Ibrahim El Batout says, "The opportunities and prospects of Arab filmmakers are on the rise, and resources should no longer be a barrier."
Following acclaimed recognition from regional and international media around the Best Arab Film Award at the Doha Tribeca Film Festival
Ibrahim El Batout says, "The opportunities and prospects of Arab filmmakers are on the rise, and resources should no longer be a barrier."The Egyptian film Hawi received extensive regional and international coverage during the Doha Tribeca Film Festival, particularly after the production received the Best Arab Film award. This achievement is highly notable due to the fact that Hawi is an independent production executed with exceptionally limited resources.
Writer and director of Hawi; Ibrahim El Batout, commented on the award saying, "This award is evidence to the talent in the Arab world that making films should not be confined to old production modules or budgets. All a film maker needs is a vision, nothing else. What's also important is that recognition and appreciation for unique work has become more possible, both on regional and international levels." He continued, "This achievement does not in any way undermine commercial filmmaking, on the contrary, it merely widens the variety for audiences. The idea of independence creates a richer environment, as it exposes new perspectives and often tackles what's happening around us."
El Batout attended the screenings of Hawi during the Doha Tribeca Film Festival along with a number of the cast and crew members, including the talented actress Hanan Youssef, Mohamed El Sayed, Sherif El Dosouky, Rina Aref and Delegate Producer Hossam Elouan . The screenings were also attended by a large number of notable media representatives, art and cinema personalities, including the Syrian film director Mohamed Malas, renowned director Michael Khalifi and film critic Samir Farid.
The Arab film competition jury at the Doha Tribeca Film Festival included some of the most prominent regional and international cinematic personalities. Among them were the Egyptian film star Yusra as head of the jury, Hollywood actress Salma Hayek, British actor, writer and director Nick Moran, Indian director Bhavna Talwar and Bosnian writer and director Danis Tanovic.
Numerous Arab and international press reported on Hawi's case study and the outstanding award it received, because it represents a rare example of independent film making in Egypt and the Arab world. The announcement of the award was covered by some of the world's biggest media channels including The BBC, Reuters, France 24, Al Jazeera, Al Arabiya, Screen International, HollywoodReporter, Variety, Khaleej Times, Business 24/7 (United Arab Emirates), Al Masry Al Yom, Al Yom Al Sabe'e (Egypt), Al Anba'a (Kuwait), Al Raya (Qatar), to name a few.
This year, Ibrahim El Batout founded Ein Shams, a film production company of which Hawi is its first official production. In makingHawi El Batout recruited a team of which the greater majority are new comers to the industry and he made sure to provide each with the appropriate training and development needed to achieve a successful independent production.
Hawi is set in the beautiful Mediterranean city of Alexandria, and tells the story of survival of a mesh of unique people living a life of hardships and struggles.
Ibrahim El Batout is considered one of Egypt's pioneers of independent cinema, who brings a new understanding to feature films. He has introduced what is now known as the zero-budget film, and with this concept has made many long and short documentary productions. His fame began with Ithaki in 2005, which is a feature film portraying his personal experience covering events of war in various cities in Europe and Russia. He returned in 2008 to make his second feature Ein Shams, which caused controversy when released in 2009, and took part in several Arab and international film festivals.
Hawi's cast and crew all originate from the city of Alexandria and include Mohamed El Sayed, Sherif El Desouky and Fady Eskandar, alongside the talented actress Hanan Youssef, who has appeared in all of Ibrahim El Batout's films. In addition to this line up of talent, Hawi features the underground band Massar Egbari, who produced the film's title song Hawi.
Dina Ezzat; Managing Partner and Marketing Communication Director at MAD Solutions, comments, "Ibrahim El Batout really deserves this award, not only because Hawi is an intriguing and inspiring movie, but also because of Ibrahim's strong and genuine passion for filmmaking, and he somehow attracts people with similar passion to work with him." Dina adds, "Hawi portrays the stories of struggle and love that are universal, in a fresh way and in one of the world's richest and oldest cities; Alexandria. It is a film that succeeds in connecting to its audience and very interestingly it invites its viewers to think about one's own life."
After the Doha Tribeca Film Festival, Hawi will begin a world tour participating in other international film festivals, including the 40th Rotterdam International Film Festival, commencing in January 2011.
It is noteworthy that Hawi was made under the support of the Doha Film Insitute(Qatar), the Hubert Bals Fund of the Rotterdam International Film Festival (Holland) and Aroma (Egypt).