El Gouna Film Festival to go on despite pandemic

The El Gouna Film Festival (GFF) announced that its fourth edition has been rescheduled to October 23-31, one month later than initially planned. The coming edition has confirmed 16 international films, among them “Bad Tales” (Italy, Switzerland) by Damiano and Fabio D’Innocenzo.
Thursday 20/08/2020
Egyptian actress Nelly Karim (L) and other guests at the second edition of El-Gouna Film Festival at the Egyptian Red Sea resort of El-Gouna on September 20, 2018. (AFP)
Egyptian actress Nelly Karim (L) and other guests at the second edition of El-Gouna Film Festival at the Egyptian Red Sea resort of El-Gouna on September 20, 2018. (AFP)

El GOUNA, Egypt- El Gouna Film Festival (GFF) announced that its fourth edition has been rescheduled to October 23-31, one month later than initially planned, in the Egyptian resort town of El Gouna.

“There is no doubt that the ongoing pandemic has impacted the festival circuit, just like it has the rest of the world,” the GFF team, under the leadership of Intishal al-Timimi, said in a statement. “At El Gouna Film Festival (GFF), the operations team is putting in place several plans that will ensure the safety of all festival participants and guests.”

Egyptian actress Bushra Rozza takes a selfie with Syrian directors Talal Derki and his wife Heba Khaled Sherine during the third edition of the Gouna Film Festival (GFF) on September 26, 2019. (AFP)
Egyptian actress Bushra Rozza takes a selfie with Syrian directors Talal Derki and his wife Heba Khaled Sherine during the third edition of the Gouna Film Festival (GFF) on September 26, 2019. (AFP)

“Despite the current global challenges, we are committed to showcasing important works of the year from around the world at the festival’s fourth edition, and thanks to the confidence that the international film community has given us, I am pleased to announce that our pursuit of the best films has all the support possible,” Timimi stressed.

The coming edition has confirmed 16 international films, among them “Bad Tales” (Italy, Switzerland) by Damiano and Fabio D’Innocenzo. The film is the winner of the Silver Bear Award for Best Screenplay at the 70th Berlin Film Festival.

Another gem in the GFF 2020 selection is “Days of Cannibalism” (France, South Africa, Netherlands), a hybrid documentary where Teboho Edkins sheds light on the barren canyons of the Thaba-Tseka district in sparsely populated eastern Lesotho.

The programme also includes “Irradiated” (France, Cambodia) by acclaimed director Rithy Panh, a documentary about people who have survived the irradiation of war. The festival will also host “Delete History” (France), directed by Benoît Delepine and Gustave Kervern, which tells the story of three neighbours who come to terms with the consequences of the new world of social media.

Also among the selections is “Berlin Alexanderplatz” (Germany, Netherlands), a contemporary retelling of Alfred Doblin’s classic 1929 novel of German modernism of the same title, directed by Burhan Qurbani.

16 International Films Confirmed for the 4th Edition of El Gouna Film Festival. (El Gouna Film Festival website)
16 International Films Confirmed for the 4th Edition of El Gouna Film Festival. (El Gouna Film Festival website)

Also included is the Serbian film “Father” by director Srdan Golubovic, which tells the story of a father who is ordered to give up his two children to social services after his wife attempts suicide. Also featured is Viggo Mortensen’s directorial debut “Falling” (United States, Canada), which explores the fractures and contrasts of a modern family.

From France comes “Banksy Most Wanted,” a collaboration between Aurelia Rouvier and Seamus Haley. It is an in-depth portrait of the masked Robin Hood, Banksy. Also from France comes Samir Guesmi’s film “Ibrahim,” a feature narrative about an adolescent dreamer who is involved in a shoplifting scam that lands his father, with whom he has a difficult relationship, with an unexpected debt.

“Another Round” (Denmark), directed by Thomas Vinterberg follows four friends — all high school teachers — as they test a theory that they can improve their lives by maintaining a certain level of intoxication at all times. Another notable film is Ivan Ikic’s “Oasis” (Serbia), a feature that shows a glimpse of the lives of children born with intellectual disabilities, abandoned by their families and placed in specialised institutions.

“The Whaler Boy” (Russia, Poland, Belgium) by Philipp Yuryev is an adventure tale of young Chukchi Hunter Lyoshka who becomes spellbound by a stunning girl “from the computer” and sets out on a dangerous journey to find her.

From Switzerland comes “Peel,” an animated documentary by Samuel Patthey and Silvain Monney that follows the daily routine of an isolated retirement home. Another animated film is “Pilar” (Netherlands), which tells the story of a post-apocalyptic city where nature slowly reclaims the streets.

International premiere “Influencer” (Spain) is a short from Spain by director Ruben Barbosa examining how a popular influencers had four million of her followers stolen.

Bad Tales (Italy, Switzerland) by directors Damiano and Fabio D’Innocenzo is part of the festival’s line-up this year.(El Gouna Film Festival website)
Bad Tales (Italy, Switzerland) by directors Damiano and Fabio D’Innocenzo is part of the festival’s line-up this year.(El Gouna Film Festival website)

Georgi M. Unkovski’s short “Sticker” (Republic of North Macedonia) shares the experience of Dejan who, after an unsuccessful attempt to renew his car registration, falls into a bureaucratic trap that tests his determination to be a responsible father.

Eighteen projects have also been chosen (12 in development, and six in post-production) on the basis of their content, artistic vision and overall financial feasibility. The best project in development and film in post-production will receive a CineGouna Platform certificate and a cash prize of $15,000 each.