Conclusion of 24th of Ismailia International Film Festival for Documentaries & Shorts By announcing the awards
The activities of the 24th Ismailia International Film Festival for Documentaries & Shorts concluded this evening, in the Ismailia Cultural Palace, in the presence of Dr. Nevin Al-Kilani, Minister of Culture, Major General Staff Sherif Fahmy Bishara, Governor of Ismailia, Dr. Khaled Abdel Jalil, Advisor to the Minister of Culture, Editor Manar Hosni, Head of the National Cinema Center, film critic Essam Zakaria, the festival's president, and a large number of documentaries and short films makers from inside and outside Egypt.
The closing ceremony began with the national anthem, followed by a video compilation of the activities of the 24th edition, accompanied by a recorded song, written by Ahmed Raoul, composed by Karim Arafa, arranged by Ayman Al-Turki, and sung by Asma Lazreq.
During the ceremony, the Minister of Culture, Dr. Nevin Al-Kilani, honored Major General Staff Sherif Fahmy Bishara, Governor of Ismailia, for his support of the Ismailia Festival.
The closing ceremony was presented by Media presenter Hala Al-Hamlawi, and directed by Hisham Atwa. The festival’s director, critic/Essam Zakaria, said in his speech: “This session was characterized by a distinguished youth presence, starting with the team work that I had the pleasure of working with, Executive Director Rami El-Metwaly, the wonderful programmers, Arwa Tag Eldeen, Rasha Hosni, Ibrahim Saad, Marwan Ammar, and the rest of the executive team; all the way to dozens of students and young filmmakers, hosted by the festival, who added a brilliant youth and cultural spirit to this edition”.
“This edition was also characterized by a distinctive women's presence, whether as work staff or as part of international competitions jury, in which women constituted 80%, as well as filmmakers”. Zakaria added “In fact, this was not deliberate or contrived, but it came naturally, reflecting the increasing presence of women in the international and Arab cinematic field”.
Zakaria concluded his speech by saying: "I want to thank everyone who contributed to the launch of this edition and put puzzle pieces in their right place. Thanks to Dr. Nevin Al-Kilani, Minister of Culture for her constant support, Dr. Khaled Abdel Jalil, Advisor to the Minister of Culture for Cinema Affairs, and Ms. Manar Hosni, Head of the National Cinema Center, the organizing body of Ismailia festival, who did her best to make this edition come out in the best way. And of course, thanks go out to my colleagues at the National Cinema Center, the residence, the airport & the press center teams, the volunteers, dozens of unknown soldiers, and our honorable guests from outside and inside Egypt who made us happy with their presence, participation, and films that are the beating heart of any festival”.
In her speech, National Cinema Center Head, Manar Hosni, said: “Along the festival’s week, I was pleased with the important events, international and local discussions, and seminars. All of which yielded enormous cultural momentum, and this was the fruitful goal of the festival. I would like to thank all those in charge of this festival, especially HE the Minister of Culture, Dr. Nevine Al-Kilani, and Dr. Khaled Abdel-Jalil, Advisor to the Minister of Culture for Cinema Affairs, on all the assistance they have provided in conducting this edition properly”.
Hosni added: “Dear attendees, beautiful days have passed; we are on the verge of decent days, so let me seize this opportunity to congratulate the audience on the advent of the holy month of Ramadan. Finally, I would like to thank all my colleagues from the National Film Center for the effort they made to produce this course properly”.
The awards were then distributed to the winners. The International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) jury announced that the film "My Lost Country" from Iraq, directed by Ishtar Yassin, won the Federation’s award. FIPRESCI Jury is headed by the writer and editor-in-chief of the German electronic film magazine Friedrich Jaeger, and includes the Saudi journalist and critic Ahmed Al-Ayyad and the Egyptian writer and critic Dr. Amal El-Gamal as members.
The Jury of the Long Documentary films Competition, chaired by Cecil Tully Polonisek, and whose members include Lee King Ho, Mais Darwazah, Majid Mufasagi, and Dr. Salma Mubarak, announced its awards. The film “A Life Like any other” produced by “Bulgaria-France” and directed by “Faustine Cros” won the first prize, with a value of $3,000. The movie “My Lost Country,” from Iraq, directed by Ishtar Yassin, won the second prize, with a value of $2,000. The movie “Notes on Exodus" by Khaled Jarrar, "Palestine - Germany," received a special mention.
As for the Short Documentary Films Competition, the film “Neighbor Abadi” from Netherlands, directed by Dowie Dijkstra, won the first prize with a value of $3,000. The film “Tahtouh” from Algeria, directed by Mohamed Waly, won the second prize with a value of $2,000.
The Jury of the Short films Fiction Competition, chaired by “Signe Boman”, and including Anne-Sophia Jacques, Vasilis C. Kramatsanis, Nabila Rezaik, Nadine Khan as members, also announced its prizes. The first prize of $3,000 went to the film "Please Hold the Line" from Malaysia, directed by Tan Si Ding. The second prize, of $2,000, went to the film "Snow in September" directed by "Luca Gevadolam Purev", produced by "France Mongolia". In addition to a special mention for the movie "Will You Look at Me", from China, directed by Shuli Huang.
In the animation Films Competition, "Home of the Heart" from France, directed by Sarah Saidan, won the first prize of $3,000. "Kenopasia" from Egypt, directed by Mohamed Omar, won the second prize of $2,000; in addition to a special mention for the "Think Something Nice", directed by Claudius Gentinitta, from Sweden.
Finally, the Jury of the Students’ Film Competition, chaired by Producer Dr. Muhammad Al-Adl, and including Dr. Samir Farag and director Ahmed Rashwan as members, announced its prizes presented by Synergy Company. The first prize of EGP15,000went to "Manufacturing Defect", directed by “Muhammad Nassef”. The second prize, of EGP10,000, went to "The Day I Saw You" directed by "Muhammad Hany". In addition to a special mention for "The Mobtadayan Appartment", and “Noon”, directed by Raneem Abu Yemen and Nada Yasser, respectively.
It is worth noting that the Ismailia Festival is held by the National Cinema Center, headed by Editor Manar Hosni, and Critic Essam Zakaria presided over its 24th edition. About 123 films from 50 countries are participating in this edition, including 16 long documentaries, 14 short documentaries, 20 short fiction films, 18 animation films, and 17 student films. The festival also screened 4 films for the honorees, 5 films in the Hybrid film program, 17 films in the very short film program, and 4 films in the portrait film program. Additionally, the festival screens two films out of competition. The festival celebrated German cinema, the guest of honor of this edition, by showing 6 films.
This edition witnessed many events, tools and research seminars in the presence of senior critics and writers; in addition to a trip for the festival’s foreign guests to the Giza pyramids area, to visit the tourist places in Cairo.
The Ismailia Festival is one of the oldest festivals in the Arab world and the first Arab festival to specialize in documentaries and short films since its first edition in 1991.