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The Jordanian talent at El Gouna Film Festival

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(Photo: Jordan News)
AMMAN — The fifth edition of the El Gouna Film Festival kicks off on Thursday and runs until October 22 in El Gouna, with the participation of three Jordanian films and jury member mixed in with the 80 films from 44 countries.اضافة اعلان

The festival focuses on highlighting powerful works of Arab film and sharing them with audiences, and it has 16 Arab films in its official lineup.

The selected films are impeccable works that are sure to satiate participants and attendees’ passionate cinematic palate for the upcoming year. 
This year, the festival will screen 37 feature-length narrative films, in addition to 16 feature-length narrative films in the official competition, and another 2 within the animation category.

 It will also screen 15 feature-length documentaries, including 10 in the official competition, along with3 films being shown for the very first time.

The competing films represent 36 countries, namely Jordan, Spain, Australia, Estonia, Germany, the United Arab Emirates, Ukraine, Italy, Brazil, Belgium, Poland, the Czech Republic, Georgia, Denmark, Russia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, China, France, Finland, Croatia, Cambodia, Costa Rica, Latvia, Lebanon, Hungary, Egypt, Morocco, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Norway, India, Netherlands, USA , and Greece.

The festival is also screening 23 short films and two animated films, and presenting 5 short film world premieres. 

The special presentations program includes six films from six different countries: Germany, Poland, Denmark, Switzerland, France, and Norway.

Jordan’s presence at El Gouna

Jordan is taking part in the 5th edition of El Gouna, with two films: “Amira” and “Arnoos,” while a Jordanian filmmaker Mahmoud Al-Massad was selected to be a judge for the Feature Documentary Competition. 


‘Amira’ by Mohamed Diab

“Amira,” which is in the Feature Narrative Competition, runs 94 minutes in length, and was coproduced by teams from Jordan, Egypt, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia.


(Photos: El Gouna Film Festival website)

The story 

“Amira” is a bubbly 17 year old who has grown-up believing she was conceived with the smuggled sperm of her imprisoned father. Her sense of identity is shattered when another attempt to conceive a child with her father’s smuggled sperm reveals an unexpected surprise.

Amira had its world premiere at the 2021 Venice Film Festival, where it won the Lanterna Magica Award, the Interfilm Award, and the Enrico Fulchignoni Award.

Director

While the director Mohammad Diab is an award winning writer and director, whose work often focuses on pressing issues in Egyptian society, he gained recognition for his debut film, “Cairo 678,” about three women confronting male chauvinism and sexual harassment, which gained over 20 international awards. 

Diab, along with his siblings, wrote “El Gezira,” which was a huge success in Egypt and throughout the Arab world, and was Egypt’s selection to compete for the 2007 Academy Awards. His second feature, “Clash,” was the opening film in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival.

Diab is currently directing Marvel’s miniseries “Moon Knight,” making him the first Middle Eastern filmmaker to be given the keys to a major Marvel project.


‘Arnoos’ by Samer Battikhi

“Arnoos” is competing in the Short Film Competition, and it was produced by a Jordanian crew and runs for 17 minutes.


(Photos: El Gouna Film Festival website)

The story 

During a normal day at a shopping square in Amman, Sami; a 15-year-old spoiled and naive kid, and the street-smart hustler Mahmoud; a 15-year-old corn seller, are ready to execute their plan to steal an unexpected gift that will impress Sami’s girlfriend, unbeknownst to them they will have to deal with unexpected twists and turns.

Director

The director, Samer Battikhi, is Jordanian. He began his career as an assistant director, working with several veteran local and international filmmakers. He has directed, written, and produced several short films in between student projects and independent films.

 The last short film “Arnoos” was produced by PanEast Media with the support of the Jordanian Film Fund. He is currently working on his first TV show with the working title, “Beginner’s Luck,” and his first feature-length film titled, “Men Mal Allah,” received development funds from the Jordanian Film Fund.


‘Night’ by Ahmad Saleh


(Photos: El Gouna Film Festival website)

 “Night” is an animated film competing in the Short Film Competition, and it was produced by Jordanian and Palestinian teams.
“Night” features the voices of Hiam Abbass, Rafa Aridi, and Salma Saleh, and was produced by A Sea-Studio and Fabian & Fred. 

Ahmad Saleh, the director, is a Palestinian, Jordanian, and German writer and director. His debut film, “House” won second place at the German Short Film Awards and his second film, “AYNY,” won an Academy Award. “Night” is his third short film and premiered at the Locarno Film Festival.


Mahmoud Al-Massad


(Photos: El Gouna Film Festival website)

Acting as a judge for the Feature Documentary Competition, Jordanian-Dutch director Mahmoud Al-Massad, received critical acclaim for works such as “Shatter Hassan” and “This Is My Picture When I Was Dead.” 

 The jury also includes Palestinian director and producer May Odeh, South Korean festival organizer and producer Jay Jeon, (who is a cofounder of Busan International Film Festival and has produced films such as “Tale of One City”), as well as American filmmaker Kim A. Snyder, whose recent work include the highly praised documentary, “Us Kids.” 

The jury will be headed by Mexican producer Martha Sosa, whose films have found success at countless international film festivals and received over 150 awards, including an Emmy Award.

Massad has received critical acclaim for his documentaries: “Shatter Hassan,” “Recycle,” and “This Is My Picture When I Was Dead.” 

Massad has received over 25 prestigious awards as well as 30 nominations, being screened at over 200 international film festivals, including the Sundance Film Festival, San Sebastián International Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, and International Film Festival Rotterdam. 

His latest feature narrative film, “Blessed Benefit,” premiered at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival and received the NETPAC Award for Best Asian Film at the 2016 Warsaw International Film Festival. This film is exclusively featured on Netflix. 

Currently, Massad is working as a creative consultant on several film projects and as an instructor in filmmaking workshops.

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