Cairo International Film Festival opens submissions: event seeks to feature equal amount of films by female directors

Organisers hope the film festival will take place in the Egyptian capital this November

Guests arrive at the opening ceremony of the 41st edition of Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF) at the Cairo Opera House in the Egyptian capital on November 20, 2019. (Photo by Khaled DESOUKI / AFP)
Powered by automated translation

The Cairo International Film Festival (Ciff) has opened submissions for its 42nd event, scheduled to run from Thursday to Saturday, November 19 to 28 this year.

The festival, held under the leadership of film producer Mohamed Hefzy, has appointed film critic Ahmed Shawky as its new artistic director.

Organisers said the event will run with health and safety measures in place, guided by the Egyptian government and the World Health Organisation.

“The coronavirus pandemic has imposed a considerable challenge to the international film industry. Nevertheless, Ciff's management is committed to holding a successful and safe edition if the situation allows, while putting high emphasis on the safety and wellbeing of its staff as well as local and international guests," Hefzy, the festival's president, said in a statement.

Shawky also commented: “The task of maintaining the success of the last two editions will not be easy, especially with the unprecedented challenges facing the film industry due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

"Ciff's high advisory committee has been working on laying out several alternative plans to ensure the 42nd edition comes to light, hoping the circumstances will improve before November 2020."

The gender parity pledge 

The festival will also be applying its gender parity pledge 5050x2020, a charter launched at the Cannes Film Festival in 2018, in which festivals commit to promoting gender equality and transparency, with the selection process and programming committee recording the gender of the filmmakers and crew of all submissions to ensure an even split of female and male contributors, including directors.

They will also work towards equality on all its executive boards. Ciff is the first festival in the Arab world to make this commitment.

Last year, it also became an Oscar-qualifying festival, a status awarded by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. This year, the Best Short Film in the "Cinema of Tomorrow" competition will be eligible to compete in the Short Film (Animated) and Short Film (Live Action) categories of the Academy Awards.

Submissions are open until Monday, August 31, 2020, through Ciff’s website.