×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Cairo Film Connection Mixes Established, Emerging Talent

An ample assortment of new Arab cinema will be on display at the revived Cairo Film Connection, where new projects by established helmers, including Egypt’s Osama Fawzy (“I Love Cinema”), Iraq’s Koutaiba Al-Janabi (“Leaving Baghdad”), and Syria’s Soudade Kaadan (“The Day I Lost My Shadow”), will be vying for more than $100,000 in prizes with works from promising up and comers.

The 17 CFC projects in various stages from Egypt, Lebanon, Libya, Tunisia, Jordan, Palestine Algeria, Syria, and Morocco were selected out of 107 submissions. They comprise dramas, docs, and potentially groundbreaking genre films with gravitas such as black comedy “Inshallah a Boy,” by Jordanian first-timer Amjad Al Rasheed, about a widow who due to Islamic Sharia law finds herself in dire need of a male child to stop her in-laws from taking possession of her home.

Al Rasheed, who is a Berlinale Talents alumni, said in press notes that he grew up in a family consisting mostly of women where he listened to their stories “about separation, infidelity, mistreatment, sacrifice and even abuse,” which made him determined to use filmmaking “to highlight women’s struggles…and their coping strategies.”

Another project with fresh tropes being showcased at CFC is musical “When We’re Born,” which interweaves three tales of people doing things for those they love: Amin, who works as a male prostitute to “fulfill his wife’s dream of an apartment”; Farah, a devout Christian who struggles with her love for a Muslim man; and Ahmed, a talented musician contending with a beloved father who has other career plans for him. Developed by the Sundance Lab, this pic, now in post, is helmed by Tamer Ezzat, co-director of doc “Tahrir 2011: The Good, The Bad, and The Politician,” which went to Venice.

Osama Fawzy, the veteran whose controversial 2004 “I Love Cinema” was praised by Variety critic Dennis Harvey as a “pleasing, robust Egyptian “Amarcord,” is pitching supernatural pic “Rosy Black,” which revolves around the magical powers of an ancient book by Galileo; London-based Koutaiba Al-Janabi, who is a pluriprized filmmaker and photographer, will show footage of “The Woodman,” the third installment in his trilogy about migration/alienation in which a life-sized wooden dummy who appears to have a soul is haunted by evil powers.

France-born Soudade Kaadan, whose “The Day I Lost My Shadow,” set at the outbreak of Syria’s civil war in 2012, recently scooped Venice’s Lion of the Future for first features, will be pitching her followup, “Nezouh,” which similarly takes place in Damascus but after the conflict has escalated.

Also set in Damascus, is doc “Crystal House,” which Syria’s Zeina Al Qahwaji filmed in the war-torn city over seven years. It is now in post, as is doc “Lift Like a Girl,” about an Egyptian teenage woman determined to become a weightlifting champion, helmed by Egypt’s Mayye Zayed.

The CFC prizes are being supported by several major Middle East players, such as paybox OSN, which besides cash will be providing a prime-time slot; Ergo, the company owned by Egypt’s government, formerly known as Creative Media Ventures; New Century Productions; Front Row Distribution; Aroma Studios; Iraqi Cinema; and the Arab Cinema Center.

Front Row chief Gianluca Chakra praised Cairo fest president Mohammed Hefzy, who has reinstated the CFC, for his vision of “where the film business is heading” and his efforts in “educating a market and a region that is in dire need of modernity, quality and definitely fresh blood.”

Line-up of Film Projects for the Cairo Film Connection

Feature Narrative — Development

Inshallah A Boy | Director: Amjad AlRasheed | Jordan

East of Noon | Director: Hala El Koussy | Egypt

Once Upon a Time in Tripoli | Director: Abdullah El Ghaly | Libya

Missed You | Director: Tamer Ruggli |Egypt, Switzerland

Rosy Black | Director: Ossama Fawzy | Egypt

Severed Head | Director: Lotfi Achour | Tunisia

Longer Will Be the Night| Director: Latifa Said | Algeria

Nezou | Director: Soudade Kaadan | Syria

Spray | Director: Sherif Elbendary | Egypt

Feature Narrative—Post-production:

Before It’s Too Late | Director: Majdi Lakhdar | Tunisia

When We’re Born | Director: Tamer Ezzat | Egypt

The Woodman | Director: Koutaiba Al Janahi | Iraq

Feature Documentaries—Development:

The Fountain Of Bakhchisarai | Director: Mohamed Taher | Egypt

We Are Inside | Director: Farah Kassem | Lebanon

Feature Documentaries—Post-production:

Lift Like a Girl | Director: Mayye Zayed | Egypt

Crystal Ball | Director: Zeinah Al Qahwaji | Syria

My Mohamed Is Different | Director: Ines Marzouk | Egypt

More Film

  • Josh Brolin, Kathryn Boyd. Josh Brolin,

    'Avengers: Endgame's' Josh Brolin: Thanos' Butt Is a 'Beautiful, Purple Peach'

    On the eve of “Avengers: Endgame’s” world premiere, everyone’s thoughts have turned to the one crucial detail that could be the difference between life or death for the Avengers: Does Thanos have a butt? “I don’t know what that whole thing is about! I really don’t!” Josh Brolin, who plays Thanos, told Variety‘s Marc Malkin [...]

  • Tessa Thompson'Avengers: Endgame' Film Premiere, Arrivals,

    'Avengers: Endgame's' Tessa Thompson Says Valkyrie Would Spoon Captain Marvel, Thor

    Tessa Thompson, who plays Valkyrie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and upcoming “Avengers: Endgame,” had no problem addressing speculation about the character’s sexuality at the “Endgame” red carpet premiere Monday. The “Sorry to Bother You” actress explained that she played her Marvel character as bisexual. “In the canon, [Valkyrie] is bisexual. You see her with [...]

  • WGA Agency Packaging Fight Placeholder Writer

    Writers Guild Says Over 7,000 Members Have Fired Agents

    Over 7,000 members of the Writers Guild of America have fired their talent agents, the Hollywood union said on Monday. As promised, the guild delivered a first round of termination letters to agents in a show of support for the WGA’s full-on war with the Association of Talent Agents. “Today the Guild delivered a first [...]

  • BRAZILIAN FLAGFRENCH OPEN TENNIS, PARIS, FRANCE

    Brazil’s Ancine Freezes Incentives, Threatening Film-TV Industry Paralysis

    Brazil’s Ancine agency, its foremost public-sector source of film funding, has frozen all of its incentive programs, potentially near paralyzing new production in Latin America’s biggest film-TV industry. The dramatic decision, which has left Brazil’s industry is a state of shock and intense fear for its future, comes as it has taken further hits. In [...]

  • Jennifer Lopez

    Jennifer Lopez Reteams With STXfilms on Romantic-Comedy Co-Starring Owen Wilson

    Jennifer Lopez is reteaming with STXfilms on the upcoming romantic-comedy “Marry Me.” Kat Coiro is directing the film and Owen Wilson is in final negotiations to join the pic, which will likely shoot this fall. The script was written by John Rogers and Tami Sagher, with a rewrite by Harper Dill. Lopez and Wilson both [...]

  • Steve Golin The Revenant Spotlight Producer

    Steve Golin, Prolific Producer and Founder of Anonymous Content, Dies at 64

    Steve Golin, an Oscar-winning producer who was founder and CEO of Anonymous Content, died Sunday in Los Angeles of cancer. He was 64. Golin was a pioneer in blending the business of talent management with production. Anonymous Content, which Golin founded in 1999, worked with a stable of big name artists such as Steven Soderbergh, [...]

  • David Leitch Kelly McCormick

    'Hobbs & Shaw' Director David Leitch, Kelly McCormick Sign First-Look Deal With Universal (EXCLUSIVE)

    Universal Pictures is signing David Leitch, his longtime producing partner, Kelly McCormick and their recently founded 87North Production banner to a first-look production deal. “David and Kelly have established themselves as a distinctive, stylish filmmaking team who can do it all, from contained thrillers to franchise tentpoles,” said Universal’s president Peter Cramer. “We are confident [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content