×

Egyptian Producer Hefzy Back in Cannes With Film, New Job

It’s going to be a busy Cannes for Egyptian producer Mohammed Hefzy, who recently became Cairo Film Festival president.

He’s on the Croisette as co-producer of “Yomeddine,” Egypt’s first feature in competition in six years, and also as the man tasked with relaunching one of the oldest and most important festivals in the Arab world.

In March Hefzy was called into the office of Egypt’s Culture Minister Ines Abdel-Dayem, a former Cairo Opera House chairwoman appointed in January. She asked him to take charge of the Cairo fest. That event has been losing international luster. He accepted the next day, becoming, at age 43, the youngest president in the event’s 40-edition history, and the first chosen from within the country’s film industry ranks.

“It’s a big responsibility… there is a lot that needs to be improved,” Hefzy says. His top priority is to develop the Cairo fest’s film market, a task more crucial than ever since the Dubai Intl. Film Festival, which was the region’s only real movie market, suddenly shuttered in April, at least as an annual event.

Prior to “Yomeddine,” which Hefzy boarded at an advanced stage, his Film Clinic shingle has shepherded a steady output of well-received, often edgy, Egyptian titles that have circulated internationally, such as Mohamed Diab’s thriller “Clash,” set inside a police van during the country’s 2013 street protests, and “Sheikh Jackson,” about an Egyptian Islamic fundamentalist cleric with a secret passion for the music of Michael Jackson. It was directed by Amr Salama.

The Cairo fest job, even though Hefzy is not artistic director or chief programmer, is going to prevent him “from being a full-on producer,” at least for a while, he says.

It means Hefzy will have to do “less producing and more co-producing and distribution … getting involved in projects that I like as a co-producer,” rather than from the outset, as was the case with “Yomeddine.”

But even if the Film Clinic chief ends up doing less producing for a few years, due to Cairo fest obligations, he says he thinks it’s worth it.

“It’s important to the country, to the Arab industry, and to me personally … so I’m willing to make that sacrifice.”

That said, Hefzy is not going to give up his job heading a writers’ room that’s been adapting U.S. TV series “Suits” for Egyptian TV. “I don’t know how I’m going manage, but I’m going to have to find a way [to do it] because I’m committed,” he says.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Adam Driver appears in The Report

    'The Report' Trailer: Adam Driver Investigates Post-9/11 Interrogation Tactics

    Adam Driver is in pursuit of the truth in Amazon Studio’s first look at “The Report,” a tense political drama about the CIA’s use of torture. The film focuses on Senate staffer Daniel Jones (Driver), who begins to investigate the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program, a group created in the aftermath of 9/11. As he [...]

  • Fox Searchlight Buys 'The Personal History

    Fox Searchlight Buys 'The Personal History of David Copperfield'

    Fox Searchlight has acquired North American rights to “The Personal History of David Copperfield,” Armando Iannucci’s adaptation of Charles Dickens’ novel of the same name. The deal comes in advance of the film’s Toronto International Film Festival bow on Sept. 5, as well as its BFI London Film Festival premiere on Oct. 2. The studio [...]

  • on day 3 of the London

    Barbara Broccoli, Richard Curtis, Passion Pictures Team on Paralympics Documentary

    Oscar-winning British production company Passion Pictures is teaming up with James Bond producer Barbara Broccoli and filmmaker Richard Curtis on a new feature documentary about the Paralympic Games. The project, currently titled “Harder Than You Think,” brings together Passion’s John Battsek with producer Greg Nugent of HTYT Films, with Broccoli and Curtis both serving as [...]

  • Tribeca Film Insitute's PitchNY Program Now

    Tribeca Film Institute's PitchNY Program Kicks Off (EXCLUSIVE)

    College students and recent alumni in New York can apply to the 4th annual PitchNY program, an effort to help young, diverse directors, producers and writers fine-tune their pitching skills, as well as to connect them with entertainment industry professionals who will serve as mentors. On Thursday, Tribeca Film Institute, The New York State Governor’s [...]

  • La-camarista

    ‘The Chambermaid’ Cleans Up in the U.S.

    SANTIAGO, Chile — Call it the “Roma” effect but Mexican newcomer Lila Aviles’ engaging portrait of a hotel servant, “The Chambermaid” (“La Camarista”) has found outstanding reception in the U.S. and in multiple territories, giving hope to other arthouse films from Latin America and elsewhere that seek distribution in “fortress America.” “‘Roma’ was a beautiful, brawny and [...]

  • Beograd 20.03.2012 Milutin Petrovic, reditelj, scenarista,

    Lost Script by ABC Studios Editor Turned Into Movie and Series 'Bad Blood'

    An ambitious new Serbian feature film and 10-part television series set in the Ottoman Empire of the 19th century has emerged from a long lost script by a former editor at ABC Studios in New York City. Belgrade-based This and That Productions is producing “Bad Blood,” based on the works of renowned Serbian writer Borisav [...]

  • Gael Garcia Bernal on the Power,

    Gael Garcia Bernal on the Power, Responsibility of Cinema to ‘Provoke’

    Gael García Bernal said acting for the likes of Oscar winners Alejandro González Iñárritu and Alfonso Cuarón helped groom him for the director’s chair and praised cinema as “the only medium” that allows artists to “explore the gray areas” in unparalleled ways. “The world is so full of certainties now, and cinema is the one that [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content