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Cairo fest holds on among competing meets

Italian pic wins film festival

CAIRO — The 28th Cairo film fest showed that it remains the top Arab fest, despite the Dubai and Marrakesh fests coinciding at the same time.

“The Cairo Festival is not competing with other festivals since there are few Arab cinema showcases so we must work out non-conflicting dates for next year,” said fest prexy Cherif Shoubashy, who also is Egypt’s international cultural secretary.

Jury president Carlo Fuscagni, head of Cinecitta, welcomed a large Italian contingent with the Gold Pyramid award going to Lucianno Odorisio’s political drama “Guardian of the Clouds.” Director prize went to Argentinean Hector Olivera for “Ay Juancito” about Evita Peron’s brother, with its actor Adrian Navarro sharing the prize with Greek “Dust” star Sophocles Peppas.

Controversial Egyptian film, “Looking for Freedom” by Inas El Degheidy, about Egyptian girls on the loose in Paris, took the cash award for Arab film.

Distribs and producers schmoozed at a roundtable on distribution between the Arab world and Europe, with participants including Spanish Sogepaq buyer Beatriz Setuain, Lebanese distrib Samy Khoury, Europa Cinema director Claude Poiroux.

Vincento Bugno from the Berlinale World Cinema Fund held a conference to further the Euro-Egypt connection and said, “We are here personally here for the first time in an Arab country to attract film applications for a e1.5 million ($2 million) three-year project since most Arab applications were only coming from Europe.”

Egypt-American director Jehane Noujaim’s “Control Room” on Al Jazeera during the Iraq war was a first for the Cairo Fest, which doesn’t normally program docs. The docu received a rousing reception and was well-received at the Dubai Film Fest as well.

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