CAIRO: “Not a single Egyptian movie is entering the Cairo International Film Festival [CIFF] this year, the only film which has applied was withdrawn, said President of the CIIFF, Ezzat Abou Ouf during a press conference.
“This is a phenomenon which has to be examined.I don’t understand what the Egyptian film [industry’s] problem with the CIFF is, he said.
Abou Ouf refused to give any names of participating movies, but asserted that the door is open for any Egyptian film to participate up until three or four days before the festival starts.
There have been speculations regarding Omar Sharif’s “Al-Mosafer (The Traveler) and why it is not taking part.
“Why did ‘Al Mosafer’ go to the Venice International Film Festival not the [CIFF] . there are reasons I don’t know. In a meeting with the Minister of Culture I asked him and he said that ‘the film went [to Venice] without our knowledge,’ he said.
Incidentally “Al-Mosafer is the first film to be produced by the Egyptian Ministry of Culture in 30 years.
Abou Ouf added that they are hoping that filmmaker Magdy Ahmed Ali, who is now in the US, would have his new movie “Asafeer El Nil participate in the festival.
India is going to be the guest of honor at the Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF) where the stars of “Slumdog Millionaire, winner of the Best Movie award at the 2009 Oscars, will be honored, said Abou Ouf.
He also announced that the late Egyptian filmmaker Shadi Abdel Salam will be honored in this year’s installment of the festival.
“The reason we chose India as this year’s guest of honor is because the movie was entirely comprised of an Indian crew and scriptwriter, even though it is a British production and it has won eight Academy Awards, said Abou Ouf.
Algerian cinema will also be honored.
One-hundred and fifty films from 67 different countries out of 610 applicants, will participate at the CIFF this year.
“Eight of the participating films were nominated for an Academy Award for best foreign movie, said Abou Ouf.
Abou Ouf refused to disclose the names of Hollywood stars slated to attend the festival.