US magazine Variety names CIFF President among influential business leaders shaping global media

Daily News Egypt
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President of the Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF) Mohamed Hefzy

The US magazine, Variety, has included President of the Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF) Mohamed Hefzy on its Variety500 list for 2020.

Variety500 is an annual list of the 500 most influential business leaders of the media and entertainment industry, the magazine said.

The list reflects the accomplishments of its members over the previous 12 months, with the names selected by the Variety editorial board, which conducted extensive research for its selections.

In a challenging year such as 2020, these decisions only become more complicated as the magazine had to take into account difficult marketplace circumstances due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

But certain fundamentals remain in place, such as weighing the balance between what someone has accomplished over the past 12 months with the achievements made prior to that period, the magazine said. Because Variety500 is an annual list, recent career performance is more heavily weighted than previous work, it added.

The individuals chosen for the Variety500 list are the result of months of deliberation by the magazine’s editorial team. Over the course of several meetings scheduled throughout the year, the team refines the list through careful analysis of each person’s merits, based on research and consultation with the industry at large.

In 2018, Hefzy was appointed as CIFF President, becoming the youngest ever to be appointed for the post. He was also selected as a jury member of the Horizons section at the 75th Venice International Film Festival.

He has consistently produced films that receive critical and audience acclaim, such as the 2018 feature film Yomeddine, which had its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival the same year. The film was Egypt’s official submission to the Academy Award for Best Foreign-Language Film.

The film was Hefzy’s third consecutive film to be submitted to the Academy Awards, following on the heels of Clash and Sheikh Jackson.

The film Yomeddine was also the first Egyptian film to participate at the Cannes Film Festival’s official competition after a six year hiatus. This was Hefzy’s second film to screen at the Cannes Film Festival after Clash, which opened the Un Certain Regard section in 2016.

Moreover, Hefzy was on The 100 Most Important Names in the Arab Film Industry list that was featured in the eighth issue of the Arab Cinema Magazine, published by the Arab Cinema Center (ACC).

Hefzy expressed his happiness at receiving the award, saying, “It’s such an honour to be recognised by two great and internationally respected.”

Furthermore, he established himself as one of the Arab world’s most successful screenwriters and producers. Since he started his screenwriting career in 2001, Hefzy was able to become one of the most important names in the film industry in Egypt and the Arab world. It all started when he wrote a number of films which became classics.

Through his fully-fledged production house Film Clinic, he produced some critically-acclaimed box-office hits. Hefzy also plays a key role in the filmmaking industry through his participation both as a member and as a director, in many Egyptian film organisations. He also represents the Arab film industry at international film events.

In 2017, the ACC and The Hollywood Reporter presented the Arab Cinema Personality of The Year award to the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) CHairperson Abdel Hamid Juma, and the festival’s artistic director Masoud Amralla. The award is part of its strategy of promoting the Arab film industry internationally and supporting Arab filmmakers.

Among the Variety500 members this year is Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. He is one of the few corporate titans who actually benefited from the pandemic, as it compelled more consumers to rely on Amazon to fulfil their shopping and film viewing needs, such as a surprise sequel to Sacha Baron Cohen comedy “Borat” released in October.

But it was not all good news for his online retailing empire. Worker safety issues at Amazon warehouses led to lawsuits and strikes, which in turn led to bad press, exacerbated by pandemic-driven shortages and delivery slowdowns.

But Bezos retained his status as the world’s richest person, with an estimated net worth of $113bn, despite losing 25% of his Amazon stock in his $38bn divorce settlement with ex-wife, Mackenzie, last year. He is also owner of The Washington Post and Blue Origin, a company dedicated to sustainable human space exploration.

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