannes Film Festival’s Palm d’Or award twice.
The festival has also added a People’s Choice Award for the first time in its history, with the prize money amounting to $20,000 for the film that gets a majority vote from the audience. A new award entitled “Best Arab Film,” with prize money of $15,000, has been added to this year’s festival as well, according to Al-Ahram newspaper.
Signs of a revamp in the festival include the attendance of executives from such international powerhouses as HBO, Netflix, France’s Gaumont, Participant Media and Middle Eastern players OSN, Front Row Distribution, New Century Productions and Aroma Studios.


Emirati comedy 'Rashid & Rajab’ strikes a deal at Cannes

Updated 19 May 2019
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Emirati comedy 'Rashid & Rajab’ strikes a deal at Cannes

  • The film will be released during Eid Al-Fitr in the GCC
  • Mohammed Saeed also directed the animated series Freej

DUBAI: Image Nation Abu Dhabi’s upcoming film “Rashid & Rajab” has been acquired by international sales agent AGC International at the Cannes Film Festival, it was announced on Sunday.

The Emirati comedy will now become available worldwide, following the release of the film across the GCC over the Eid Al-Fitr break.

Shot on location in Dubai, it is Emirati director Mohammed Saeed’s first live-action feature film after his success with the now iconic animated series, Freej.

The comedy follows wealthy Emirati executive Rashid (Marwan Abdullah Saleh) and carefree Egyptian fast-food deliveryman Rajab (Shadi Alfons), who switch bodies after a freak accident on their way to work. As they desperately look for a way to revert to their former selves, the unlikely pair gain a different perspective into each other’s lives.