El Gouna Film Festival to present Ahmed El Sakka with Career Achievement Award

The Egyptian action star will be awarded for 'his extraordinary artistic journey and outstanding contribution to the industry'

epa08858131 Actor Ahmed El Sakka attends the opening ceremony of the 42nd Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF), in Cairo, Egypt, 02 December 2020. According to the organizers, the 42nd edition of the CIFF running from 02 to 10 December, will feature 16 titles on their international premieres in Cairo.  EPA-EFE/MAHMOUD AHMED
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Ahmed El Sakka, one of Egypt’s most successful action stars, will be given the Career Achievement Award at this year's El Gouna Film Festival.

Organisers of the festival revealed their decision in an Instagram post, calling El Sakka “a trailblazer of modern action cinema in the Middle East” and saying they wanted to recognise “his extraordinary artistic journey and outstanding contribution to the industry".

"Be it a blockbuster action, romance or comedy, he skilfully plays every role with immense dedication and affable charm, proving that he is a talented actor with many layers," organisers said.

The Mafia actor, known for his bone-chilling performances of steely-eyed tough guys, will receive the award when the festival takes place from Thursday, October 14 to Friday, October 22.

"It is a great honour to be recognised with El Gouna Film Festival's Career Achievement Award this year," El Sakka. "As I look back at my journey, I remember all the masters of the craft who influenced my career and inspired me.

"I am so grateful to them, along with my family and dear audience for all the love and support they have given me over the years. I owe this milestone to all those amazing individuals who stood by my side every step of the way.”

Previous recipients of the award include Egyptian stars Adel Imam and Mohamed Henedy, as well as Tunisian filmmaker Dora Bouchoucha and Palestinian filmmaker Mai Masri. International figures such as Forest Whitaker, Sylvester Stallone and Gerard Depardieu have also been honoured by the festival.

El Sakka has been honing his "action man" image for more than two decades. Born in Cairo in 1973, he is a graduate of the Academy of Arts in Egypt. He acted in several mini-series before his breakout role came in the 1998 comedy Saeedi at the American University. His first starring role was in the 2000 romantic comedy Short w Fanela w Cap. But it is in the action genre that El Sakka found his forte and, after films such as Mafia in 2002 and Tito in 2004, became most frequently associated with.

El Sakka's latest work was in Nasl Al Aghrab, where he takes on the role of the morally dubious Assaf El Gharib, a man who gets out of prison after serving a sentence for murder. He then plans revenge when he finds out his friend married his ex-wife and is claiming his son as his own.

The show aired during Ramadan, and had El Sakka leading an impressive cast that included Amir Karara and Mai Omar.