Actor Ahmed El Saka will be honoured at the next El Gouna Film Festival (GFF), on the Red Sea in Egypt. The festival has become a great platform for world cinema filmmakers to showcase their work as well as an incubator for Arab film projects, through their industry hub, the CineGouna Platform.
About receiving GFF's Career Achievement Award, El Saka said: “It is a great honour to be recognized with El Gouna Film Festival’s Career Achievement Award this year. As I look back at my journey, I remember all the masters of the craft who influenced my career and inspired me. I am so grateful to them, along with my family and dear audience for all the love and support they have given me over the years. I owe this milestone to all those amazing individuals who stood by my side every step of the way."
The son of Salah El Saka, the pioneer of Egypt’s puppet theatre, El Saka graduated from the Higher Institute of Theatre. He started his career in minor roles before his breakthrough in the TV series Who Doesn’t Love Fatma? based on Anis Mansour’s novel and Rabie’s Other Half, starring Yehia El Fakharany and Elham Shahine. In cinema, he rose to fame by acting alongside Mohamed Henedy in the cinematic hit A Saidi in the AUC —a movie that broke the rules by introducing what has been labeled ‘youth cinema’ to Egyptian audiences through a group of young actors -- these days the biggest celebrities on the artistic scene. A Saidi in the AUC became the highest grossing movie in the history of Egyptian cinema back then and still tops the charts as the highest earning film in Egypt, to date.
El Saka is considered a trailblazer of modern action cinema in the Middle East, mostly famous for doing dangerous action sequences and performing risky stunts without a double. His repertoire includes over 11 blockbuster films, among them Amr Arafa’s Africano, Tarek Al Arian’s Tito, Marwan Hamed’s Ibrahim El Abyad, Sandra Nashaat’s El Maslaha, as well as Sherif Arafa’s Mafia and The Island film series.
Actress Bushra Rozza, El Gouna's co-founder and COO, commented: “I am deeply delighted that my dear colleague, Ahmed El Saka, is the recipient of GFF’s Career Achievement Award this year. In my early years as an actress, I have heard stories about his huge support for the cinematic industry. He never cared how big his paycheck was as a box office star, on the contrary, he often devoted a cut of his wage to the production of his projects to ensure the best quality was achieved." Then adding, “El Saka is not only a superstar but also a star maker. He has always supported young and emerging talents, who usually find their breakthrough in his films and continue their careers as celebrities. A rare trait, fit for a true star.”
A yearly GFF tradition, the festival’s Career Achievement Award is reserved for influential talents across different generations whose work and commitment to the film and entertainment industry have left an indelible mark. Recent recipients include Egyptian stars Adel Emam, Mohamed Henedy and Khaled El Sawy; international stars Forest Whitaker, Sylvester Stallone, Gérard Depardieu and Saïd Taghmaoui; Egyptian director Daoud Abdelsayed, Egyptian art director Onsi Abou Seif, Tunisian filmmaker Dora Bouchoucha, and Palestinian filmmaker Mai Masri.
Orascom Development Holding chairman Samih Sawiris said: "I was very thrilled to learn that the festival's International Advisory Board decided to honour Ahmed El Saka this year. Ahmed’s career reflects one of the most inspiring success stories of a young man who believed that he could turn his dream into reality, have an impact, and make a difference. Surely and steadily, he rose to the forefront of the Egyptian cinematic scene."
And festival founder Naguib Sawiris added: “The festival’s Career Achievement Award is dedicated to artists who devoted their journeys to the entertainment industry. Ahmed El Saka is no exception. His status as one of the leading stars of his generation is a result of his continuous dedication and commitment to his work and audience."
For more information about El Gouna Film Festival, check out their website.