As we approach the end of this year’s film festival, it’s starting to get quieter around the Opera House grounds. But people are still taking selfies everywhere. Many are using #ciff2015 or #ciff37 on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Social media has not really gone crazy this year. I looked on Twitter to see what people have been saying:
There have also been comments in recent days about how not that many Egyptian filmmakers or actors attended. I looked at the press and it seems there was an organizational mishap – invitations were apparently not sent out on time. I’m not sure if this is true, but there haven’t been that many celebrity sightings apart from a few actors attending screenings.
Very few cast or crew members for international films have been present either. The Russian plane crash, travel warnings and general instability in the region most likely discouraged them. Most notably, Meryl Streep and the rest of Ricki and the Flash cast and crew, who excused themselves last minute although their film opened the fest.
But a few directors and producers did attend. The Afghan-Canadian director of Mina Walking (2015), Yousef Baraki, led a very lively Q&A after the film screened on Monday (photo up top). It is part of the official completion and had a very good reception from the audience.
Also, the DOP and producer for The Wednesday Child (Lili Horvath, 2015) were both present for that screening. They read a letter from the director in which she apologized for not being able to attend.
I know that a number of consulates in Egypt got free tickets to screenings of films from their countries. I had a very interesting discussion with some Mexican families living in Egypt before the 600 Millas screening (Gabriel Ripstein, 2015).
Now I’m off to see my very first Cinema of Tomorrow screening. This is a section of the festival that is relatively new, where filmmakers with work-in-progress projects screen parts of their films to an audience to get feedback. There is a prize too and a concurrent Film Connect event where they can talk to potential backers. A lot of Higher Cinema Institute students are involved in the Cinema of Tomorrow section — either as volunteers or participating filmmakers. But there are projects from many countries around the world.
Ricki and the Flash, the opening film, plays today, Wednesday, at 8.30 pm in the Main Hall. Two Egyptian films I am really looking forward to seeing are The Price (Hisham Issawi, 2014), which screens within the Arab Horizons section on Thursday and Friday, and Kawthar Younis’ A Present From the Past (2015), which screened last Friday to very good feedback from the audience and will screen again this Friday at 1.30 pm.