Exclusive: Venice award-winning Syrian film maker Soudade Kaadan banned from Egypt

Venice winner won't be going to El Gouna festival anytime soon

Award-winning director Soudade Kaadan will answer the audience's questions following the screening of her film 'The Day I Lost My Shadow'. AFP
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The award-winning Syrian film maker Soudade Kaadan, whose latest film The Day I Lost My Shadow picked up the Lion of the Future award for young film makers at the Venice Film Festival earlier this month, has been refused a visa to enter Egypt to attend the El Gouna Film Festival.

This comes despite having successfully acquired visas for the Venice and Toronto Film Festivals, and London’s BFI Film Festival in October.

Ms Kaadan told The National exclusively "honestly, I don't think it's political, it's just because I'm Syrian."

She also spoke of her joy at picking up awards at Venice, and visiting the Toronto International Film Festival: “To win at Venice was something I could never have dreamed of,” she said. “It shows that Syria is not just the stories we see on the news. There is so much more to my country.”

Ms Kaadan added that she felt her exclusion from an Arab film festival was particularly strange: “I don’t work in the embassy in Cairo, or Damascus,” she said. “I don’t know how they work on visas. But it seems strange that the embassies in Canada, Italy, and Britain would give me a visa, but Egypt, no. I’m Syrian, so no.”

Thankfully for those who are unable to acquire an Egyptian visa, Kaadan’s film will also be screening at the BFI London Film Festival on October 14, 15 and 16.


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