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Screen International to host third edition of ‘Arab Stars of Tomorrow’ at CIFF 2019

Screen International has announced that it will launch the third edition of ‘Arab Stars of Tomorrow’ at Cairo International Film Festival 2019 (CIFF).

The first two editions spotlighted 10 emerging talents from the region including Moroccan director Alaa Eddine Aljem, who premieres his first feature The Unknown Saint in Cannes Critics’ Week this year. Other past Arab Stars of Tomorrow include directors Mounia Akl (Lebanon), Amjad Al-Rasheed (Jordan) and Ayman Al-Shatri (Iraq), who are all poised to shoot their debut features.

Acting talents have included Egypt’s Ahmed Malek (Sheikh Jackson) Syria’s Samer Ismail (The Day I Lost My Shadow), Palestine’s Maria Zreik (Wajib) and Tunisia’s Mariam Al Ferjanim, star of the 2017 Un Certain Regard title Beauty and The Dogs.

Promising talent from the MENA region will be shortlisted by Screen International’s Middle East correspondent Melanie Goodfellow over the coming months ahead of the final list and recipients will be announced during this year’s festival which will take place from 20-29 November 2019 in Cairo.

CIFF is one of only 15 festivals granted category “A” status by FIAPF and is the Arab region’s oldest and only internationally accredited annual film festival. Last year, acclaimed Egyptian producer Mohamed Hefzy was appointed as President of the Cairo Film Festival with a mandate to revamp and relaunch the Festival.

The landmark 40th edition welcomed internationally acclaimed filmmakers, actors, and festivalgoers from across the globe and launched ‘Cairo Industry Days’, the industry arm of the Festival with the aim of connecting Arab filmmakers with leading international and regional professionals from the film and TV industry.

The first edition of ‘Cairo Industry Days’ welcomed a slate of speakers including Len Amato; President of HBO Films, Alberto Barbera; Director of Venice Film Festival, Billie August; Double Palme d’Or winning director and Nicolas Seydoux; President of Gaumont. The second edition of Cairo Days will run from the 21-25 November 2019.

Commenting on the announcement, Mohamed Hefzy, CIFF President, said: “We are thrilled Screen International is bringing ‘Arab Stars of Tomorrow’ to Cairo. Since CIFF’s inception in 1976, the Festival has provided a platform to showcase exciting acting and directing Arab talent many of whom have gone onto find international acclaim around the world. The region is abundant with talented, enthusiastic and committed filmmakers and this partnership is a great opportunity to raise the profile of the regional film industry on an international stage and identify new voices with extraordinary stories to tell which is more important now more than ever. We are very excited to showcase the achievements and new talent coming out of the region in collaboration with Screen International.”

Speaking on the initiative, Matt Mueller, editor of Screen International, added: “We are delighted to be bringing ‘Arab Stars of Tomorrow’ to the Cairo Film Festival, which is a hugely important festival in the region and a key supporter of Arab talent. ‘Arab Stars of Tomorrow’ is an initiative that Screen International is extremely proud of and as Arab cinema continues to grow and flourish, Screen International is thrilled to showcase exceptional and talented Arab actors and filmmakers to the international industry. We can’t wait to launch the third edition at Cairo this November.”