In its 40th edition, to be held from November 20 – 29, the Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF) has announced establishing a special section titled “Arab Female Directors”. This showcase will celebrate eight Arab female directors.
Commenting on the initiative, film critic Youssef Cherif Rizkallah and CIFF Artistic director said:” As a tribute to the Arab female directors there will be screenings for some of the films that they skillfully directed recently”.
The film Nawara by the Egyptian director Hala Khalil will be screened within the section. The film stars Menna Shalabi, who was awarded the best actress award at the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) in 2015 and also the Malmo Arab Film Festival in 2016 for her role in the film. Nawara tells the story of a poor young maid who happens to work in the villa of a former minister during the events of the January 25 revolution in 2011.
From Egypt, the festival has also chosen to screen Al- Khroug lel- nahar by Hala Lotfy. The film is about the struggles of a family living in one of Cairo’s poorest neighborhoods.
The festival will also screen 3000 nights by the Palestinian female director Mai Masri, which was screened in the Contemporary World section of the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and won the audience award at the Valladolid International Film Festival.
CIFF will also be screening Wajib by the Palestinian director Annemarie Jacir, which was also screened in Contemporary World Cinema at (TIFF) in 2017.
Also to be screened will be the film Wadjda by the Saudi Arabian director Haifaa Al- Mansour.
The film Beauty and the dogs by Kaouther Ben Hania that was recently chosen to represent Tunisia at the upcoming Oscars will also be screened within the “Arab female directors” section”. The film was screened in Un Certain Regard section at Cannes Film Festival in 2017.
From Algeria, the festival will screen The Blessed, a film by Sofia Djama that received three awards at the Venice Film festival in 2017.
Finally, CIFF will also be screening the documentary film Sharp tools by the Emirati poet and director Nujoom Al- Ghanem.
With film submissions now closed, CIFF received 2351 submissions, 2200 of which are eligible. The submissions received include 790 feature films, 623 of which are feature fiction films, 167 documentaries, and approximately 1300 short films. As for Cairo Film Connection, more than 100 applications for projects were received.