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Khairy Beshara, Moussa Touré and Marwan Hamed to Helm Juries at the 3rd Edition of GFF



El Gouna Film Festival returns stronger this year with its 3rd edition that glamorously kicked off last night, with the aim of showcasing a wide variety of films for a passionate and knowledgeable audience in the presence of the industry’s pioneers as judges.

Here are the categories of which film are competing in and the jury panel of each!

As was the case in its previous two editions, El Gouna Film Festival, in its 3 rd edition, brings together some of the most talented international and Arab filmmakers, film critics and experts to select the winning films in its three main competitions with the participation of acclaimed films by celebrated and influential directors, in addition to exciting and innovative films by emerging filmmakers, the process of selecting the award winners is indeed a challenging task.


The jury of the Feature Narrative Competition has the iconic Egyptian film director Khairy Beshara for president. Beshara has been active in the film industry since the 1970s and is considered one of the directors who redefined realism in Egyptian cinema, he is also one of the first Arab directors to venture into digital filmmaking in the late 1990s.

Among the members is award-winning director and producer Mai Masri, one of the pillars of Palestinian and Arab cinema; Nashen Moodley, the director of the Sydney Film Festival, who served in juries at San Sebastian, Busan, Toronto, Rotterdam, Durban and Tokyo film festivals; and Resul Pookutty, Asia’s most feted sound technician, winner of an Academy Award for Best Achievement in Sound Mixing; and Stas Tyrkin, film critic and artistic director of the Dvizheniye National Debut Film Festival and the Strelka Film Festival.

Mai Masri, Palestinian Filmmaker

The Feature Documentary Competition jury is headed by acclaimed Senegalese director, producer, screenwriter and actor Moussa Touré, founder of the Moussa Invite Festival in Senegal, which aims to promote African documentaries directed by African filmmakers. The jury members include award-winning director and producer Anne Aghion, who is a panelist and juror at film festivals including Cannes and IDFA; Ludmila Cvikova, who was a programmer at the International Film Festival Rotterdam for 15 years, and has cooperated with numerous international festivals; Talal Derki, a renowned Syrian film director, producer and screenwriter who was nominated for an Academy Award in 2019; award-winning Egyptian costume designer Nahed Nasrallah, who has worked with many legendary directors such as Youssef Chahine and Yousry Nasrallah.

The Short Film Competition jury is headed by prominent Egyptian director Marwan Hamed, who received numerous awards and honors for his feature films such as The Yacoubian Building (2006) and The Blue Elephant (2014). The jury also includes Colombian-Belgian film director and cinematographer Juanita Onzaga; as well as the director of the Tampere Film Festival, Jukka-Pekka Laakso, who has served as a jury member at numerous film festivals around the world.

In addition, two acclaimed figures from the Arab world are members of the Short Film Competition jury; Iraqi director, producer and screenwriter Mohamed Daradji, whose films have been selected for leading international film festivals; and Tunisian star Dorra Zarrouk, one of the leading actresses in Egypt and the Middle East who starred in more than 30 films, theater plays and TV series across the region.

Additionally, the 3 rd edition of El Gouna Film Festival welcomes the Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema (NETPAC) jury, which will award one feature-length film by an Asian director from the GFF program. The NETPAC jury consists of Gulnara Abikeyeva, film critic and historian from Kazakhstan; Syrian-French film critic Nada Azhari; and Hasan Haddad, writer and film critic from Bahrain.

This year also marks GFF’s first time to host an International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) jury, who will award one feature-length Arab film from the lineup of the Festival. FIPRESCI jury members are Karsten Kastelan, journalist and film critic from Germany; Mervat Omar, film critic from Egypt; and Frédéric Ponsard, film critic from France.

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Highlights from “One World Together at Home” Concert



“One World Together at Home”

As you all know, yesterday’s calendar marked the celebration of World Heritage Day. In light of the coronavirus, World Heritage Day was very important for us and many people have showed appreciation and gratitude.

Many countries have celebrated this special day in their own way. For instance, Egypt gathered a large number of well know singers such as Tamer Hosny, Nancy Agram, Mohammed Mounir, and much more. The concert was amazing and quite touching, it was exactly what we Egyptians needed.

Another main event that witnessed dozens of stars on a global broadcast called “One World Together at Home” was magnanimous. It had a great combination of comedy, music, and most importantly stories from our saviors: Doctors, Nurses, and Grocery Workers.

An additional 6 hour streaming event included important appearances by Lewis Hamilton, major sports stars, British Forumula One, and much more. Also, many influences had joined this special day.

The main motive behind the concert that had occurred yesterday was to show unity and solidarity for front-line workers. This message truly moved thousands of people across the globe.

The highlights of the event was that it was organized by our one and only savior: World Health Organization (WHO). This was very important to point out because they aim to spread awareness regarding social distancing as well as trying to protect people from catching COVID-19.

Another important highlight of the night was the appearance of your favorite singers such as Lady Gaga, Celine Dion, Billie Eilish, Elton John, Muchael Buble, John Legend, and more. They all did an amazing effort and were like music to our ears.

The event aimed in encouraging companies as well as philanthropists to contribute to the WHO Solidarity Response Fund for COVID-19. For instance, Lady Gaga alone had raised $35 Million to help aid these corporations.

They also highlighted how you don’t need money to attend this worldwide concert, that all you need to do is attend and enjoy this unifying moment.

 “Put your wallets away, your credit cards away, anything away that you need to and sit back and enjoy the show that you all very much deserve,” Gaga told a news conference last week.

We would like to thank everyone who partook in joining this event and entertaining people all around the globe. People sang their hearts out and chose amazing songs to play for people. You left our hearts warm and full of love.


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How to Prepare for Ramadan: Quarantine Edition




This year, when the calendar struck 2020, the world has taken a bizarre turn. The novel coronavirus had finally shown its true colors and has taken over the entire world. This has left us all in quarantine as well as curfew and laws to abide by. Not just that, but it has left us all in a terrible depressive state.

Almost everything that has anything to do with gathering has been either cancelled or postponed which left us all quite bummed out. In terms of religion, Christians and Muslims are devastated for being incapable of celebrating important events this year.

For instance, Easter has been cancelled in Egypt in fear of large gatherings worsening the situation at hand. Worst part of all, Ramadan and Eid will play out quite differently for us all, which is why, we need to be prepared to get out of this depression we’ve all found ourselves in by getting ready for a weird yet holy month of Ramadan.

 Put the Needy First

Campaign launched for rights of Egyptians struggling in shanty ...

The coronavirus has left Egypt in a bit of a mess, especially for people living in the streets with no shelter or food to let them live by. Which is why, the most important thing to do this Ramadan is to remember them by going through your entire wardrobe and shoe cabinet and get rid of the things you do not need or already have in excessive amount. Keep them in your prayers and remember them on a daily basis by trying to do something good for them. Remember, they are the ones suffering the most in times like these.

Shopping List

Ramadan Shopping List | Articles | Goody Kitchen

First things first! Get your notepad out and start jotting down all the things you’ll be needing for Ramadan. Whether it’s pasta, rice, and other ingredients to create your perfect oriental ramadany dish, you need to be fully stocked! Also, don’t forget the decorations!

Make sure to write down essentials such as toilet paper and any other thing that your family may need. It is crucial for us to keep the needy in mind by gathering up as much items and food that you can to put in order to give out to the poor.

Clean, Clean, Clean!

Prepare your home for Ramadan

Before officially starting your Ramadan preparations, it is a must to clean out your entire house from top to bottom. Cleaning is a great way of setting up and preparing your space to allow room for positive energy. Cleaning is some sort of a way to cleanse the energy around your house and allowing the light to come in. This step is very important to having the right Ramadan vibes.

Setting -Up the Vibe

How to Get Your Home Ready for Ramadan | About Islam

Since we’re all in a bit of a rut and are upset with being incapable of having gatherings with friends or family in light of social distancing, we cannot let that stop us from setting up aa Ramadan vibe for our household. If you’d like, change the order of your furniture and allow some newness enter. What’s the best part of all is that you get to lay out all the cool Ramadan decorations you’ve stored from last year. From table clothes, to lantern lamps, it’s time to get pumped!

There you have it folks, your ultimate guide to a holy Ramadan. Yes, things will be different this year. But remember, it’s all about spreading positive vibes.

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Coolest Online Competition in Town: “Downtown on Canvas”



Downtown Cairo

In rough times such as now when the Coronavirus pandemic has taken over the entire world, people struggle to find ways to be creative let alone stay motivated. On the bright side, there are many things you could do these days that could give you the sense of imagination and creativity that you used to have.

With that said, Downtown Cairo and Al Ismaelia have partnered together to create something wonderful for the people of Cairo. They are inviting everyone who knows how to hold a brush and get to working on your paper. The aim is to recreate how you’d like to add color and paint onto downtown’s beautiful landmarks.

In an art exhibition that was held in February in AUC’s downtown campus, one of the artists who was present that day is from New York and explained how her work as an artist involves painting freeing works of art regarding Egypt on New York’s landmarks. She’s also explained how many people there were happy in the idea of doing so and were impressed with the works of art that had come to life.

It is very freeing for one to be capable of imagining how you could add color to places all the way from home. It’s important to add a little color to some places and areas in gloomy days like these, we all need a positivity booster.

The reason why this thoughtful idea was created is because people are growing sick of simply using pen and paper at home with no motive behind them. Some people in Spain for instance have run out of paper to paint on and had used old bed sheets to get creative and draw their work of art.  Now this is what you call art.

downtown #Cairo - #Egypt | Cairo egypt, Modern egypt, Egypt

Downtown on Canvas” is the opportunity for people to re-imagine how we could add life to such a sad world that we live in today. This is by far one of the coolest competitions that the Egyptian community has witnessed so far. This also gives the people an opportunity to feel competitive in hopes of winning something these days.

A wide selection of such submissions will be published on Al Ismaelia’s social media platforms. As for the winners, there will be three lucky people who will win an all access pass to one of the coolest places in town: Photopia Cairo located in October. The deadline to apply is on April 25th so get started!


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