×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Sylvester Stallone, ‘A Land Imagined’ Honored at El Gouna Film Festival

Egypt’s El Gouna Film Festival has wrapped its second edition, with Singaporean director Yeo Slew Hua’s noir title “A Land Imagined” winning the Golden Star, the fest’s top prize, awarded by a jury headed by Oscar-winning Croatian producer Cedomir Kolar (“No Man’s Land”).

The genre pic, shot mostly at night, is about a jaded Singapore cop investigating the disappearance of a Chinese construction worker. It previously won the Locarno Film Festival’s Golden Leopard in August. The El Gouna award carries $50,000 in prize money, to be divided equally between the director and the main producer, Fran Borgia, and his Akanga Film Asia shingle. 

Egyptian director A.B. Shawky’s unconventional road movie “Yomeddine” won Best Arab Narrative Feature award and split honors for the fest’s Cinema for Humanity audience prize with “Another Day of Life,” an animation-documentary hybrid about the experiences of war journalist Ryszard Kapuscinski in 1970s Angola. This Spanish-Polish co-production is directed by Raul de la Fuente and Damian Nenow.

Shawky was also honored during El Gouna with the Variety MENA Talent of the Year Award. “Yomeddine,” in which a middle-aged man raised in a leper colony embarks on a journey across Egypt with a sidekick and a donkey, is Shawky’s first feature and is Egypt’s candidate for the foreign-language Oscar.

British photographer-turned-director Richard Billingham’s cine-memoir “Ray and Liz” won the Gouna Silver Star, while “The Heiresses” by Paraguay’s Marcello Mattinessi won the competition’s Bronze Star. 

Acting honors went to Poland’s Joanna Kulig, star of Pavel Pawlikovsky’s “Cold War,” and to Tunisia’s Mohamed Dhrif for his performance as the determined father in Mohammed Ben Attia’s ISIS-themed “Dear Son.”

U.S. titles fared well in the documentary competition, where Participant Media’s ecological doc “Aquarela,” which is both an ode to and a wake-up call about water, took that section’s Gold Star.

Prizes for festival entries totaled more than $220,000, the same amount as last year. However, the fest more than doubled the cash prizes, now totaling $175,000, for Arabic projects at its Cinegouna co-production market, where industry presence was strong. Attending were Berlin’s newly appointed artistic director, Carlo Chatrian, Tribeca topper Frederic Boyer, and Sundance programmer Heidi Zwicker.

Following the unexpected shuttering last December of the Dubai fest and market after 14 editions, El Gouna is certainly better-positioned to play a prominent role as an Arab film industry driver and bridgehead into the Middle East for quality international films.

The closing ceremony last Friday in the Red Sea resort’s open-air auditorium drew a mix of Hollywood and Arabic stars, including Sylvester Stallone, who was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award, Owen Wilson, Patrick Dempsey, Clive Owen, Egypt’s Yousra and Yasmine Sabri, and Tunisia’s Dora Zarrouck. 

Stallone paid tribute onstage to Egypt, which he was visiting for the first time, for its “fantastic history, glory, mystery” and “its very romantic-sounding name,” before adding: “I will be back.”

Bankrolled mostly by Egyptian telecom billionaire Naguib Sawiris and directed by prominent Arab cinema programmer Intishal Al Timini, the ambitious new event ran into a political snag at its outset when Los Angeles-based Arab actor Ali Suliman, who plays terrorist Mousa Bin Suleiman in the Amazon Prime Video TV series “Jack Ryan,” was barred by Egyptian authorities from entering the country.

Suliman, who is a Palestinian born in Israel, was supposed to be a member of El Gouna’s main jury. He was reportedly carrying an Israeli passport and a Palestinian identification card. Sources say the incident, which the festival declined to comment on, was caused by a combination of an overzealous Egyptian border bureaucrat and the fact that fest organizers failed to anticipate the problem. Syrian director Soudade Kaadan, whose feature “The Day I Lost My Shadow” played in competition, was also denied entry into Egypt, a reminder of how politics can interfere with the film industry in the region.

More Film

  • Korea Box Office: "Money" Wins Debut

    Korea Box Office: 'Money' Defeats 'Captain Marvel'

    Korean crime drama “Money” debuted on top of the South Korean box office, preventing “Captain Marvel” from topping the chart for three consecutive weekends. It is the story of a young stockbroker who dreams of riches but becomes caught in a stock market scam. Opening on Wednesday, the Showbox release earned $12.0 million from 1.54 [...]

  • Us Movie

    'Us' Cements the Box Office Power of Jordan Peele

    Given the breakout success of “Get Out,” it’s no surprise audiences were salivating to see the next nightmare from the mind of writer-director Jordan Peele. “Get Out,” which landed a screenwriting Oscar for Peele, became one of the most profitable movies of 2017 (grossing $255 million globally on a $4.5 million budget) after the horror [...]

  • Box Office Film Placeholder

    China Box Office: Taiwan's 'More Than Blue' Wins Second Weekend

    Taiwanese melodrama, “More Than Blue” held strong at the Chinese box office, to secure a second week of success. The film is a Chinese-language remake of a Korean film from 2009, involving Singapore’s MM2 and the filmmaking arm of Fox Networks. With little in the way of strong, new competition, “blue” scored $27 million, according [...]

  • Noah CentineoNickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards, Show,

    Kids’ Choice Awards 2019: JoJo Siwa, Noah Centineo Take on Bullying

    This year’s Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards was full of positivity and encouragement to be yourself. DJ Khaled, known for his upbeat mantras, hosted the 32nd annual awards ceremony alongside JoJo Siwa at USC’s Galen center. Siwa accepted the award for favorite social music star. Siwa said in her acceptance speech, “I get hated on every [...]

  • Us Scriptwriter and Film-maker Larry Cohen

    Larry Cohen, Cult Horror Writer-Director of 'It's Alive,' Dies at 77

    Larry Cohen, best known for his work as a B-movie producer and director in the ’70s and his later work in screenwriting, has died. He was 77. Cohen’s friend, actor and publicist Shade Rupe, confirmed the news, which was announced in a post to Cohen’s official Facebook page. Rupe said Cohen died in Los Angeles [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content