Cairo Film Fest Critics' Week line up and MEMI film projects announced

This year, MEMI has selected 11 projects, under newly appointed director Hisham Fageeh while seven films participate in the International Critics' Week during this edition of the Cairo International Film Festival.
Cairo Film Fest Critics' Week line up and MEMI film projects announced

Cairo International Film Festival (CFF) just revealed the details of the films participating in their International Critics' Week competition, which will be held within the screenings of the 43rd edition of the festival.

CIFF is scheduled to kick off on 26 November through 5 December. Film critic Osama Abdel Fattah, director of the International Critics Week, disclosed that the competition includes seven films representing many countries in terms of production, as well as hailing from different continents, to achieve the diversity that the festival is keen on achieving annually. Abdel Fattah also explained that these films participating in the International Critics Week competition would see their Arab and North African premiere in Cairo, as they were only screened and awarded in several major international film festival.

The lineup includes Amparo (Colombia, Sweden, Germany, pictured above) by Simón Mesa Soto, Dark Heart of the Forest (Belgium, France) by Serge Mirzabekiantz, La Civil (Mexico, Belgium, Romania) by Teodora Mihai, Wild Roots (Hungary, Slovakia) by Hajni Kis, Blue Moon (Romania) by Alina Grigore, Vera Dreams of the Sea (Kosovo, Albania, Macedonia) by Kaltrina Krasniqi, as well as this year's Palestinian entry to the Oscar race, The Stranger (Syria, Palestine, Germany) by Ameer Fakher Eldin.

Another exciting section of this year's CIFF sees the return of the Middle East Media Initiative (MEMI), for its third year in Cairo. MEMI is an innovative professional exchange method that started out at the University of Southern California (USC) School of Cinematic Arts in partnership with the U.S. Department of State and creators of the Middle East Television industry. It seeks to support and train the current generation of Arab TV screenwriters and content creators to tell local interesting stories that opens the floor for discussions, evoking actions that reflect diversity and mutual understanding.

MEMI’s mentors include several renowned television screenwriters and producers, namely: David Isaacs, Chair of the John Wells Division for Screen & Television at the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California, Mort Nathan, screenwriting professor at Chapman University in Southern California, Paul Foley, adjunct professor at the University of Southern California (USC) School of Cinematic Arts, and Jill Condon, screenwriting professor at Chapman University and a twenty-year television comedy veteran.

This year, MEMI has selected 11 projects, including three projects from Egypt: This is Why, written by Sumer Abdelnasser; Six Degrees, written by Mona El Shimi; and Devolution, written by Ahmed Nada. There are three projects from Jordan: Outlaws, by Tala Al-Husry and Luma Al-Hamarneh; Al-Bacore, by Zina Azar and Joseph Chamoun; and Work in Progress, by Mira Nimri. In addition, three further projects hail from Lebanon, among the selected projects this year as well: Miit Batikha, by Tala Arakji; This Is How I Died, by Jamal Aawar and Ashraf Mtaweh; and Hinnd, by Maya Habli. Rounding out the lineup is a film from Sudan, titled, written by hajooj kuka, and one Saudi Arabian film project, The Last Session, written by Rulan Hassan.

Hisham Fageeh, Saudi comedian and creator as well as MEMI’s newly appointed director, said: “Throughout history, Egypt has been front and center on cultural frontiers. It only makes sense that regional institutions look up to them as the North Star, in order to navigate the industry’s uncharted territories. I am proud to announce this is MEMI’s 3rd consecutive year collaborating with CIFF; each year more fruitful than the one before, despite the global circumstances. Shout out to Mohamed Hefzy, and his team, for cultivating a dynamic and welcoming ecosystem."

MEMI will run during Cairo Industry Days (CID) which is scheduled from Dec. 1-5. CID is a platform for the film industry hosted for the fourth year in a row by CIFF in collaboration with the Arab Cinema Center (ACC). It serves as a forum for discussions, seminars, masterclasses, and supports and highlights Arab talents.

The 43rd Cairo International Film Festival, which will take place on November 26 till December 5, 202, will implement all preventive steps in compliance with Egyptian government and World Health Organization rules to ensure the safety of participating filmmakers, the general audience, and festival personnel.

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