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Star Attraction.

By: Anji Essam and Nour Eltigani ll eyes were on EgyptAaAaAeA{Es Red Sea la month as the red car- pet was rolled out for the El Gouna Film Festival. The star- studded first edition of the festival brought together a host of Egyptian and international celebrities under the slogan AaAaAeA{AaAaAeA Ci for Humanity.AaAaAeA{EAaAaAeA{E American actors Dylan McDermott, Michael Madsen French actress Emmanuelle B1/2AaAaAeAuart attended the event, which opened wi an honorary tribute to legendary comedian Adel Imam as he was presented with a Career Achievement Award. The festival is co-founded by business tycoon brothers Samih and Naguib Sawiris, who are confident the event sends a message to regional and international artists that El Gouna is safe and that the festival will honor cinema and talents around the globe. AaAaAeA{AaAaAeA I have always been a movie lover and this is the reason why I founded this festival. I am honored to have worked with everyone on this experience and I look forward to a very successful first edi- tion, which will help energize us to host the festival annually,AaAaAeA{ said- Naguib Sawiris. Egyptian movie star and the co-founder of Gouna Film Festival Bushra Rozza added, AaAaAeA{AaAaAeA WeAaAaAeA{Eve been working with 55 sion to live up to the expectations for a film festival that was born to compete with other established international film festivals from day one.AaAaAeA{EAaAaAeA{E The chosen message of peace appealed to the internati ce- lebrities attending, including well-known American actor Michael Madsen. AaAaAeA{AaAaAeA Things going on in the world nowadays, a lot of them good; the film festival is an opportunity for anybody to get together to celebrate the cinema I love the most,AaAaAeA{EAaAaAeA{E said Madsen, admit that he had been warned it wasnAaAaAeA{Et safe to fly to Egypt, but that felt safe in El Gouna. AaAaAeA{AaAaAeA Movies are an interesting way to reach immorta and a perfect messenger to promote mutual understanding and hence, El Gouna Film FestivalAaAaAeA{Es slogan; AaAaAeA{[ETH]Cinema For HumanityAaAaAeA{E,AaAaAeA{EAaAa added. AaAaAeA{AaAaAeA The El Gouna Film Festival pays special attention to pro rel- evant tools and networking opportunities to young filmmaking tal- ents in the MENA region through its unique support platform Cine- Gouna, and we take the workshops and panels very seriously as our main role through this important initiative,AaAaAeA{AaAaAeAo El Gouna Film Festival (GFF) Dire Intishal Al Tamimi explained. Superstar Imam expressed a similar sentiment as he got up to receive the award. AaAaAeA{AaAaAeA A nation without art is a na without con- science,AaAaAeA{EAaAaAeA{E he announced, commending the choice of festival location. Also honored was Lebanese critic Ibrahim Al-Ariss who agreed, AaAaAeA{AaAaAeA El Gouna is one of the worldAaAaAeA{Es most attractive for tourism and a great place to hold a film festival.AaAaAeA{EAaAaAeA{E At the of the opening ceremony, the festival screened the local premier of Egyptian film Sheikh Jackson, directed by Amr Sal- ama and starring Ahmed el Fishawy, Ahmed Malek, Amina Khalil, Dorra and Yasmine Raees. The movie celebrated its international premier days ago during the Toronto International Film Festival, where it received excellent reviews. Sun, Sand, Sea . . . and Culture Serving as a cultural bridge between Egyptian and international filmmakers, the GFFAaAaAeA{Es workshops broug together participants and mentors to voice regional art and humanitarian stories on the international level, as well as bring about partnerships targeting AaAaAeA{AaAaAeA cinema for humanity,AaAaAeA{AaAaAeAo which was the motto of the f AaAaAeA{AaAaAeA Most grants target production and directors, primarily. We do tackle the step before that, scriptwriting, so that needs more attention in the Arab world, not just Egypt,AaAaAeA{AaAaAeAo Haitham Dabbour, a scriptwr whose film Photocopy is competing in GFF, told Egypt Today. Helming one of the scriptwriting workshops were U.S. screen- writers Jeff Stockwell and Richard Tanne where, Dabbour says, con- versations discussing his script in the workshop were dynamic, as Stockwell and Tanne played the roles of authors and producers to pinpoint certain details from all perspectives possible. AaAaAeA{AaAaAeA [The participants] are so talented; it unbelievable. They have such clear visions of the stories that theyAaAaAeA{E telling; itAaAaAeA{Es coming from such an authentic, deep place inside the I think theyAaAaAeA{Ere filled with so much hope and positivity, and I thi theyAaAaAeA{Ere really, really great representatives of your country and othe areas in the Middle East,AaAaAeA{AaAaAeAo said Tanne, an award-winning scriptwr whose Southside With You premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. As a teen, Tanne nabbed the New Jersey GovernorAaAaAeA{Es Awards for Excellen in Arts Education. His feature film Southside, With You was nominated for several awards, including the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance Film Festival, Bingham Ray Breakthrough Director Award and Audience Award at Gotham Awards, and the Golden Space Needle Award at Seattle International Film Festival, taking home the Audience Award at Maui Film Festival in 2016. Cannes of the Middle East Amr Mansy, the CEO of GFF, now expects El Gouna to boom as a global tourist destination and that many more hotels will be built in the Red Sea; all hotels are already fully booked in the first year of the festival, according to Mansy. AaAaAeA{AaAaAeA El Goun a self-sufficient town that also has beaches and beautiful nature that can attract any tourist,AaAaAeA{AaAaAeAo Mansy told Egypt Today. To Dabbour, El G could easily draw attention for both the GFF and its tourist services, much like Cannes is most known for its film festival. AaAaAeA{AaAaAeA It is a s idea to [utilize] a nice place you have to create a new festival, because we needed a strong one AaAaAeA{- El Gouna is quali- fied to be a celebrato city for cinema,AaAaAeA{AaAaAeAo Dabbour said. To be like Cannes Film Festival, howe takes many years, Stockwell emphasized, while Tanne maintained the opening of the festival AaAaAeA{AaAaAeA was a very good start, and in your f year youAaAaAeA{Ere already attracting Forest Whitaker, youAaAaAeA{Ere attrac Dylan McDermott, youAaAaAeA{Ere attracting other international actors a filmmakers.AaAaAeA{AaAaAeAo AaAaAeA{AaAaAeA That, actually, may be the key. At the cor Egypt, but then making sure that itAaAaAeA{Es a global enterprise thatAaAa bringing in people from all over the world in addition to showing movies; that becomes a cultural exchange between people like us [as] we get to sit down and have a conversation [while] teaching a workshop,AaAaAeA{ he continued. Mansy has high hopes for next year, as Euronews is sponsoring the event and several international media outlets are covering it. AaAaAeA{AaAaAeA Dylan McDermott told us heAaAaAeA{Es calling his friends who were tant to come this year, same thing with Michael Madsen and we also have Oliver Stone; all of them will go back home and talk [about the festival],AaAaAeA{AaAaAeAo he said. Mansy added he is particularly happy with workshops and the CineGouna Platform, anticipating requests from international film- makers to shoot in Egypt. International attention might also help put Egyptian movies back on the map. Stockwell, who produced feature credits such as The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys starring Jodie foster and DisneyAaAaAeA{Es Bridge to Terabithia, admitted that though he has watch Egyptian comedy and recognizes it is appreciated across the Middle East, he said he could not name an Egyptian movie or director. Stockwell also wrote the script for Wilder Days, a drama film which was nomi- nated for a WGA Award for Best Original Long Form TV in 2004. He has also written multiple other scripts, including the films A Wrinkle in Tome, Our Wild Life, and The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tu- lane. Since 2004, Stockwell has been a mentor at Screenwiriting Lab and has previously conducted two workshops, one in Oman and the other in Los Angeles, California. AaAaAeA{AaAaAeA I know The Mummy,AaAaAeA{AaAaAeAo quipped Tanne, AaAaAeA{AaAaAeA w even Egyptian; itAaAaAeA{Es depressing to admit, but itAaAaAeA{Es actually on the reasons that itAaAaAeA{Es so exciting to be here is because one of t participants [in the work- shop] is going to be making a list of Egyptian films for us to watch.AaAaAeA{AaAaAeAo Expecting that language would be a barr Stockwell and Tanne were lucky enough to have a translation booth in their classes al- lowing the participants who speak Arabic and French to instantly grasp their thoughts. AaAaAeA{AaAaAeA At first, we were nervous a this because we have so much to share but we were worried that the language would make it difficult to talk about the ideas we want to deliver, but it was proven otherwise,AaAaAeA{AaAaAeAo Stockwell cheered. AaAaAeA{AaAa great because the workshop is a big stew of ideas flying around.AaAaAeA{ Stockwell hopes that, ultimately, people will be able to enjoy films from different countries, AaAaAeA{AaAaAeA because thatAaAaAeA{Es what allows people t nect with each other and with the films regardless of the films cul- ture and setting. And itAaAaAeA{Es an exciting time because itAaAaAeA{Es easier to see each otherAaAaAeA{Es films with streaming and you donAaAaAeA{Et have to until it screens in a specific movie theater. ItAaAaAeA{Es really the que of how we can get people to see each othersAaAaAeA{E films, and El Gouna cou be a lovely platform for promoting that.AaAaAeA{AaAaAeAo Which is why Tanne f GFFAaAaAeA{Es slogan AaAaAeA{AaAaAeA Cinema for HumanityAaAaAeA{AaAaAeAo so apt. AaAaAeA{AaAaAeA Every mov in one way or another to humanity. Cinema is powerful on its own. In the 21st century, itAaAaAeA{Es become the most important provider for image so if you see yourself repre- sented on screen you know people who look like you, that have the same color of skin, that speak the same language that is bringing people together, because the more I could understand your culture from a film perspective, the more I could understand you.AaAaAeA{AaAaAeAo A Safe Haven Security is another major factor in attrac international visi- tors. AaAaAeA{AaAaAeA El Gouna seems very securely locked and not at all what the stereotypes of Egypt are in America,AaAaAeA{AaAaAeAo T said. Stockwell agrees. AaAaAeA{AaAaAeA One big advantage of El Gouna too is sense that it is such a welcoming, easy place for people internationally to come, be- cause the reality is, people from different countries donAaAaAeA{Et know what to expect . . . you will not believe how luxurio and comfortable this is,AaAaAeA{AaAaAeAo he says recalling how, after missing person he was supposed to meet at Hurghada airport, how easy it was to talk to people who told him where to go. AaAaAeA{AaAaAeA [El Gouna] is lov ItAaAaAeA{Es strange to land in El Gouna, I will say, directly, without havi seen any other part of Egypt. ItAaAaAeA{Es almost like IAaAaAeA{Em in a science fic story because this could be anywhere, El Gouna. This is very similar to Palm Springs or places in California where there are resorts and developments, so itAaAaAeA{Es strange. I know weAaAaAeA{Ere in Egypt, I donAaAaAeA{E it yet.AaAaAeA{AaAaAeAo Both Tanne and Stockwell have high hopes for GFF and very excited for what is to come, AaAaAeA{AaAaAeA For being the first year, the ope [was] like no other. No film festival has an opening has an like that! Automatically, IAaAaAeA{Em interested in this festival and already wonderi
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Publication:Egypt Today
Date:Nov 5, 2017
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