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Details Revealed on the 16th Ismailia International Film Festival for Documentaries and Shorts

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52 Films from 30 Countries Including 10 World Premieres

Details Revealed on the 16th Ismailia International Film Festival for Documentaries and Shorts

In a press conference held on Thursday at the Creativity Center at the Cairo Opera House, Kamal Abdel Aziz, Festival President and Director of the National Cinema Center, announced the jury list at the 16thIsmailia International Film Festival for Documentaries and Shorts as well as the most recent updats on festival activities and guests. Festival Director, Mohamed Hefzy, a reputed scriptwriter and producer, made announcements related to the festival's news and events. The festival will be held from June 4 - 9th in Ismailia.

The President of the jury of the Documentary Competition is veteran Italian Director and Producer Gian Vittorio Baldi. The jury members are internationally acclaimed Egyptian Documentary Filmmaker, Tahani Rached and Safinez Bousbia, the Director of the critically acclaimed El Gusto. The jury for the Short Films and Animation will be presided by Michelle Driguez, from the Montpellier Lebanese Filmmaker.Chadi Zinnedine and Egyptian Filmmaker, Sherif El Bindary, are the jury members. Dr. Viola Shafik from Germany/Egypt will act as the jury president for the Co-production Platform. The jury members are Hania Mroueh and Dr. Malek Khoury, Head of the Film Program at the American University in Cairo.

Kamal Abdel Aziz stated that the festival team is looking forward to showcasing new visions from different countries.

Mohamed Hefzy, revealed that this year's edition of the festival will be held with the participation of more than 52 films from over 30 countries. The festival will also host the world premieres of at least ten films.

Taking on the role of a Festival Director for the first time, Hefzy commented, "At first I was worried; however, I'm very excited to organize such an important festival for the first time. To do this, I selected a team of filmmakers, film industry professionals, and film students to help organize the festival. This year we selected a variety of great films that will add to the festival's repertoire".

Honoring the residents of the Suez Canal cities, Port Said, Suez and Ismailia, Kamal Abdel Azizannounced that the festival would debut 15 films from the National Cinema Center's archive featuring the Suez Canal and the role played by the province's courageous residents from 1954 till 1974. These films will screen to the festival audiences this year to commemorate the sacrifices of the province's residents in wars. Abdel Aziz explained that these films are by some of Egypt's prolific directors. The festival administration has also assigned 100 volunteers from Ismailia and nearby cities and areas in order to enhance the collaboration between members of the festival's community.

The Ismailia International Film Festival For Documentaries and Shorts will hold several tributes this year. First, the festival will honor veteran Italian Producer and Director, Gian Vittorio Baldi. With an extensive record of films that includes 200 shorts and 18 features, he received more than 100 prizes including the Golden Lion Award at Venice International Film Festival. Internationally acclaimed Egyptian Director Tahani Rached, will be also be honored by the festival and a special tribute will be held in which several of her documentaries will be screened including her latest film, A Deep Long Breath.

The first round of the new Ismailia Co-production Platform will be launched on June 6th and will include 12 projects that are either in development or at the pre-production phase and two projects in the post-production stage. Project representatives will be invited to spend three days in Ismailia, during which they will have a schedule comprising of one-on-one meetings with regional and international producers, distributors, and sales agents. In addition, the forum offers several prizes of up to USD $20,000.

"We are not reinventing the wheel; festivals are markets where the most important thing is to invite truly interested filmmakers, and hold extensive interviews to maximize the production potentials of aspirational filmmakers the world over", said Hefzy about the Ismailia Co-production Platform.

Hefzy added that there would be, "panels on film distribution, co-production, and financing. In a first time collaboration with Screen Institute Beirut, the festival is also organizing an editing workshop for 3 projects in the post-production phase. Three professional tutors from Denmark, Syria and Egypt will conduct the workshop sessions. We have started working on this initiative four months ago. This, as well as other new introductions and modification to the festival, are all being carried out with the aim of enhancing the film industry".