Cairo Film Festival’s art director resigns amid controversy

Cairo Film Festival’s art director resigns amid controversy
The advisory board of the event said it has accepted his resignation as its art director without elaborating on the reasons. (AFP)
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Updated 11 June 2020

Cairo Film Festival’s art director resigns amid controversy

Cairo Film Festival’s art director resigns amid controversy
  • Shawky’s resignation comes after a wave of anger erupted on social media against his appointment

CAIRO: An Egyptian movie critic has resigned from a role in Egypt’s oldest film festival due to criticism about “inflammatory” social media posts. 
Ahmed Shawky’s resignation comes after a wave of anger erupted on social media against his appointment as artistic director of this year’s Cairo International Film Festival, scheduled to take place in November. 
The advisory board of the event said it has accepted his resignation as its art director without elaborating on the reasons. 
But Shawky has come under increasing criticism from activists and others who pointed to past comments made by him.  
Among the most controversial posts that Shawky faced criticism over were his comments on the death of dozens of Egyptian football fans in a notorious riot, in which he used the term “culled.”
Seventy Ahly fans and a policeman were killed in the 2012 tragedy, the bloodiest event in Egypt’s football history.
Shawky’s resignation comes after activists threatened to write to foreign filmmakers invited to the festival to inform them of his history.
Following the recent backlash on social media, Shawky apologized this week, saying that he used “hurtful words” that were “painful to the families of the dead.”
He has since shut down his social media accounts.
Shawky was also sharply critical of Syrian filmmakers documenting the country’s civil war, accusing them of taking advantage of the suffering to gain Oscar nominations.

(with AP)