SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt, March 7 (Xinhua) -- The choice of China as a guest of honor of Egypt's Sharm el-Sheikh Asian Film Festival (SAFF) implies that "both sides are expecting more cultural exchange," a Chinese renowed filmmaker told Xinhua in an exclusive interview on Thursday.
"Chinese contribution to the SAFF helps Egyptians know more about Chinese films and other cultural aspects," Xie Fei said on the sidelines of the SAFF held in the Red Sea resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh.
"We felt honored to be invited as a guest of honor," added the Chinese director, who is also a head of the festival's jury.
The film festival started on March 2 and will run until March 8 with the participation of 58 movies from 26 Asian countries, including three from Egypt and two from China.
According to Xie, the participating movies are "rich and varied."
The festival shows movies from Saudi Arabia, India, Republic of Korea, Azerbaijan, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Singapore, Tajikistan, Bahrain, Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Chinese participation in the third edition of the festival is strong and deep, Xie noted.
"We held a symposium on Tuesday to discuss professional issues. We screened Chinese films that won international awards, and exchanged ideas with colleagues from Egypt, Gulf and Asian countries on the cinematography," he said.
He also highlighted the Chinese singing, dancing and music performances for the international audience in the resort city on Wednesday to expand knowledge about Chinese art.
Commenting on the Egyptian cinema, Xie said he loved watching the 1950s Egyptian movies, especially those featuring Omar al-Sherif, a renowned international actor, and his wife Faten Hamama.
For the Chinese director, there are differences between Chinese and Egyptian films.
"When we look at old movies made in the two countries, we will find that their content and focus are not the same," Xie illustrated.
The Egyptian film at that time was more about story-telling, he added.
Despite efforts made by the filmmakers from both countries, "Egyptian and Chinese film industry need more efforts for development, and there is still a long way to go," Xie concluded.
For the first time in Egyptian history, an award will be presented for the Best Animated Feature Film. Other awards will include Best Screenplay, Best Director, and Best Documentary.
Awards will also be given for Best Short Film and two certificates of appreciation for the second and third runners-up.