He noted that the Carthage Film Festival, the El Gouna Film Festival, and the Red Sea International Film Festival, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, all occur around the same time.
“The festival is experiencing challenges of competition from other Arab festivals in recent years: competition on the selection of films, premieres, and other related programs,” he said. However, he added: “This is a positive aspect that supports film industry and satisfies fans of art.”
A Success, Despite Covid-19 Pressures
Despite that, Mahmoud considers that holding the festival on time was “a great step, in light of pressures caused by the coronavirus pandemic, which still casts a shadow over artistic performances and events worldwide.”
Emir Kusturica, the prominent Serbian director, chaired the jury for the international competition section of this year’s festival. Kusturica, whose honors include twice winning the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, also spoke at one of the festival’s seminars.
The festival also honored the Indian composer A.R. Rahman, whose film scores have won several awards, including two Oscars.
The events included the screening of more than 100 films, from more than 60 countries, and presented awards in several categories.
“We always see that juries have their own view on awards,” Mahmoud said. “Critics may agree or disagree with it, but it is certain that public audience had an opportunity to watch films that won prizes at international festivals, and this is good.”
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Fifteen films competed in the festival’s international competition section. They included the Egyptian film “Abu Saddam“, whose star, Mohamed Mamdouh, won the festival’s Best Actor award. Most of the film’s events take place inside the cab of a tractor-trailer truck, driven by the title character Abu Saddam. During his constant movement on the road, he reflects aspects of the world in which he lives and its intersections with the worlds of many characters around him. The film is directed by Nadine Khan.
Presenting Saudi Women’s Views
The “Horizons of Arab Cinema” competition featured a dozen films. They included “Becoming”, a Saudi feature that comprises five short films by five Saudi women directors: Fatima Al-Banawi, Hind Al-Fahhad, Jawaher Al-Aamri, Noor Al-Ameer, and Sara Mesfer. The film deals with topics that shed light on the lives of Saudi women.