This year, the Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF) will showcase a significant and rich selection of Egyptian and Arab films, constituting nearly a quarter of the festival’s programme. These selections encompass a diverse range of Arabic films, including world premieres and internationally acclaimed films that have garnered public and critical acclaim at various international film festivals.
CIFF is committed to allowing its audience to experience the most recent cinematic offerings from Egypt and the Arab world. The festival is delighted to unveil the confirmed lineup of Egyptian and Arab films featured in its programme till the moment.
In the Official Competition, four films from the Arab world will be selected, including Deserts, the latest and eagerly anticipated film of the esteemed Moroccan filmmaker Faouzi Bensaïdi. The film had its world premiere in the Directors’ Fortnight section of the Cannes Film Festival.
The competition’s lineup from Lebanon also includes Mira Shaib’s latest film, Arze, which will see its world premiere in Cairo. The film features Diamand Bou Abboud in the lead role. Further, in his new cinematic journey, Back to Alexandria, Egyptian-Swiss director Tamer Ruggli, will transport viewers between Cairo and Alexandria, with legendary French actress Fanny Ardant sharing the screen with the Lebanese star Nadine Labaki.
Finally, The Yellow Bus, an Emirati-Indian production spearheaded by Wendy Bednraz and featuring Syrian actress Kinda Alloush, stands out as OSN original production, having made its world premiere at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival.
As for the documentary competition, two Arab films will see their world premiere. From Lebanon, Cilama by Hady Zaccak, revolves around the director’s memories and the people and cinema of Tripoli. Egyptian director Aya Yusuf will present her film, Samar: Before The Final Picture, which is set between Cairo and Dubai, where Samar tries to rebuild her life after being assaulted by her former partner.
In addition, the Syrian film Under the Sky of Damascus, directed by Talal Derki, Heba Khaled and Ali Wajeeh, will be screened in Cairo after it saw its world premiere at the Berlin Film Festival early this year. Also, the competition will include the Palestinian film, Three Promises, directed by Yousef Srouji, which saw its world premiere at the Visions du Reel Festival.
In the Horizons of Arab Cinema Competition, the Saudi film, To My Son, starring and directed by Dhafer L’Abidine and produced by MBC Studios, revolves around a Saudi father and son returning to the kingdom after living in the UK for a long period.
In addition, the competition’s opening film will be the Lebanese documentary Dancing on the Edge of a Volcano, by Cyril Aris, which captures the making of Mounia Akl’s latest and award-winning film, Costa Brava, Lebanon. The competition also includes three other films, including Baghdad Messi, directed by Belgian-Iraqi director Sahim Omar Kalifa, the latest film by Moroccan director Hicham Lasri Moroccan Badass Girl, and finally Yemen’s Oscar entry, The Burdened by Amr Gamal.
The Short Film Competition includes 10 Egyptian and Arab films, seven of which will have world premieres: Promise to the Sea by Hend Sohail (Egypt), For Good Luck by Samer Battikhi (Jordan), Enough Water to Drown by Joseph Adel (Egypt), Passing Day by Rasha Shahin (Syria), Wishes for my Heart by Sherien Diab (Egypt), The Last Dismissal by Jawaher Alamri (Saudi Arabia) and The Poem We Sang by Annie Sakkab (Palestine).
In addition, the Cairo short film audience will get to see three films which premiered in the world’s top international festivals: I Promise You Paradise by Egyptian director Mourad Mustafa, which was screened at the Critics’ Week at the Cannes Film Festival Cannes, I Come From the Sea by Lebanese director Feyrouz Serhal, which was screened at the Shanghai International Film Festival, and If the Sun Drowned Into An Ocean of Clouds by Lebanese director Wessam Sharaf, which participated in this year’s Venice Film Festival.
Finally, Muayad Elayyan’s A House in Jerusalem (Palestine), which premiered at this year’s International Film Festival Rotterdam, will be screened in the Midnight Screenings section.
Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF) is one of the oldest and most regular festivals in the Arab world and Africa, and is the only festival in the Arab and African region registered in the category A of the International Federation of Producers in Prasles, France, FIAPF.