El Gouna Film Festival (GFF) in collaboration with the Black Nights Film Festival (PÖFF) celebrates Arab cinema by hosting the biggest Arab retrospective program in the European continent at the 23rd edition of PÖFF, which takes place from November 15 to December 1, 2019 in Tallinn, Estonia.
The opening ceremony of PÖFF was attended by GFF Chief Operating Officer and Co-founder Ms Bushra Rozza as well as GFF Founder Mr Naguib Sawiris; who presented PÖFF's official candle toTiina Lokk-Tramberg, Founder, Director and Head of the Program at PÖFF; who will present it at the closing ceremony to the representative of the guest country that will host the retrospective program next year.
Engineer Naguib Sawiris expressed his happiness to visit Tallinn, Estonia for the first time and stressed on the importance of such collaborations between festivals to support Arab cinema.
During the festival; GFF in collaboration with PÖFF hosts In Focus: Sizzling Arabia a program dedicated to showcase a selection of the best productions of the past decade and a few very recent works that shouldn’t be missed. This program, which is curated by GFF Director Mr Intishal Al Timimi, is the fruit of GFF’s stated objectives and collaborations to further support and promote Arab Cinema around the world.
The program included a total of 14 films, six of which were produced in 2019 like; PÖFF’s opening film Adam directed by Mariam Touzani, Samir’s Baghdad in My Shadow, Algerian director Mounia Meddour’s Papicha, Feras Fayyad’s The Cave, Sudanese director Suhaib Gasmelbari’s Talking About Trees; the recipient of El Gouna Golden Star for Documentary Film at the 3rd edition of GFF, also GFF’s Gold Star winner You Will Die at Twenty, Amjad Abu Alala’s first cinematic experience.
From previous years the program will showcase; Faouzi Bensaidi’s Death for Sale (2011), Hany Abu-Assad’s 3rd feature film Omar (2013), Iraqi Odyssey (2014) by Samir, Naji Abu Nowar’s Theeb (2014), Mohamed Ben Attia’s debut feature Hedi (2015) ,Leyla Bouzid’s first film As I Open My Eyes (2016), Saudi cinema’s feature Barakah Meets Barakah (2016) by director Mahmoud Sabagh and last but not least The Reports on Sarah and Saleem (2018) by director Muayad Alayan.
"It is with great excitement and enthusiasm we open the 23rd edition of the festival, that has set its focus on Arab cinema. Working together with El Gouna Film Festival has been an utmost privilege and we thank its team for the kind support they have given us! We also thank Mr Intishal Al Timimi for the concise program he has curated for us, that allows our audience to explore the diverse and exciting world of Arab cinema. We are looking forward to continuing our collaboration in the future, hoping to make Black Nights a springboard for the Arab film industry in our region and even further," commented Tiina Lokk-Tramberg, Founder, Director and Head of the Program of the Black Nights Film Festival.
On the other hand, GFF Director Intishal Al Timimi expressed his happiness with this cooperation saying, “GFF aims to support all forms of Arab cinema through various partnerships with international film festivals and fund programs.” And he added, “We are proud to cooperate with a huge festival like PÖFF; that in a short time became one of the main festivals that provides a window into Arab and international cinema to the Baltic region.”
Launched in 1997, the Black Nights Film Festival has grown to be one of the biggest film festivals in its region, screening around 250 features and more than 300 shorts and animations, and seeing an attendance of 80,000 people annually. It is the only FIAPF-accredited (International Federation of Film Producers Association) competitive film festival in Northern Europe, and a regional gateway for international cinema and film projects, bringing cinema d’auteur to local audiences while helping films start and continue their festival run and find distribution. In 2018, the festival was covered in 78 languages with a potential global media and social media audience of over 1.5 billion people.
About El Gouna Film Festival
The mission of El Gouna Film Festival is to showcase a wide variety of films for a passionate and knowledgeable audience, and to foster better communication between cultures through the art of filmmaking. Its goal is to connect filmmakers from the region with their international counterparts in the spirit of cooperation and cultural exchange. GFF is committed to the discovery of new voices, and strives to be a catalyst for the development of cinema in Egypt and the Arab world, particularly through its industry segment, CineGouna Platform. The festival is held annually in the marvelous Egyptian Red Sea resort town of El Gouna. Its 3rd edition will take place from September 19 to 27, 2019.