Egypt’s Ismailia International Film Festival for Documentaries and Shorts has closed its 21st edition on Tuesday at the Ismailia Cultural Palace after a one-week run with a number of performances held.
During the festival, several Egyptian films were honoured, as well as films from across the globe, with some having their world premiere, including Amr Bayoumi’s ‘Where did Ramses Go?’ which won Best Long Documentary.
Switzerland’s ‘Kids of Michael Frei’ won Best Animation while Best Short Narrative went to Mexico’s Arcangel by Angeles Cruz.
Best Short Documentary went to Kyrgyzstan’s Faraway by Begim Zholdubai Kyzy.
Egyptian-born director Amal Ramses’ ‘You Come from Far Away’ clinched two awards; the Africa Cinematographers Critics Federation Committee Award and the FIPRESCI Award.
Many critics, filmmakers and press representatives praised the festival’s organising and the programme in the artistic and logistic aspects.
“We only did what should have been done,” National Cinema Centre head Khaled Abdelgelil told Ahram Online in an interview on Tuesday, thanking the Ministry of Culture, the sponsors and all the organising team, which was headed by critic Essam Zakaria, for their effort.
Many different activities were held, attended by dozens of filmmakers and critics from across the globe, with dozens of film competing in the various categories and many others screened through parallel programmes celebrating African, French and Polish cinemas. In addition, seven filmmakers were honoured and a few workshops were held.
“Ismailia Festival has always been the window to the international scene for almost all Egyptian cinema professionals. I, myself, used to sneak into it when I was a student in the Cinema Institute. We only did the normal thing and we’re looking forward to more in the upcoming editions,” Abdelgelil said.
He also revealed that the next edition will see Arabic subtitles for all the participating films as well as a YouTube channel for the festival to be launched soon.
The festival’s opening film was ‘We Are Not Princesses’ (2018), directed by Bridgette Auger and Ittab Azzam, which tells the story of the “incredible strength and spirit of four Syrian women living as refugees in Beirut.”
Ismailia is located 100km east of the capital Cairo, with various modes of transportation available to travel the Suez Canal city.