Now in its fifth year, CineGouna (CGP) has fast become a go-to platform for rising filmmakers, as it provides them with opportunities to perfect their works-in-progress and scripts as well as give them access to financial support through the industry arm of El Gouna Film Festival.
Many of CineGouna Platform’s selected films inspired conversations, garnered acclaim, and won prominence at film festivals around the globe. In its upcoming 5th edition, the platform continues its mission of aiding regional works through CineGouna SpringBoard, its coproduction and project development lab. From its 2021 submissions, CineGouna Platform has selected 20 projects—13 in development, 6 in post-production and 1 guest project in post-production.
It is important to note that the selection criteria were the projects’ content, financial feasibility, and artistic concept. Filmmakers should take note of this crucial trio of pre-requisites when thinking of embarking on the project.
A cash prize of $15,000 and a CineGouna Platform certificate will be awarded to the best film in post-production and the best project in development. The participating projects are also eligible to win grants funded by GFF’s sponsors and partners.
GFF Festival Director Intishal Al Timimi said: “A part of El Gouna FilmFestival since its inception, CineGouna Platform is an indisputable testament to GFF’s commitment to include powerful stakeholders in the Egyptian and Arab film industries. We are overjoyed that CineGouna continually attracts the Arab world’s most motivated filmmakers and has become a focal point that unceasingly launches film initiatives throughout the MENA region. This year, the 20 selected projects will be presented to producers, funding organizations and investors, as well as film experts.”
Bushra Rozza, Co-Founder and Chief Operations and Foreign Relations Officer added: “Support for the artistic vision and finances is just the stepping stone. Through a meticulous mentorship program as well as workshops, panel discussions and master classes, we aim to provide aspiring filmmakers with all the possible opportunities to expand their horizons and network, so they can proceed to the next level."
For this upcoming edition, the participating projects are:
Selected feature narrative projects in development are A Quarter to Thursday in Algiers by Sofia Djama (Algeria), Agora by Ala Eddine Slim (Tunisia), Aisha Can't Fly Away Anymore by Morad Mostafa (Egypt), Happy Lovers by Hicham Lasri (Morocco), My Father’s Scent by Mohamed Siam (Egypt), The Blind Ferryman – Al Baseer by Ali Al-Fatlawi (Switzerland), The Sea Needs to Heave by Zain Duraie (Jordan), and Weedestine by Said Zagha (Palestine, Jordan).
The selected feature documentary projects in development are A Song for Summer and Winter by Talal Derki and Ali Wajeeh (Syria), Fifty Meters by Yomna Khattab (Egypt), My Fathers Killed Bourguiba by Fatma Riahi (Tunisia), Searching for Woody by Sara Shazli (Egypt), and Women of My Life by Zahraa Ghandour (Iraq).
The feature narrative films in post-production are Hanging Gardens (pictured in the header above) by Ahmed Yassin Al Daradji (Iraq, Palestine), and Haysh Maysh: False Drama by Hicham Lasri (Morocco).
The feature documentary films in post-production are Abo Zabaal 1989 by Bassem Mortada (Egypt), Hyphen by Reine Razzouk (Lebanon), Nothing About My Mother by Latifa Doghri (Tunisia), and They Planted Strange Trees by Hind Shoufani (Jordan).
And last but not least, the guest film in post-production is Under the Fig Trees by Erige Sehiri (Tunisia).
GFF Artistic Director Amir Ramses concluded: “Every edition of CineGouna makes us prouder of this groundbreaking initiative because of the creative concepts and ingenious projects that showcase just how many aspiring talents the MENA region truly has.”
The 5th edition of El Gouna Film Festival will take place in El Gouna, on the Red Sea, from October 14 – 22, 2021. CineGouna Platform activities will run from October 16 to 21, 2021.
For more info, check out the festival's website.