The management of the 41st edition of the Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF, 20-29 November 2019), announced that it is working on strengthening of its three sections: Virtual Reality, Midnight Screenings, and Gala Screenings.
The decision comes after the unprecedented artistic success as well as the audience’s high interest in those sections during the festival’s 40th edition (20 and 29 November 2018).
Moreover, the development of those sections assures that the CIFF complies with the cinematic tradition practiced by the renowned international festivals such as Cannes Film Festival and Venice Film Festival.
Shifting the role of a viewer from passive observer to active participant, the Virtual Reality program provides the audience with a unique opportunity to experience a different world through the VR headset.
In the festival’s 40th edition 11 films participated in the Virtual Reality section, with their duration ranging between 5 and 18 minutes.
The section included entries such as a documentary The Wild Immersion (UK), an animated film Lucid (USA), alongside Egypt Virtual Tour (France) and Home After War (Italy).
The section also presented the first works of the VR cinema produced by African countries: In Bakassi (Nigeria), The Other Dakar (Senegal), Spirit Robot (Ghana), Let This Be a Warning (Kenya), and Nairobi Berries (Nairobi).
The Midnight Screenings section features crime, horror, action, science fiction, which are cinematic genres that do not always fit into the traditional segments of many international festivals. With screenings starting at midnight, those films proved very successful especially among the younger generation Egyptian viewers.
Last festival presented seven films in the Midnight Screenings section: Dashra, first horror film in the Tunisia’s cinematic history, an American crime Destroyer starring Nicole Kidman, South African thriller titled Number 37, Chinese action war film Operation Red Sea, in addition to films from the UK and France.
In parallel to development of the Virtual Reality and the Midnight Screenings sections, the CIFF’s management decided to capitalize on the great success that the Gala section saw last year.
Eight films were screened within the Gala segment during the 40th edition of the festival, attracting between 750 and 1000 viewers every night.
The White Crow (UK) was screened with director Ralph Fiennes in attendance, while An Unexpected Love (Argentina) saw the presence of the director Juan Vera along with the leading actress, and a star of the Argentinean cinema Mercedes Morán.
Russian-Kazakhstani film Ayka was attended by the director Sergei Dvortsevoy and the leading actress Samal Yeslyamova who won numerous Best Actress awards (including Cannes Film Festival) for her role portraying the title character.Other films in the Gala section were A Private War (USA) directed by Matthew Heineman and Roma (Mexico) directed by Alfonso Cuarón, winner of the 2018 Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film of the Year, Best Achievement in Directing and Best Achievement in Cinematography.The Gala segment also included three Egyptian films – Immobilia Crime Story, EXT. Night and The Giraffe – screened in attendance of the directors: Khaled El Hagar, Ahmad Abdalla and Ahmed Magdy respectively.