CAIRO: Judges at El Sawy’s second film festival had some tough decisions to make before presenting the awards at the closing ceremony on June 18 at El Sawy’s Hakma Hall.
Islam Azazi, director of “Et Hakim Fe Enak or (“Dominate your Eyes ), won the best movie award for long documentary films, bringing with it LE 3,000 and the festival’s golden statue. The second award, accompanied by LE 1,500 and the festival’s silver statue, went to Nabiha Lutfi, director of “Baqayia men Zaman Mohamed Ali or (“The remaining from Mohamed Ali’s age ). In the short documentary films category, the best movie award went to Iraqi director Faiq Ahmed for the movie “Ragu’l wa Qubab (“A Man and Domes ). The judging committee award, LE 1,500 and the festival’s silver statue went to “El Qafas (“The Cage ) directed by Mohamed Makhlouf.
The 45-minute film “Dominate your Eyes is a cultural project by the Goethe German Cultural Center in Egypt under the name “Sketches of Germany. The movie was filmed in Berlin, centering on people who have come from different places all over the world to live in Berlin. It mainly poses the question of what makes the city of Berlin so special in comparison to different cities around the world.
According to Azazi, he went to Berlin with no idea in mind, and was asked to work freely with no restrictions whatsoever. “When I went to Berlin I only knew one Egyptian pianist who lives there, says Azazi. “[The pianist] referred me to other foreigners to talk to and they referred me to others and so forth. When The Daily Star Egypt asked Azazi if he had anticipated winning, he said, “From experience, I have learned to work hard and to stop predicting.
For the judging committee, choosing the winners among 50 documentary films was not an easy job. Mohamed Kamel El Qaliouby, head of the committee, tells to The Daily Star Egypt that the competition was tough and it was not easy to agree on the winners. “I leave some room for democracy, said El Qaliouby, “but after 30 years of judging in film festivals, I have learned to be a dictator and impose my opinion so we can reach a solution.
Salah Marei, a judging committee member, explained that there are certain criteria that he looks for in a movie; one of these criteria is how genuine and involved the director is with his idea. Marei stresses the importance of the time factor, as some directors cram many shots into very little time and vice versa. “In one movie, the director filmed his entire arrival and departure journey in a car when it is irrelevant to the story, says Marei.
Marei adds that the judging in festivals is “subjective. “Each committee member has his own views and background, says Marei, “and if the same committee members were to judge the same films again, our choices of the winners might differ due to the different time and circumstances.
Karim Gamal El Din, a judging committee member, had a different view from his fellow members. For him, a good movie is one that gets him involved and makes him forget about the light, the sound and all the camera techniques.
“Laziness is the thing that Gamal El Din despises the most. “Before the footage, some directors do not spend enough time with their interviewees to break the ice, and that shows on camera.