Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF) held an opening ceremony yesterday, December 2nd, amidst global Covid-19 pandemic challenges.
The event was held at the Cairo Opera House where Arab celebrities walked the red carpet. The ceremony was hosted by Egyptian actor Ashraf Abdel Baky in the presence of the festival’s president Mohamed Hefzy and numerous Egyptian and international guests.
The ceremony kicked off with a performance by famed Egyptian singer Tamer Hosny. The CIFF president Mohamed Hefzy talked the many problems that the cinema faced this year in his speech, including the shut down of movie theatres for several months.
While the CIFF assures implementation of all precautions to avoid the spreading of Covid-19, it has provided a free PCR test for each guest that takes part in the event’s opening ceremony.
Hefzy expressed that holding the festival despite all challenges and the presence of the international guests are important steps towards bringing back life to normal. He thanked the ministries of culture and tourism for extending help and support for this year’s edition.
The ceremony also included screening of a video featuring the executives from the top international festivals sharing the solidarity message with Hefzy. The video included words from Thierry Frémaux, the director of the Cannes Film Festival; Carlo Chatrian, the artistic director of the Berlin International Film Festival, and Alberto Barbera, the director of the Venice International Film Festival.
Menna Shalaby, who last year was given the Faten Hamama Excellence Award presented this year’s award to Mona Zaki on stage. Mona Zaki expressed her gratitude recalling the beginning of her career, when as a very young and amateur actress she has been always attending the consecutive editions of CIFF.
Filmmaker Sherif Arafa who was awarded last year, honored Egypt’s renowned screenwriter Waheed Hamed and the British writer and director Christopher Hampton with the Golden Pyramid for Lifetime Achievement Award.
The opening ceremony ended with the screening of British-French film The Father co-written and directed by Florian Zeller. The film stars the Oscar, and BAFTA winner Anthony Hopkins. The film had its Middle East and Africa premiere in Cairo.
Running between 2 and 10 December, the 42nd CIFF holds a large programme with 84 films representing the latest and most important productions of 2020. The screenings take place at numerous locations Cairo.