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Cairo fest reboots

Event will reflect changes in Middle East

The Cairo Film Festival will unspool with a new look and an entirely different agenda.

Celebrating its 35th year and witnessing revolutionary times in Egypt and other Arabic countries, the fest will reflect more of what’s taking place in the region.

“It’s a new era and an important call for a huge leap forward for CFF,” said Soheir Abdel Kader, VP of the oldest international film fest in the Middle East. “We want to be part of these important events, and to do so we are going through a reborn stage. We always wanted to reflect the Arabic and the international industries,” she added.

The fest, supported by the Egyptian Ministry of Culture, has been a force in the region. It was established in the movie capital of the Arab film industry in 1976 and became the place to be for Arab and African filmmakers.

But the Cairo fest found itself unable to match the generous budgets of the new fests that have sprung up in the Gulf States — Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha.

“In comparison, we might have limited resources, but what we certainly have is the representation of the oldest film center in the whole region, and the respect of the film community,” Abdel Kader said.

Earlier this year, amid the huge changes that were taking place in Egypt and other Arab countries, a rumor circulated that the event might be cancelled. But a fest rep said it was even more important that it be held this year. It runs Nov. 29 to Dec. 8.