China is the festival’s guest of honor this year, providing over 25 movies to be screened during the 10-day-event.
A special section in the festival is dedicated to Arabs in international cinema and features seven films. Another, featuring 11 films, is dedicated to Arab cinema with a focus on the Lebanese industry – “Ghair Salih (Underexposure) will be featured under this section, and is the first Iraqi film to be shot in Baghdad after the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime in 2003.
The opening, held at the Cairo Opera House, attracted many prominent Egyptian celebrities, whose attendance has become a staple of the celebration – last year, many were under attack for favoring the Dubai International Film Festival or the International Film Festival of Marrakech over the Cairo-based event.
This year, with better coordination between the three festivals, no overlaps occurred.
The Chinese production “Shi Mian Mai Fu (House of Flying Daggers) was featured at the opening, although a considerable number of attendees left in the break preceding the screening.
This year’s festival pays tribute to eight Egyptian and international artists,including French actress Leslie Caron and American actor Morgan Freeman. On the local side, Gamil Rateb, Lubna Abdel Aziz, scriptwriter Wahid Hamed and the late Ahmed Zaki are honored.
The Tributes section is not the only one of the festival that will feature Ahmed Zaki’s films.The section entitled Political Leaders on Screen includes two of Zaki’s main contributions: “Nasser ’56 and “Days of Sadat.
In its competition section, the festival will feature 15 films. Only one Egyptian film, “Laylat Suqout Baghdad (The Night Baghdad Fell), is participating in this section – it is director/scriptwriter Mohamed Amin’s second film after Film Sakfi (Cultural Film). Iraq is participating with “Ahlam, an Iraqi-British-Dutch production.
The 15 films will be evaluated by a panel of 10 judges, headed by Chinese director He Ping Egyptian actress Samhia Ayoub and director Yousry Nasrallah are among the jury.
Over 170 films will be shown in the different sections of the festival.Contributing countries include Iran, France, Germany, Italy, India and Turkey.
Good News Cinema, Galaxy, Stars Cinema and Cosmos will offer daily screenings open to the public special screenings – followed by short panel discussions – are offered to journalists and critics in Good News Cinema and different venues at the Cairo Opera House.