Intishal al-Tamimi, El Gouna Film Festival's manager, speaks during an interview in El Gouna, Hurghada, Egypt, on Sept. 22, 2018. Egypt's El Gouna Film Festival (GFF) was aimed to underscore the role of film in promoting cultural interaction, the GFF's manager Intishal al-Tamimi told Xinhua. (Xinhua/Ahmed Gomaa)
by Ahmed Shafiq
HURGHADA, Egypt, Sept. 25 (Xinhua) -- Egypt's El Gouna Film Festival (GFF) was aimed to underscore the role of film in promoting cultural interaction, the GFF's manager Intishal al-Tamimi told Xinhua.
The second edition of the GFF kicked off on Thursday in Egypt's Red Sea resort town of El Gouna, hosting over 400 film celebrities and filmmakers. It was set to screen dozens of movies from over 30 countries.
The festival, which will run until Sept. 28, will screen 80 films, including 11 world premieres and feature a multitude of workshops and panels.
Al-Tamini, an Iraqi director, said the main goal of the GFF is to support the best international and Arab movies and combine them with a beautiful program.
He said the festival is meant to generate opportunities for development and support for all contemporary forms of creative expressions in the region, especially between young generations from the Arab world and their international counterparts.
Al-Tamini said that this year's GFF is different from last year, "but not in the vision and the concept."
"Normally, every festival starts from small one and grows slowly, but we started big," al-Tamini told Xinhua. "Compared to all Arab international film festivals in the region, I believe no festival had such kind of a start."
He added that the GFF does not want to go bigger, "but the goal is to go deeper," adding that the festival had an eight-day activity last year, while this year, the festival will last for nine days.
Al-Tamimi noted that the GFF attracted more international guests this year.
"Last year, we encouraged some of the international guests, but this year, our list of invitees is larger and more important," he said.
Al-Tamimi added that the GFF invited American actor Patrick Galen Dempsey and gave three career achievement awards respectively for Egyptian director Daoud Abdel Sayed, Tunisian producer Dora Bashousha and the Hollywood action legend Sylvester Stallone.
"We are trying to encourage all stars from Egypt and other countries to be with us because this will give glamour to the festival," al-Tamimi said.
Al-Tamimi noted that what distinguishes it from other festivals in the region is its CineGouna Platform.
"The CineGouna Platform is composed of two programs: CineGouna Bridge and CineGouna SpringBoard," al-Tamimi explained.
"CineGouna SpringBoarda is a development project and a co-production lab that provides opportunities to find creative and financial support for Arab film directors and producers," he said.
CineGouna Bridge is a meeting point and a forum for dialogue between different cinematic voices and a link between filmmakers from the Arab world and their international counterparts.
"This year, the number of submissions reached 145. The submissions were reviewed by a committee of experts that selected 12 projects in development, and six films in post-production based on their content, artistic vision, and overall financial feasibility," al-Tamimi said.
He added that the selected projects and films were from six Arab countries.
"This edition, CineGouna Platform doubled its prizes, granting the winners of a total of 175,000 U.S. dollars, which is funded by El Gouna Film Festival and its sponsors and partners," he noted.
Al-Tamimi said that the film festival does not only provide artistic and cultural support to the region, but also promotes tourism in Egypt.
"Samih Sawares, the founder of El Gouna city and a co-founder of the festival, said that a lot of hotels were fully occupied during the festival," he added.