When it comes to Egyptian film festivals, the Cairo International Film Festival and the relatively new El Gouna Film Festival get most of the attention, maybe understandably so. But Egypt has dozens of incredible and influential film festivals. Here are four we think you should check out!
The Ismailia International Film Festival
The Ismailia International Film Festival for Documentaries and Shorts has been running consistently since 1991, locally for a few years before widening its arms for a more diverse cast of filmmakers. Founded by Hashim El Nahas, the aim of the festival was clear from the start: Create a diverse cultural centre to promote and advance the art of documentaries and short films, preferably outside of Cairo. The festival was the first international one in Egyptian cinema history as well.
Check out the website before its 23rd edition this year, which will be in June!
Aswan International Women Film Festival
Relatively recent, the Aswan International Women Film Festival was founded by Mohamed Abdel Khalek. The relevancy of the festival has grown rapidly, mainly because it’s the first cultural event of its kind to be established in Aswan. Not only does the festival screen the best films every year, but it also conducts seminars, a women’s issues forum, and a producer’s salon. This year, the festival’s sixth edition ran during February, honouring multiple women who have made their mark on the industry. Previously, the festival celebrated stars such as Mohsena Tawfik and Menna Shalby, and we expect they’ll continue highlighting the role of women in international and Egyptian cinemas.
Next year’s edition is also expected to be in February, so check the website to catch up!
Alexandria International Film Festival
Founded in 1984, the Alexandria Film Festival for Mediterranean Countries was initiated by the Egyptian Association of Film Writers and Critics (EAFWC). In spite of being geared towards strengthening relationships between filmmakers and writers across the world, the festival is one of a kind in the special attention it gives to Mediterranean countries, with nearly all entries being under the condition of production in a Mediterranean country.
The festival is returning this year, likely in late September to early October, for its 38th edition. See the website for more information.
Luxor African Film Festival
The Luxor African Film Festival was conceived to honour Egypt’s extensive heritage and the brilliant cinematic art that stems out of Africa. Also relatively recent, the festival celebrated its decade-long run last year. But as a newbie, it’s highly regarded in the cinematic world, with the largest Arab film festival in Europe, Malmö Arab Film Festival, recognising it as rapidly becoming one of the most important festivals specialised in African cinema in the world.
Check the website for more information, as it’s running from the 4th to the 10th March.