Amira from Egyptian director Mohamed Diab was screened at El Gouna Film Festival on Tuesday night, with a few of the film's stars in attendance, including Saba Mubarak and Tara Abboud.
The feature film had its world premiere at the 2021 Venice International Film Festival, where it competed in the Orizzonti competition. It is one of 16 films competing for the El Gouna Golden Star award for narrative film at the festival, which runs until Friday.
Set in Palestine, Amira is the story of a teenage girl who believes she was conceived with the smuggled sperm of her imprisoned father. But an emotional discovery leads to a search for her biological father and sense of identity.
Diab took the opportunity on stage to commend Egyptian director Omar El Zohairy for his film Feathers, which screened at the festival on Sunday and has caused controversy for painting Egypt in a negative light.
"Thank you to all of those who allowed this film to exist because the prize that it received should make Egypt proud. Omar is the first Egyptian director to win such a prize and this is Omar's first feature film," Diab said.
Feathers won the Grand Prix at Cannes Film Festival’s Critics’ Week as well as the FIPRESCI prize at the same festival. It is competing as a part of El Gouna Film Festival's Feature Narrative Competition.
The surrealist black comedy tells the story of how a wife and mother copes when her authoritarian husband is turned into a chicken in an absurd magic trick. It portrays the plight of Egyptian women in the face of conservative traditions.
On Monday, Cinema in Concert, with an orchestra led by music composer Ahmed El-Saeedi, played classical scores from famous cinematic works, including Amadeus, Phantom of the Opera, The Pianist and Platoon, as well as The Night of Fatima’s Arrest by Egyptian composer Omar Khairat.
The Egyptian film Full Moon by director Hadi El Bagoury and starring Khaled El Nabawy, Ahmed El-Fishawi, Shereen Reda and Ghada Adel also screened as part of the festival’s official selection, out of competition.