LAFF honours Chadian director Mahamat-Saleh Haroun 

Daily News Egypt
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The Luxor African Film Festival (LAFF) President and screenwriter, Sayed Fouad, announced LAFF’s decision to honour Chadian director Mahamat-Saleh Haroun, during its eighth edition for his contributions to African cinema “which tackled the issues, dreams and worries of Africa, presenting them to the world, raising the status of African cinema internationally.”

Fouad said that this edition will be held under the slogan of ‘Cinema … Many Lives to Live’.

Haroun in the very first film director from Chad, and he is considered to be one of the greatest African filmmakers of all time. He started working as a journalist in France in 1982 after finishing his studies in film and journalism. Since the beginning of his film career in 1991, his short films revealed a great talent.

His feature debut Bye Bye Africa (1999), which was the first feature film to ever be produced in Chad, won the best first feature film award at Venice. His third feature Dry Season (2006) won the Grand Special Jury Prize in Venice. A Screaming Man (2010) which is an autobiography, won the Jury Prize in Cannes, making Haroun the first Chadian director not only to be selected, but also to win an award in the main Cannes competition. He was also a member of the jury for the competition in Cannes in 2011. He was recently the minister of culture of Chad until he resigned from the position.

The Festival Director, Azza El Husseiny, has also announced the decision to honour the Tunisian producer Dorra Bouchoucha for her contribution in creating a Tunisian new wave through her works, ideas, and activities within the field, as well as the script development which she supervises.

Dora Bouchoucha is a prominent awarded Tunisian producer. After getting her degree in English literature from the French Sorbonne, she started her career as a film producer in 1994, working on Tunisian and foreign films that were often selected in major festivals like Venice, Cannes, and Berlin.

Among those films are Sabria by Abderrahmen Sissako, Season of Men by Moufida Tlatli, Baraket by Jamila Sahraoui and Satin Rouge by Raja Amari. Bouchoucha also created a workshop associated with Carthage Film Festival (JCC) in 1992 and the script development workshop Sud Ecriture in 1997. She has also served for more than 10 years at CineMart of International Film Festival Rotterdam, as a consultant at Venice Film Festival for Arab and African films (2007-2011), and the director of the JCC (2008-2010 and 2014).

The festival is also honouring the Burkinabé director Fanta Régina Nacro, celebrating the role of African women in the film industry. Régina received a degree in audio-visual science and techniques from institut africain d’éducation cinématographique (INAFEC) in 1986, then a Master’s degree in film and audio-visual studies from the Sorbonne, as well as a PhD in education. Nacro was the first woman to work as an assistant director to Idrissa Ouedraogo during the shooting of The Choice. As a director, her short film Un Certain Matin (1992) was awarded The Silver Tanit at the JCC. Nacro then produced a number of short films, often taking a humorous perspective on the traditions of her country and the complexity of relations between traditions and modernity. Her film Buchi that was produced within a series of films titled Mother Africa to acknowledge women’s contribution in society, won over 20 prizes in various international film festivals including FESPACO. In 2004, she wrote and directed La Nuit de la Verité, her feature debut.

The 8th edition will be named after the great Burkinabè director, Idrissa Ouédraogo.

Idrissa Ouédraogo who passed away on 18 February 2018 has directed 21 films varying between short and long feature films, and are considered to be some of the greatest works of cinema to come from Sub-Saharan Africa. His works have dealt with themes of clash between rural and urban life, tradition and modernity in his home country of Burkina Faso, as well as other countries in Africa. His most notable film Tilaï (The Law), which was awarded the Grand Prix at Cannes Film Festival in 1990, and Samba Traoré, which was nominated for the Golden Bear in 1993 at the 43rd edition of the Berlin Film Festival.

The LAFF has revealed the names of the Egyptian stars who will be payed tribute to, one of them is the famous actress Lebleba for her long and rich career in cinema.

Lebleba happens to be one of the stars with the highest number of contributions to the Egyptian cinema with over 86 works under her belt, and winning various awards for them throughout her career, four of which for her role in Devil’s Paradise by Osama Fawzy, along other awards for her roles in Against the Government and Hot Night by Atef Al Tayeb, as well as Youssef Chahine’s The Other and Alexandria, New York. She also acted as a jury member in 16 different Arab and international festivals.

The actress commented on her tribute saying, “the honouring means a lot to me, suffice to feel the appreciation for my long career which I started at the age of five, and have not stirred away from, for even a moment. This tribute means a lot to me, to be honoured by my home country, at the most beautiful place of my country, it’s a major honour and I thank the LAFF for it.”

Lebleba concluded by saying “the concept of the festival is amazing and very beneficial to us, it is the only festival which gives us the chance to see the works of African cinema that we never get to see at the theatres, and the location itself is full of positive energy and amazing audience.”

Fouad added, as from the younger generation of artists, the festival will pay tribute to the young star Asser Yassin, who is considered one of the most influential stars of this generation, with a film career of over 20 different titles, between short and long feature films with a number of the greatest Egyptian directors.

His films tackled important issues, such as Messages of the Sea, Walls of the Moon, The Promise, The Island, Yacobian Building, The Aquarium and Diamond Dust.

As for Asser Yassin, he said “when I had the honour of being a member of the long narrative film jury during the festival’s previous edition, I witnessed the importance of the festival, and its influence as a major event where filmmakers from Africa meet, and it attracts the most important African films, as well as young African filmmakers, which makes it one of the most renowned festivals in the continent.”

“My tribute is a very pleasant surprise to me, we have grown accustomed to tributes after a relatively long career, but the LAFF’s vision that tributes should be paid to excellence of all generations, and not just about one’s career duration or the number of titles, and that alone made me confident about accepting this honour and be very welcoming of it,” he added.

The LAFF is held and organised by the Independent Shabab Foundation with the support and sponsorship of the ministries of culture and tourism, in cooperation with the ministry of foreign affairs, the governorate of Luxor, the Cinematic Professions Syndicate, and the media sponsor, DMC TV Network.

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