Following an eventful 5th edition that not only sparked debate but also witnessed the largest media coverage, locally and internationally, since the festival’s inception in 2017; El Gouna Film Festival renews its pledge to support and foster the industry and filmmakers in the region by announcing its dates for the upcoming three years: the 6th edition to take place October 13-21, 2022, 7th edition to take place October 12-20, 2023 and the 8th edition to take place October 17-25, 2024.
What is reassuring to all industry insiders and festival goers alike is the image provided with the announcement, featuring the great man behind the success of El Gouna Film Festival, its esteemed director Intishal Al Timimi. Rumours had been spreading in the media that he would be stepping down, or be forced out for upcoming editions which would be a blow to the event. A bit like the Kevin Costner character in Field of Dreams, Al Timimi has raised a festival out of the sea and sands of the beautiful resort town of El Gouna and created an assembly point for talent both international and from the Region that is welcomed and much needed. "If you build it, they will come," the famous line goes in the film, and indeed we have come to El Gouna FF, plentiful and ready to discover great cinema.
Al Timimi asserted: “What matters to us by the end of each edition is what it will add to future ones, specifically the changes that happen on structural and administrative levels. As we look forward to our 6th edition, we aspire to achieve the best results that are only acquired through our accumulated experiences from previous years.”
There is no doubt that the 5th edition of the festival witnessed a series of events and incidents that garnered mixed media coverage, which only added to the festival’s mission of encouraging discussion. From a fire breaking out just hours before the opening press conference took place, to the departure of Artistic Director Amir Ramses mid-festival, to the fall and then subsequent rise and triumph of Feathers by Omar El Zohairy which won Best Arab Feature on the festival's closing night -- this was a festival to remember!
These events showed the strong determination and dedication of the festival’s team, helmed by Festival Director Al Timimi and the core senior management; Co-Founder and COO Bushra Rozza who managed to look glamorous on the closing night red carpet, even after a horrific accident which left her bandaged and bruised; Executive Director Amal El Masri; Artistic Director Amir Ramses; and General Manager Kamal Zadeh. Who all conspired to create a modern and interactive edition out of these challenging circumstances.
The 5th edition of GFF presented 76 films that varied from fiction, animation, documentary to shorts.10 films had their world and international premieres, all of which were shown for the first time in the MENA region. CineGouna Platform witnessed excellent success for its industry arms CineGouna Bridge, with its activities and CineGouna Platform, where 19 projects in development and post-production stages were provided technical and artistic guidance and enjoyed financial support, either through official festival awards or grants from sponsors, which exceeded US $280,000.
Alongside these projects CineGouna Bridge hosted a series of masterclasses, panel discussions and workshops, the most prominent of which was a masterclass by American director Darren Aronofsky and a conversation with Polish actor Zbigniew Zamachowski, in addition to panels such as "Cinema as an Agent for Social Change" and "Depicting Ancient Egypt in Film".
Last but not least, the Khaled Bichara Award attracted the participation of 120 young Egyptian filmmakers, and the Palestinian Film Lab competition stimulated many young Arab participations.
We look forward to all upcoming editions of El Gouna Film Festival and really loved being on the ground this year.