Relations between Egypt and other African nations have been flourishing in recent years as it is one of the strategic ties that gives Egypt its important political position in the world at large. The Luxor African Film Festival (LAFF) has been striving since its inaugural tour in 2012 to complement Egyptian diplomacy in the effort to bring together Egyptian and African cultural activities, helping to spread Egyptian soft power across the continent. .
However, according to actor honorary president Mahmoud Hemida – speaking at the press conference announcing the upcoming 11th round (March 4-10) last week – the LAFF administration is concerned that, despite its vital importance, the festival will not not receive enough funds.
Regarding the financial partnership with the various government associations and other businesses, Hemida felt that the word “sponsors” should be replaced with “partners” because the connection benefits both the government institutions involved and the festival.
Screenwriter Sayed Fouad, LAFF Founding President, and LAFF Co-Founder and Director Filmmaker Azza Al-Houseiny presented the program and the winners, including the late Egyptian actors Huda Sultan and Moroccan filmmaker Mahmoud Morsy. Mohamed Ismail, Senegalese filmmaker Gabriel Mambetti. , Tunisian filmmaker Ferid Boughedir, Algerian actress Biyouna, Burkinabe filmmaker Appoline Traoré and Egyptian actor Amr Saad. LAFF will present a lifetime achievement award to Egyptian film star Hussien Fahmy during the opening ceremony.
The Long Narrative Competition includes 10 films: Habiba by Hassan Ben Jaloon (Morocco), The Gravedigger’s Wife by Khadar Ahmed (Somalia), L’accord by Lea Malle Frank Thierry (Cameroon), Maria Kristu directed by Paul S. Willow (Zambia) , Arju directed by Omar Belkacemi (Algeria), A Tune Away by Stanlee Ohikhuare (Nigeria), Masoud by Emmanuel Rotobam (Burkina Faso), Public Toilet Africa by Kofi Ofosu-Yeboah (Ghana), I’ll Go to Hell by Ismahane Lahmar (Tunisia) and 2 Talaat Harb Square by Magdi Ahmed Ali (Egypt).
The Long Narrative Jury is made up of Senegalese filmmaker Moussa Touré, Burkinabe filmmaker Apolline Traoré, Tunisian film critic Kamal Ben Wanas, Haitian actor Jimmy Jean-Louis and Egyptian filmmaker Yousry Nasrallah.
The Long Documentary Competition will present 11 films: Morning Star by Nantanina Lova (Madagascar), The Colonel’s Stray Dogs directed by Khalid Shamis (South Africa, Libya), A Place Called Wahla by Jürgen Ellinghaus (Togo), Faya Dayi by Jessica Bashir ( Ethiopia), Kasongo by Noemie Arazi and Georges Senga (Congo), One Take Grace by Lindiwe Matshikiza (South Africa), Gold Or Money by Eric Revo (Mali), The Last Shelter by Ousmane Samassekou (Mali, South Africa ), Suspended Wives by Merieme Addou (Morocco), Our Underworld Persons by Haitham Sherif (Egypt), Old Lions by Ibrahim Abbas (Egypt).
The feature documentary jury is made up of Senegalese filmmaker Katy Ndiaya, Ugandan film critic Fibby Kioria and Ghanaian filmmaker Peter Sedufia, as well as cinematographer Mahmoud Abd El-Samie and Egyptian filmmaker Mohamed Seyam.
The Short Film Competition includes 15 films: Heart Attack by Minenhle Luthuli (South Africa), 16 Rounds by Usama Mukawya (Uganda), Half Soul by Marwen Trabelssi (Tunisia), Goodbye Delmar by David Edem Dotse (Ghana), Meneze d ‘Elizabeth Essodong (Togo), Tender Son of Wejdan Khaled (Morocco), The Court of King Amédée Pacôme Nkoulou (Gabon), Moça, Where was I? by Denis Miala (Angola), Baby Blues by Diop Mamamdou (Senegal, France), Being of Bones by Denis Valery Ndayishimiye (Rwanda), Batool by Mohamed Zahran (Egypt), Two Rooms and a Hall by Mina Maher (Egypt), Ganaza Harrah (A Hot Funeral) directed by Mohamed Mahmoud (Egypt), Arriving Late by Doha Hamdy (Egypt) and Map by Maggi Morgan (Egypt).
The short film jury is made up of Malian filmmaker Fatomato Coulibaly, Moroccan filmmaker Daoud Wilad Al-Sayed, Tunisian singer-actress Ghalia Ben Ali and, from Egypt, filmmaker Khaled Al-Haggar and film critic Ahmed Shawky .
The Diaspora Competition – the only entirely international section – includes 10 narrative and documentary feature films: Un enfant de l’Autre by Patricia Kwende (France), All Nights by Latifa Saïd (Algeria, France), L’Empire du Silence by Thierry Michel (France) , Prince by Lisa Bierwirth (Congo), The Sound of Sugar Cane Flowers by Nicolas Serry (France), As Far As I Can Walk by Stefan Arsenijevic (Serbia, France), A Brighter Tomorrow by Yassine Qnia (France), The Rumba Kings by Alan Brain (USA, Peru), Delphine’s Prayers by Rosine Mfetgo Mbakam (Cameroon), Freda directed by Gessica Genesis (Haiti).
The diaspora jury is made up of Palestinian filmmaker Rashid Mashharawi, Tunisian producer Doura Bouchoucha and Egyptian actor-filmmaker Ahmed Magdi.
One of the activities this year is the Factory Initiative which is a long-term project dedicated to African women filmmakers living in Africa or elsewhere. It aims to help them produce their own documentaries and expand their links with the cinema market. The factory will include 11 feature-length documentary projects from South Africa, Algeria, Uganda, Rwanda, Nigeria, Syria, Jordan and four from Egypt. It will support selected participants with financial and non-financial rewards, including training, guidance and technical support.
Since its inauguration, the LAFF philosophy has provided for the education of the local community and this year the festival will include eight different workshops for locals: filmmaking directed by Ahmed Rashwan, children’s cinema by Shwikar Khalifa, acting preparation by Al-Asaad Al-Jamousi. , film posters by Zainab Soubhi, the legacy of Saeed Al-Bagouri, theatrical tales for women by Eman Shahin, murals by Ahmed Hamdi and children’s paintings by Wael Nour.
The LAFF administration has given this year’s cycle the slogan “Rediscover Egypt” and hopes to highlight Egyptian heritage by celebrating two significant centenarians: the 100th anniversary of the spectacular discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb in the King’s Valley by British Egyptologist Howard Carter in 1922, and the 200th anniversary of the decipherment of the Rosetta Stone by French Egyptologist Jean-François Champollion in 1822. As part of this vision, LAFF will host three art exhibitions: the photographic exhibition (Tutankhamun), the exhibition of visual artists “From the South” and the poster of the winners. Exposure.
*A version of this article appeared in the February 24, 2022 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly.