Cairo Film Fest kicks off with star-studded event

It happened last night... And Egyptian stars came out to celebrate the opening of this year's Cairo International Film Festival.
Cairo Film Fest kicks off with star-studded event

On Friday, 26 November the 43rd session of the Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF) kicked off, in the presence of the most prominent art stars in Egypt, and more than 1200 Egyptian and international guests. It was a welcomed return to normality for a festival that managed to be held even in the midst of a pandemic in 2020 -- yet with many international guests absent or unable to attend.

Amir EL Masry, who just received a BAFTA for his role in 'Limbo'

This time around, the uncertainty seemed absent instead and there on the red carpet were stars from the Arab world, as well as international personalities, like this year's Competition Jury president Emir Kusturica, pictured in the header above.

The ceremony, which was held in Cairo Opera House, started with a short film about the evolution of cinema in Egypt throughout the ages, followed by an appearance by Egyptian actor Khaled Elsawy. Elsawy gave a special speech about the role of cinema helping to bridge differences, followed by a funny performance with Egyptian comedian actor Ali Rabea.

Mohamed Hefzy, president of CIFF

Then it was time for producer Mohamed Hefzy, president of CIFF, to take the stage and in his speech he mentioned all the support and encouragement he has received over the years of his presidency -- a great motivation for him.

A video followed which highlighted all the stars who have sadly passed away during the last year, including Suhair Al-Babli, Ezzat El Alaili, Youssef Shaaban, Samir Ghanem, Dalal Abdel Aziz, and a few others.

Actress Nelly Karim in the audience on opening night

Hefzy then invited the Minister of Culture, Dr. Enas Abdel Dayem, to open the 43rd session of the festival. Dr. Dayem mentioned in her speech how proud she is that the Cairo Festival is the only film festival in the Arab world to be classified as an "A festival" by the International Union of Producers in Paris.

Presenter Mona Abdelwahab introduced the promos of the films participating in the international competition, as well as the names of the jury of the same competition.

After a short musical number, the honorary awards were handed out.

Karim Abdel Aziz accepting his Faten Hamama Award at CIFF

Karim Abdel Aziz, was given the Faten Hamama Award for Excellence, by Egyptian film star, and personal friend Mona Zaki.

During his speech, Abdel Aziz thanked his father, the great director Mohamed Abdel Aziz, and his mother and wife, and expressed his happiness with the award which has the name of the Cairo Film Festival and that of Egyptian iconic film star Faten Hamama.

Nelly accepting this year's Golden Pyramid Award at CIFF

This year's Golden Pyramid Award for Lifetime Achievement was bestowed upon the great artist Nelly and the award was presented to her by Egyptian singer, actor and entertainer Samir Sabry, who reminisced about Nelly's many career milestones.

And at the end of it all, a song presented by festival sponsor Etisalat, which was sung by singer and songwriter Hamid Al Shaeri.

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