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El Gouna Film Festival – GFF 2017
1ère édition.

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L’édition inaugurale du Festival du film d’El Gouna a du 22 au 29 septembre 2017, dans la station balnéaire égyptienne de la mer Rouge, El Gouna.

The inaugural edition of the El Gouna Film Festival takes place from the 22nd till the 29th of September 2017, in the Egyptian Red Sea resort town of El Gouna.

« The Festival will have a positive impact on our society at large and will position us as leaders in the film-making industry. »Naguib Sawiris, the GFF founder.

Egyptian Actor Adel Imam to receive Career Achievement Award at first Edition of El Gouna Film Festival.
American Actor Forest Whitaker to Receive Career Achievement Award at El Gouna Film Festival Closing Ceremony

« Sheikh Jackson » to Open El Gouna Film Festival’s First Edition.

Three competitions with Awards totaling USD 200,000.

El Gouna Film Festival – Opening Film | Feature Narrative Competition
Sheikh Jackson
On 25 June 2009 the news of Michael Jackson‘s death took the world by storm affecting many, especially an Islamic cleric whose nickname was « Jackson » during his school days.

El Gouna Film Festival – Closing Film
Human Flow
Human Flow, an epic film journey led by the internationally renowned artist Ai Weiwei, gives a powerful visual expression to this massive human migration. The documentary elucidates both the staggering scale of the refugee crisis and its profoundly personal human impact.

Narrative Feature Competition (short list)
After the War
Arrhythmia
Breathe
Corporate
The Insult / by Ziad Doueiri / Lebanon
The Music of Silence
No Bed of Roses
The Other Side of Hope
Photocopy / by Tamer Ashry / World premiere / Egypt
Scary Mother
Sheikh Jackson / by Amr Salama / Opening film / Egypt
Son of Sofia
The Third Murder
Volubilis
Zama

After the War
Bologna, 2002. The murder of a judge reopens old political wounds between Italy and France. Marco, a former left-wing activist, sentenced for murder and exiled in France for 20 years is accused of having ordered the attack. The Italian government requests his extradition. Forced to flee with Viola, his 16-year-old daughter, his life will change forever.

Arrhythmia
Oleg is a young gifted paramedic. His wife Katya works at the hospital emergency department. She loves Oleg, but is fed up with him caring more about patients than her. She tells him she wants a divorce. At work, Oleg has to deal with a cold-hearted and strict manager. The crisis at work coincides with the crisis at home.

Breathe
Critically acclaimed actor Andy Serkis makes his directorial debut with this film that is scripted by two-time Academy Award nominated writer William Nicholson Gladiator, Les Misérables. Breathe is an inspirational true story of love without limits.

Corporate
Emilie is a bright young workaholic manager in Human Ressources, working for a huge French agro-food company. Ambitious and dedicated to her job, she is a good soldier, ready to put ruthless methods of management into practice to meet the higher-ups’ requirements.

The Insult
While renovating the facade of a building in Beirut, Toni, a Lebanese Christian, and Yasser, a Palestinian refugee, clash over a silly plumbing issue. Yasser ends up insulting Toni, who in turn decides to file a complaint. A long and highly publicised trial ensues, where Palestinians and Lebanese Christians settle old scores.

The Music of Silence
Everyone knows his voice, his international songs, however much less is known of the private life of Andrea Bocelli. He was born with the gift of voice and without one of sight. Driven by great ambition, his life will be challenging until he manages to achieve his first great success on stage with « Miserere ».

No Bed of Roses
Successful movie director Javed Hasan finds himself in a midlife crisis, questioning whether marriage and career have demanded too much from him. A tryst with Nitu, his daughter’s childhood friend, turns into a national scandal. Javed’s loving family is torn apart.

The Other Side of Hope
The film consists of two stories that intersect by chance. The first one is about Khaled, a young Syrian refugee who has lost virtually all of his family. The other is about Wikström, a former travelling salesman of about fifty who buys an unprofitable restaurant at the far end of an inner court along a back street in Helsinki.

Photocopy
Mahmoud is in his late fifties and owns a photocopy joint in Abdou Pasha. When he is asked to print a research paper about the extinction of dinosaurs, he becomes obsessed with the topic, which he feels might explain to him the reason behind his deteriorating financial status and the dwindling numbers of his customers.

Scary Mother
A fifty-year-old housewife, Manana, struggles with a dilemma: she has to choose between her family life and a love for writing she has repressed for years. When she finally decides to follow her passion, she is ready to sacrifice everything for it, mentally and physically.

Sheikh Jackson
On 25 June 2009 the news of Michael Jackson‘s death took the world by storm affecting many, especially an Islamic cleric whose nickname was « Jackson » during his school days.

Son of Sofia
Athens, 2004. eleven-year-old Misha arrives from Russia to live with his mother, Sofia.What he doesn’t know is that there is a father waiting for him there. As Greece lives the Olympic dream, Misha is about to get violently catapulted into the adult world.

The Third Murder
The latest film from internationally acclaimed director Hirokazu Kore-eda is a powerfully moving story of a man struggling to find the truth while questioning his own faith in the law.

Volubilis
Feature Narrative Competition
Volubilis
Abdelkader is a security guard and Malika is a domestic employee who just got married and are happy and madly in love, despite their financial difficulties. However, one day, Abdelkader experiences a violent and humiliating incident that turns their destiny upside down.

Zama
Zama, an officer of the Spanish Crown, awaits a letter from the king granting him a transfer from the stagnant town where he serves, submissively accepting tasks by governors who come and go while he stays behind. As years pass and the letter never arrives, Zama joins a party of soldiers pursuing a dangerous bandit.

Feature Documentary Competition
« 17 »
Brimstone & Glory
I Am Not Your Negro
I Have A Picture  » Film No. 1001 in the Life of the Oldest Extra in the World »
In Praise of Nothing
Mrs. Fang
Des moutons et des hommes (Of Sheep and Men), by Karim Sayad, Algérie | 2017
Plot 35
Rue de la Victoire
Soufra
The Wild Frontier
Wonders of the Sea

« 17 »
A documentary that follows the Jordanian under-17 women’s football team as they prepare for the FIFA under-17 2016 Women’s World Cup in Jordan.

Brimstone & Glory
Set in the National Pyrotechnic Festival in Tultepec, Mexico, Brimstone & Glory is an immersive exploration of celebration, rituals, danger and the absolute beauty of fireworks.

I Am Not Your Negro
In June 1979 renowned American writer James Baldwin began work on his last, unfinished text ‘Remember this House’. His personal memories of his three murdered civil rights friends Malcolm X, Medgar Evers and Martin Luther King and his reflections on his own painful experiences as a black American serve to re-write American history.

I Have A Picture  » Film No. 1001 in the Life of the Oldest Extra in the World »
With the help of El Homossany, one of the oldest assistant directors in Egypt, Zedan, a young indie filmmaker, is making a documentary about Motawe Eweis, who has worked as an extra in about 1000 films in the Egyptian Cinema from the forties till now.

In Praise of Nothing
A satirical documentary parable about Nothing, in which Nothing, tired of being misunderstood, comes to address us for the first and the last time. Researched through 20.000 pages of a most eclectic bibliography, filmed by dozens of established and amateur cinematographers through an anonymous online brainstorming process; narrated – in simple childish verse – by Iggy Pop. Suspension of disbelief guaranteed.

Mrs. Fang
Fang Xiuying was a farmer born in Huzhou, Fujian in 1948, who suffered from Alzheimer’s for the last eight years of her life. By 2015, her symptoms were already very advanced and her treatment in a convalescent home was ineffective, so it was discontinued and she returned home in 2016. The film follows her ordeal first in 2015, and then in 2016 during the last ten days of her life.

Of Sheep and Men
Algiers, Bab el Oued, 2016. Habib, 16, decided to train a ram for fighting and Samir, 42, tries to survive by selling sheep. As the Eid celebration approaches, Samir has the unique opportunity to maximize his profits. But for Habib, it’s another story, will his ram become a champion?

Plot 35
Plot 35 is a place that was never mentioned in the director’s family; it is where his elder sister, who died aged three, is buried. He was told nearly nothing about her and his parents had oddly never kept a single photograph. It was to make up for the missing images that he made this film.

Rue de la Victoire
The film follows Mohamed Dhiaa Gharbi, a Tunisian circus artist, as he gradually reconstructs his identity and gains his independence. Rue de la Victoire is a documentary about hope; a representation of young people trying to rise above their social conditions.

Soufra
Soufra follows the unlikely and wildly inspirational story of intrepid social entrepreneur, Mariam Shaar – a generational refugee who has spent her entire life in the 65-year-old Burj El Barajneh refugee camp just south of Beirut, Lebanon.

The Wild Frontier
Winter, 2016. The Calais Jungle is a growing city of about 12 000. In the early spring, the Southern zone, its shops, streets and houses, are completely destroyed. Its expelled population move their houses to the Northern zone to find shelter and keep on living. In the fall, France organizes the permanent dismantling of the Jungle. But the Jungle is a mutating territory, a world-city, a city of the future: though destroyed, it always rises from its ashes. Shot with young people trapped in the turmoil of wars, police violence, and their attempts at crossing the border to get to England, The Wild Frontier could be a forgotten episode of Homer’s Odyssey.

Wonders of the Sea
A unique digital 3D docu-fiction, Wonders of the Sea invites viewers to join Jean-Michel Cousteau and his children, Celine and Fabien, as they travel through the magnificent underwater world and marvel at its incredible biodiversity.

Short Films Competition
Baghdad Photographer
Cheers to the Newlyweds!
Short Films Competition
Cheers to the Newlyweds!
The Favor
A Gentle Night
Give Up The Ghost
Hiwa
Impression
Inside the Wardrobe
Léo
Little Soldiers
Mama Bobo, Senegal
Merry-Go-Round
My Festival
Nada
Newton’s Third Law
Nightshade
Punchline
Red Crayon

Baghdad Photographer
A deeply moving story about war, told through a series of family portrait photos that show one less member in each successive family portrait taken.

Cheers to the Newlyweds!
Armed with plenty of defiant optimism, an elderly woman prepares a birthday party, grapples with her husband, and even rescues a wedding that is about to be called off.

The Favor
As Sophie brings back a dress borrowed she had from her mother, she recalls and deconstructs their last conversation.

A Gentle Night
In a nameless Chinese city, a mother with her daughter missing, refuses to go gentle into this good night.

Give Up The Ghost
Floyd has worked his whole life. One day, while out on a new job, he discovers something that alters his way of thinking.

Hiwa
In Jay’s dream, Athens’ sun is so weak, you can look straight at it, without getting blind.

Impression
An entrepreneurial middle-eastern man, Reza, tries to get a large-scale business off the ground without financial support, as he works at a car wash to make ends meet. Reza has everything it takes to be successful; he just needs an opportunity to prove what he can become.

Inside the Wardrobe
In a world where appearence is more important than what’s inside, Frank lost everything and now lives on the street. To survive and reintegrate into society, he can only count on his abilities to adapt, his incredible imagination, his suit and his closet.

Léo
Léo accepts a job smuggling a refugee couple through France. However, Léo and the couple have different ideas as to where they’re supposed to be going.

Little Soldiers
Childhood friends, Louis and Polo are two young apprentice cooks in an inn in Normandie. In their free time they play paintball, a rather violent game. Louis dreams of going to Paris and Polo will do everything to prevent it.

Mama Bobo
In Dakar, Senegal, Mama Bobo, an old woman, sits at the same bus stop everyday, recollecting her past. One day, the bus stop mysteriously disappears.

Merry-Go-Round
A searing portrayal of the grand, constant flow of life.


My Festival
Fathi’s first day as a cinema usher in Cairo’s downtown theatre is quite intimidating. He is eager to attend one of the blockbusters but is instead stuck chaperoning two young lovers in the cinema. His film experience takes him in an unexpected journey.

Nada
The film tells the story of a mute girl who works as a troupe dancer, she faces more problems when she meets the blind musician of the show.

Newton’s Third Law
For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Ahmed, who like many, had no say in how his life unfolded until he eventually decided otherwise, but death was the only language he spoke.

Nightshade
Eleven year old Tarik helps his father Elias who’s in his mid-thirties to transport illegal immigrants into the Netherlands. When an accident occurs, Tarik gains the acknowledgment from his father he has yearned for, but at a high price – the loss of his own innocence.

Punchline
Two wannabe gangsters can’t decide on the coolest thing to say before shooting their captive, Michel.

Red Crayon
An innocent child narrowly escapes destruction and death in Syria yet what she leaves behind can never truly be left behind.

Official Selection Out of Competition
78/52
The Brawler
Chasing Coral
Closeness
Dabka (Into the Fire)
Félicité / Felicity, Sengal
First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers
The Florida Project, USA
A Gentle Creature
Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami
An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth To Power
Loving Vincent
Lucky
Manifesto
Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down The White House
Le redoutable / Redoubtable
The Square
Submergence
Tadeo 2
Three Peaks

78/52
An unprecedented look at the iconic shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, the ‘Man behind the Curtain’, and the screen murder that profoundly changed the course of world cinema.

The Brawler
A lower caste boxer struggles to make his mark in the boxing world.

Chasing Coral
Coral reefs around the world are vanishing at an unprecedented rate. A team of divers, photographers and scientists set out on a thrilling ocean adventure to discover why and to reveal the underwater mystery to the world.

Closeness
1998, Nalchik, the North Caucasus, Russia. twenty-four-year-old Ilana works in her father’s garage to help him make ends meet. One evening, her extended family and friends gather to celebrate the engagement of her younger brother David. Later that night, the young couple is kidnapped, and a ransom demand is delivered.

Dabka (Into the Fire)
In 2008, rookie journalist Jay Bahadur forms a half-baked plan to embed himself among the pirates of Somalia. He ultimately succeeds in providing the first close-up look into who these men are, how they live, and the forces that drive them.

Felicity
Félicité is a free-willed woman working as a singer in a Kinshasa bar. Her life is thrown into turmoil when her 14 year-old son falls victim to an accident. To save him, she sets out on a breakneck race through the streets, where she crosses paths with Tabu in a world of music and dreams.

First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers
Through the eyes of the young Loung, the film’s portrayal of the notoriously brutal years of the Khmer Rouge is deeply touching, and Jolie is clear in her underlying assertion that the reason behind the chaos in Cambodia lies far beyond its borders, particularly in the United States, and cleverly avoids any white-saviour pitfalls expected in such a production.

The Florida Project
The Florida Project tells the story of a precocious six year-old and her rag-tag group of friends whose summer break is filled with childhood wonder, possibility and a sense of adventure while the adults around them struggle with hard times.

A Gentle Creature
A woman lives alone on the outskirts of a village in Russia. One day she receives a parcel she sent to her incarcerated husband, marked ‘return to sender’. Shocked and confused, the woman has no choice but to travel to the prison in a remote region of the country in search of an explanation.

Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami
The film showcases the life of the brutal and unfamiliar artist Grace Jones revealing her personality as a lover, a daughter, a mother and a grandmother.

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth To Power
A decade after An Inconvenient Truth brought climate change into the heart of popular culture, comes the riveting and rousing followup that shows just how close we are to a real energy revolution.

Loving Vincent
The world’s first fully painted feature film brings the paintings of Vincent Van Gogh to life to tell his remarkable story. Every one of the 65,000 frames of the film are hand-painted by 115 professional oil-painters who travelled from all across Europe to the Loving Vincent studios to take part in this unique production.

Lucky
Lucky follows the spiritual journey of a 90-year-old atheist and the quirky characters that inhabit his off the map desert town. Having outlived and out-smoked all of his contemporaries, Lucky finds himself thrust into a journey of self exploration.

Manifesto
Julian Rosefeldt’s film Manifesto pays homage to the moving tradition and literary beauty of artistic manifestos, ultimately questioning the role of the artist in society today.

Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down The White House
The story of Mark Felt, who under the name « Deep Throat » helped journalists Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein uncover the Watergate scandal in 1974.

Redoubtable
Paris 1967. Jean-Luc Godard, the most renowned filmmaker of his generation, is shooting La Chinoise with the woman he loves, Anne Wiazemsky, twenty years his junior. Happy, in love, magnetic, they marry. But the film’s reception unleashes a profound self-examination in Jean-Luc.

The Square
Christian is the respected curator of a contemporary art museum, a divorced but devoted father of two who drives an electric car and supports good causes. His next show is « The Square », an installation which invites passersby to altruism, reminding them of their role as responsible fellow human beings.

Submergence
A love story that takes us into the extremely different worlds of Danielle Flinders and James More who meet by chance in a hotel in Normandy, later on James gets involved in a mission in Somalia where he is taken hostage by jihadists fighters while Danny has to go down to the bottom of the ocean without even knowing if James is still alive.

Tadeo 2
Tad travels to Las Vegas to discover Sara’s secret: a papyrus that proves the existence of King Midas who turned everything he touched into gold using the power of a magical necklace. Their encounter is disrupted when the evil Jack Rackham steals the papyrus and kidnaps Sara to force her to find the necklace.

Three Peaks
Aaron wants to become a family with his girlfriend and her 8-year-old son, but high up in the Italian Dolomites, his attempts to win the boy’s acceptance turn into a dangerous power game.

Special Presentation
Cairo Station
The Putin Interviews: Episodes 1 and 2
The Putin Interviews: Episodes 3 and 4
Snowden
Wanderers of the Desert

Cairo Station
In Cairo Station, Kenawi, the limping newspaper salesman, falls in love with Hannouma, the femme fatale who sells cold drinks. Hannouma, meanwhile, loves the handsome Abo Seriea, who struggles to form a union for the porters at the station. Progressive ideals and outstanding performances place this memorable film at the forefront of Arab cinema productions.

The Putin Interviews: Episodes 1 and 2
Oscar-winning filmmaker Oliver Stone was granted unprecedented access to Russian president Vladimir Putin during more than a dozen interviews over two years, with no topic off-limits. This remarkable four-part documentary series provides intimate insight of Putin’s both personal and professional lives. The Putin Interviews witnesses the most detailed portrait of Putin ever granted to a Western interviewer.

The Putin Interviews: Episodes 3 and 4
Oscar-winning filmmaker Oliver Stone was granted unprecedented access to Russian president Vladimir Putin during more than a dozen interviews over two years, with no topic off-limits. This remarkable four-part documentary series provides intimate insight of Putin’s both personal and professional lives. The Putin Interviews witnesses the most detailed portrait of Putin ever granted to a Western interviewer.

Snowden
Disillusioned with the intelligence community, top contractor Edward Snowden leaves his job at the National Security Agency. He gets to know that all forms of digital communication including that of ordinary citizens will be tracked. When Snowden decides to leak this classified information, he becomes a traitor to some, a hero to others and a fugitive from the law.

Wanderers of the Desert / Les Baliseurs du désert / El-Haimoune, by Nacer Khemir, 1984, Tunisia / France, 95 min., Arabic
A young teacher is sent to an isolated village in the Tunisian desert, but instead of devoting himself to teaching, he vanishes in pursuit of enigmas, losing himself in the fables and legends of ancient Arab culture. An iconic film that blends magic and reality to celebrate the beauty of the deserts of North Africa.

Winners 2017

Feature Narrative Competition
Jury composed of Sarah Johnson (Film Producer, USA, Jury President) Mark Adams (Artistic Director, Film Critic, United Kingdom); Lyes Salem (Actor, Film Director, Algeria); David D’Arcy (Journalist, Film Critic, United Kingdom); and Ossama Fawzi (Film Director, Egypt).
* El Gouna Gold Star for Feature Narrative Film: SCARY MOTHER, by Ana Urushadze
* El Gouna Silver Star for Feature Narrative film: THE INSULT, by Ziad Doueri (Variety Award for Best Arab Director of the year from eminent film critics and journalists Nick Vivarelli and Jay Weissberg).
* El Gouna Bronze Star for Feature Narrative film: ARRHYTHMIA directed by Boris Khlebnikov, from Russia.
* El Gouna Star for Best Arab Feature Narrative: PHOTOCOPY directed by Tamer Ashry, Egypt
* El Gouna Star for Best Actor (of a film in the feature narrative competition): Daniel Gimenez Cacho from the film ZAMA by Lucrecia Martel, Argentina
* El Gouna Star for Best Actress: Nadia Kounda, from the film VOLUBILIS by Faouzi Bensaidi, from Morocco.

Feature Documentary Competition
The jury comprised Deborah Young (Journalist, Film Critic, Screenwriter, USA, Jury President); Sitora Alieva (Film Curator, Russia); Tamer Karawan (Composer, Egypt); Subniv Babuta (Broadcaster, Documentary Film-Maker, Writer, United Kingdom) and Sean McAllister (Film Director, United Kingdom).
* El Gouna Gold Star: I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO directed by Raoul Peck, Haiti / USA / France
* El Gouna Silver Star: BRIMSTONE & GLORY directed by Viktor Jakovleski
* El Gouna Bronze Star for Feature Documentary Film: MRS. FANG directed by Wang Bing, from China
* El Gouna Star for Best Arab Feature Documentary: I HAVE A PICTURE: FILM NUMBER 1001 IN THE LIFE OF THE OLDEST EXTRA IN THE WORLD, by Mohamed Zedan, Egypt
* The Mentor Arabia Award for best documentary: SOUFRA, by Thomas Morgan
* Cinema for Humanity Audience Award: SOUFRA, by Thomas Morgan

Short Film Competition
Jury composed of Nelly Karim (Actor, Egypt, Jury President), Najwa Najjar (Film Director, Palestine); Ali Mostafa (Film Director, UAE); Anissa Daoud (Producer, Actress, Tunisia) and Nina Rodriguez (Film Curator, Mexico)
* El Gouna Gold Star: NIGHTSHADE (NACHTSCHADE) directed by Shady El-Hamus, from Netherlands.
* El Gouna Silver Star for short film: MERRY-GO-ROUND (LALAY-BALALAY), by Ruslan Bratov from Russia
* El Gouna Bronze Star for Short Film; MAMA BOBO directed jointly by Robin Luc Andelfinger and Ibrahima Seydi, from France-Belgium-Senegal.
* El Gouna Star for Best Arab Short Film: PUNCHLINE, by Christophe M. Saber, a Swiss national of Egyptian origin.
* Film Factory Award for the Best Short Film: BAGHDAD PHOTOGRAPHER (MOSAWER BAGHDAD), by Mejd Hameed, from Iraq.

THE TEAM
GFF founder: Engineer Naguib Sawiris, Engineer Samih Sawiris
GFF co-founder and CEO of GFF’s organizing company: Amr Mansi
GFF co-founder and COO of GFF’s organizing company: Bushra Rozza
CFO OF THE ORGANIZING COMPANY OF GFF: Kamal Zadeh

Programmateurs / Consultants
Amir Ramsès
Teresa Cavina
Nicole Gillet
Raman Chawla

Festival Director: Intishal Al Timimi.