French excavations in Egypt, Research, Cooperation and Innovation” is the title of the exhibition Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany and French Ambassador to Egypt Stephane Romatet officially inaugurated as a temporary archaeological exhibition at the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir. The exhibition is a collection of artefacts French missions unearthed in Egypt. Museum Laurent Coulon, director of the French Archaeological Istitute for oriental studies (IFAO), said the exhibition falls within the framework of the French-Egyptian Cultural Year 2019, and is organised in collaboration between the Ministry of Antiquities and the IFAO.
The US Embassy Minister-Counsellor for Public Affairs Helen LaFave congratulated 720 young Egyptians for developing exceptional English language skills by completing the two-year long US Embassy English Access Micro Scholarship Programme. On Sunday, at the Cairo Opera House, the graduation ceremony gathered graduates from across Egypt to meet and network with other students. The students hailed from Alexandria, Assiut, Banha, Beni Sweif, Cairo, Damanhour, Damietta, Edfu, Esna, Hurghada, Ismailia, Kom Ombo, Luxor, Malawi, Mansoura, Minya, Nubia, Port Said, Qous, Samalout, Sohag, and South Sinai.
The 16-novel longlist for the 2020 International Prize for Arabic Fiction, commonly known as the Arab Booker, was unveiled on Tuesday. Those in contention for the $50,000 award money include Egyptians Youssef Zaidan and Rasha Adly and Syrian authors Salim Barakat and Khaled Khalifa. The novels selected by the judges were chosen from 128 entries, all published in Arabic between July 2018 and June 2019.
The Egyptian puppet operetta al-Leila al-Kebira (The Grand Night) will play in the 34th session of the Neapolis International Festival at the Kids Theater, held between December 15 to 22 in Tunisia, the Director of the Cairo Puppet Theater at the Theater House Mohamed Nour announced on Friday. The operetta is the most famous puppet show in the Arab world, and forms a big part of Egypt s cultural heritage due to its uniquely expressive and humorous portrayal of the night of moulid; the Prophet Mohamed s birthday. Late artist Nagy Shaker founded the operetta while Salah Jahin wrote it, with the operetta s music composed by musician Sayed Makkawi and decorations by Mostafa Kamel.
Prominent Brazilian fashion model Adriana Lima and Scottish singer Calvin Harris paid a visit to the Great Pyramids of Giza on Wednesday, while accompanied by Egyptian archeologist Zahi Hawass and Founder of Art D Egypte Nadine Abdel Ghaffar, who gave them an inside look at the historical secrets of Egypt s most remarkable landmark. In a Facebook post that day, Hawass said he had a great talk with Harris in front of the Sphinx and added that hopes to see him again in Egypt. Lima also posted several photos through Instagram s story feature, expressing her excitement at seeing the ancient Egyptian monuments in person and urging people from around the world to visit Egypt. Hawass explained to the two celebrities that the Sphinx belongs to the ancient King Khafre, denying as well all the rumors about the existence of secret corridors under the statue. The iconic egyptologist also told Harris and Lima about the latest excavations carried out by the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities, explaining as well the script he created for an opera based on Tutankhamen s life, which is set to mark the special occasion of the opening of the new Grand Egyptian Museum s (GEM) in 2020. Hawas previously told TV presenter Amr Adib on his program “Al Hekaya” (The Story) that one of the opera s most thrilling scenes will depict Nefertiti s attempted murder of Tutankhamen. Harris, who is a singer, producer, and songwriter, is known for a number of hit songs, including the 2011 mega popular “We Found Love ft. Calvin Harris,” “This Is What You Came For” (2016), “Summer” (2014), “Feel So Close” (2011), and “Feels” (2017). The Scottish artist s second studio album “I Am Not Alone,” which was released in 2009, topped the UK Albums Chart. In 2017, his album Funk “Wav Bounces Vol. 1” was number 2 in the US and UK. Back in 2014, Harris became the first singer to have three if his songs placed on the top 10 of Billboard s Dance/Electronic Songs chart. Lima, meanwhile, is best known for her modeling work for Victoria s Secret, which she began at age 17. In 2017, Lima received the title of “most valuable Victoria s Secret Angel.”
Health and Population Minister Hala Zayed announced on Wednesday that 3.1 million Egyptian women have undergone free medical examinations so far as part of the campaign “100 Million Healthy Lives,” which aims to detect breast cancer and other noncommunicable diseases and raise awareness about reproductive health and family planning. The campaign, which was launched by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in July, hopes to offer free examinations to 28 million women nationwide. The total number of examinations conducted during the first stage of the campaign amounted to 2.1 million, according to a Ministry press release from Wednesday, and in the second stage of the initiative, a total of about 962,500 women underwent examinations. The second stage of the initiative was launched last November in the governorates of Cairo, North Sinai, Red Sea, Kafr al-Sheikh, Ismailia, Suez, Monufiya, Beni Suef, Sohag, Aswan, and Luxor. The largest number of examinations was recorded in Cairo at 309,931 women, followed by Monufiya with a total of 229,519 women, Zayed said. A total of 1,395 medical teams participated in the initiative during the second phase, with the teams working across 1,175 different healthcare facilities, she noted. During the first phase, 1,321 medical teams participated in the initiative in over 1,000 healthcare facilities across various other governorates, namely South Sinai, Damietta, Port Said, Alexandria, Matruh, Beheira, Fayoum, Assiut, and Qalyubiya.
Culture Minister Enas Abdel Dayem and Port Said Governor Adel al-Ghadban on Tuesday inaugurated the 34th edition of the Literary Conference of Egypt, announcing Port Said as the Egyptian capital of culture for 2020. The conference runs in Port Said until December 12, under the title “Cultural Mobility and Awareness Crisis” and this year celebrates the late Bayram al-Tunisi, one of Egypt s most famous colloquial poets. The conference s hosting comes at the beginning of Port Said s celebrations of its national day. Abdel Dayem expressed happiness at holding this session of the conference in the “valiant” city of Port Said, stating her keenness to hold the annual event – given its importance in shedding light on creativity in culture and society. This year s conferences discusses topics such as a lack of general awareness in society and addressing it through developing cultural discourse, she said. Abdel Dayem said the ministry has made great strides in its pursuit of sustainable development through innovative programs and activities across all governorates. She further praised selecting Tunisi as this year edition s figure, saying his works impacted social reform in Egypt. Abdel Dayem announced Port Said as the 2020 capital of Egyptian culture in accordance to the announcement she made during last year s conference in Matrouh, declaring that the governorate hosting the conference would be Egypt s culture capital of the year. She drew attention to steps taken last year to back the budget of the literature clubs, saying that allocations for publishing have been increased by in the Cultural Palaces Authority s budget. Dayem also praised the organization of workshops as part of the conference to discuss the challenges facing publishing houses and literature clubs. A large number of writers, intellectuals and media personnel who contributed to preserving and enriching the cultural heritage of Egypt will be honored in the 34th edition of the conference, said Abdel Dayem, adding that the reward has been increased from LE2,000 to LE7,000 for each honoree.
Egyptian-Americans Ramy Malek and Ramy Youssef were nominated for the Golden Globe for their roles in the television series “Mr. Robot” and “Ramy”, according to an announcement made by the organization on Monday, December 9. 28 year-old Youssef was nominated for Best Actor in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy for his performance in the popular Hulu series “Ramy,” which depicts the actor s adolescence and childhood as he attempts to navigate his identity as an American born to Egyptian parents. The show addresses a number of sensitive cultural issues, including relationships outside of marriage, gender discrimination, and anti-Muslim bigotry. The series is the first of its kind to shed light on such dynamics in the US, according to the Los Angeles Times. Youssef is set to star in Season 2 of “Ramy” as well. Meanwhile, Malek was nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series — Drama for his leading role in the USA Network show “Mr. Robot.” Malek previously won the Oscar for Best Actor at the 91st Academy Awards for his exceptional portrayal of Freddie Mercury, the legendary front man of the British rock band Queen, in the biopic film “Bohemian Rhapsody” (2018). Malek beat Christian Bale for the award, who portrayed former American Vice President Dick Cheney that year in “Vice,” as well as Bradley Cooper, who played musician Jack Maine in “A Star Is Born.” Malek also took the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role based on bis performance in “Bohemian Rhapsody,” as well as the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a leading role. The Egyptian-American actor is well known for his role in “Mr. Robot,” which was created and produced by Egyptian Sam Esmail, who serves as head writer for the show. Malek stars as Elliot, a brilliant cyber-security engineer and computer hacker who suffers from an anxiety disorder. “Mr. Robot” was a life-changing experience that Malek considers a turning point in his career. He has described the opportunity to take on the leading role in a popular television series as the experience that put him on the map. The much-anticipated ceremony for the Golden Globe Awards will take place on January 5, 2020.
Cairo and Hurghada were recently selected among the 100 best tourist destinations in the world by Euromonitor International, a leading provider of market research and analysis, and ongoing improvements to the political and security situation in Egypt could push Hurghada into a top 50 spot in the coming years. The two Egyptian cities were chosen following a study of more than 400 cities based on statistics of the number of tourists that visited each city during 2018, according to Euromonitor International s report. For her part, Tourism Minister Rania al-Mashat said that the report was the latest in a wave of international acclaim for the Egyptian tourism industry, adding that the positive press is thanks in part to the launch of a structural reform program designed to develop the country s tourism sector. In a press release issued on Monday, Mashat said that the selection of Cairo and Hurghada among the top 100 tourist cities was in line with the Ministry of Tourism s plan to promote each city or resort separately by highlighting its unique tourist attractions — a strategy known as branding by destination, which represents one of the three main dimensions of the tourism sector promotional campaign launched by Egypt. Cairo was ranked the fourth best tourist destination in Africa and the Middle East, according to the report, advancing 18 places between 2013-2018. Egypt s sprawling capital ranked 42nd globally, advancing five places between 2013-2018. The report attributed this success to a number of reasons, including broad economic reforms launched in 2018 that attracted foreign investment in tourism and travel, the flotation of the Egyptian pound, efforts to develop a tourism strategy focused on attracting new tourist markets, facilitating investment in human resources, and the use of social media in promotional campaigns. Cairo also witnessed investments in infrastructure and historical site restoration projects, in addition to changes at the Cairo International Airport. In light of improvement to the city s infrastructure, Hurghada was included in the list of the top 100 tourist cities in the world for the first time this year, advancing a remarkable 45 places and ranked as the 82nd best tourist city in the world. The Red Sea vacation spot is expected to see 41 percent growth in its tourism sector during 2019, which will further boost its ranking, the report said, adding that Hurghada is popular among European tourists for water sports, nightlife and entertainment.
American actor Will Smith recently responded to Egyptian-Canadian actor Mena Massoud s latest comments about not getting a single audition since “Aladdin” (2019), offering a message of support for the young performer. “He is a spectacular actor, and he has nothing to worry about,” said Smith, who co-starred with Massoud in Aladdin. Massoud recently said he hasn t gotten a single audition since Disney s Aladdin, which earned $1 billion in revenues. “I m kind of tired of staying quiet about it,” he told The Daily Beast. “I want people to know that it s not always dandelions and roses when you re doing something like Aladdin. He must have made millions. He must be getting all these offers. It s none of those things. I haven t had a single audition since Aladdin came out,” he added during the same interview. He clarified that beating 2,000 other actors to get the iconic role doesn t mean that producers are knocking down his door for new auditions. “I m not expecting you to be like, here s Batman. But can I just get in the room? Like, can you just give me a chance? So it s not always what you think,” he pleaded. Directed by Guy Ritchie, Aladdin is a re-adaptation of the much-loved 1992 animated film of the same name starring the late comedian and actor Robin Williams as the Genie. The film was remade in 2019, with Will Smith playing the iconic role of the Genie, and the movie featured mind-blowing special effects and eye-popping colors that captivated audiences around the world. Massoud was selected to star in the Aladdin remake, beating hundreds who auditioned for the role. In a previous interview with ET, Massoud described feeling starstruck when he first met with Smith. For his part, Smith described Massoud as a bold dancer during the interview, adding that they both thoroughly enjoyed their performance together in the musical number “Friend Like Me.” Massoud has been featured in eight movies, including “What Happens Next,” “Ordinary Days,” “Final Exam,” and “Let s Rap.” He was born in Cairo to Egyptian Coptic Christian parents, later emigrating to Canada. Massoud relocated to Los Angeles two years ago.
Red flags have been erected across Samoa to mark unvaccinated households as the government shuts down Thursday to deploy all resources to reining in a deadly measles outbreak. More than 4,200 cases of measles have been reported across the Pacific island nation in recent weeks, including 62 deaths -- with 2 fatalities in the last 24 hours, according to official statistics. None of the victims were vaccinated, the government said. The decision to shut government services for two days is the latest in a series of drastic steps Samoan authorities have taken to stop the outbreak of a disease that was thought to be almost eliminated globally, but has made a dangerous comeback in recent years. Red flags are seen hanging outside of homes of residents indicating they have not been vaccinated for measles on December 5, 2019 in Apia, Samoa. Schools throughout Samoa have been shut indefinitely since November 17 due to the crisis, which has seen a total of 165 new cases recorded since Wednesday. Children have been banned from all public gatherings and places where "large numbers of people congregate," according to Prime Minister Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi. Samoa s government officially declared a state of emergency on November 15, according to UNICEF, and began a mass vaccination campaign five days later. Tuilaepa said 58,000 people -- more than a quarter of the population -- were vaccinated from the start of the campaign on November 20 until Monday. All civil servants, except for those who help supply water and electricity to the country, will participate in the vaccination campaign on Thursday and Friday by offering assistance to public health officials. Measles is a highly contagious, vaccine-preventable respiratory illness characterized by a rash of flat red spots. Symptoms may include fever, cough, runny nose and watery eyes. Measles can also lead to death when complications become too severe, according to the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention. About 1 child out of every 1,000 who get measles will develop encephalitis -- swelling of the brain -- that can lead to convulsions, deafness or intellectual disability. As many as 1 out of every 20 children with measles will get pneumonia, the agency reports. Measles has seen a wide resurgence around the world -- in both high-income countries in the Americas and Europe and lower-income nations in Asia and Africa -- fueled in part by fear of and lack of access to vaccines, and complacency. Almost 350,000 measles cases were reported globally in 2018, according to UNICEF -- more than doubling from 2017.
When Mexican author, screenwriter, director and producer Guillermo Arriaga was in his 20s, he got into a car accident in a mountainous area of Mexico. The author and director broke his nose during the incident, forever damaging his sense of smell. However, the accident was also part of Arriaga s artistic breakthrough, eventually becoming part of scenes in several of his works. Arriaga, who wrote seven time academy award nominee “Babel” (2006), says that writing is the hardest stage in film work, since there are no rules governing the process. For this reason, the screenwriter and director sometimes travels to “live” an experience before he writes about it. In an interview with Al-Masry Al-Youm on the sidelines of the 41st Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF), Arriaga said that he rejects the traditional standards of cinematography and refuses to allow directors to interfere with the content of a story. During the interview, Arriaga also discussed the various phases of his artistic life and shed light on the nature of cinema in his country in the presence of Mexican ambassador to Egypt José Octavio. The two expressed their excitement that CIFF had chosen Mexico as the guest of honor this year. Full interview below: ■ First, what represents you being honored at CIFF this year? – I am very happy to participate in CIFF, and I m proud of being honored and also the selection of my country as the guest of honor for this session. This is my first visit to Egypt, and I have seen firsthand the greatness of this country. I had conversations with participants in the festival s activities, (and) I also visited the most important monuments, such as the pyramids and the Egyptian Museum, which illustrate the greatness of the ancient Egyptians. I look forward to making a film in Egypt. I have written and produced many films in many countries of the world, but this visit was special and inspiring to me. Your country enjoys a strong mix between the ancient past and the present. ■ How do you think CIFF choosing your country as a guest of honor will impact cinema in Mexico? – (It will have) a very positive effect. Mexican cinema is ambitious and dreams of spreading all over the world. I would like to continue cooperation with Egypt, whether at the level of participation in major cinematic events or exchanging expertise between the two countries — they have great artistic talents. ■ On the subject of cooperation between the two countries — Mexico produced a film starring Salma Yaek inspired by “Midaq Alley,” a novel by the Egyptian writer Naguib Mahfouz. Is it possible to see a repeat of this experience? – I wish this experience (could) be repeated — Naguib Mahfouz is a world class writer, and his work has influenced the whole world. As a novelist and writer I m impressed of course by what he wrote. The presentation of his work in Mexican cinema contributed to the transfer of authentic Egyptian culture to the Latin continent, so I also hope that Egypt will produce Mexican stories to inform the Arab region on our culture. Honestly, I hope to see Egyptian films translated into different languages. We receive very little Egyptian productions in cinema, although you have great talents, both in writing and acting. I remember, of course, the international actor Omar El Sherif, who has become very well-known. ■ Let s go back a few years…how did your story begin with writing? – I started writing when I was 14 years old. (Back then) I was writing plays and short stories, and when I was 18 I began to market my work, especially children s stories, and also wrote for the press and the radio. When I was 23, I wrote three novels and a collection of short stories, and one of my novels was translated into 21 foreign languages. In my twenties I had a major incident that affected one of my senses, but I turned the negative effects into writing for cinema, taking advantage of the events I suffered during the accident. ■ You have achieved many successes in Hollywood by storming the world of directing alongside screenwriting, and you were nominated for the Oscar in 2006 for best screenplay with the film “Babel.” You won in that time a Cannes Film Festival award — can you shed light on that experience? – My story with Hollywood began in 2002, and since that time I have taken part in four works, whether through writing, screenwriting or directing and writing, which is an experience that I consider very important and (contributed to) a lot of successes. I am currently a member of the American Academy, which votes for Oscar-nominated films. ■ On the subject of the Oscars, do political standards interfere? – Frankly, no one interferes in my choices — I am of Mexican nationality and my vote is influential in choosing the winner. ■ The film “Babel,” which you wrote, made a huge splash around the world, especially since you mixed 4 different cultures into the events of the film. – “Babel” is one of the most important films that I have written, and (it) took me time to search and travel in different countries, including Japan and the Moroccan Sahara, as well as travel between Mexico and the United States. The message I was keen to spread is that terrorism affects the lives of mankind. The two children, who fired on the bus during the film, impacted the fate of families from different countries. ■ You were able to mix directing and writing the story and the scenario, but which of these stages is the most difficult for you? – Of course writing is the most difficult stage. It starts from the birth of the idea, and I spend a long time with my papers to develop it. Sometimes I have to travel to several countries to live the experience, but during the stage of directing I receive help from executives and photographers, so the stage of writing is the most important and difficult for me. ■ Sometimes the directors try to express their point of view on some of the events of the story, which change in context according to their standards. What do you make of that? – I completely reject that the director change the story based on his point of view. The writer is the owner of the idea, so I avoid those (problems) when I direct my own work. ■ The prevailing trend of Mexican cinema is to do factual stories and biographies. Why focus on this type of film? – Films bearing biographies are being done only in Mexico, but in general I talk about myself — I ve a different direction from what is being done inside Mexico, and writing for cinema in general does not have standards. ■ Why? – Because the writer is of course free from the limitations of academic writing. I know that some people want to preserve the traditional part, but on the other hand, there are no absolute standards for writing. There are many views, so I find it useless to see books entitled “How to write a film in 18 days” Or “Learn how to write for cinema.” So I advise young people to be confident in their ideas. ■ Cinema in Mexico has achieved great successes over the past two decades, and its makers have received many international awards. What are the criteria that your country needs to reach the level of American cinema? – We have many filmmakers in Mexico who have a great history in Hollywood, such as writer and director Michel Franco, for example, and of course we have many bright stars in Hollywood, but funding affects the amount of films produced. In 1995, Mexico produced only seven films due to funding problems, but in the past period, films produced have surpassed the 180 mark. I expect to take a leading position in the coming period thanks to our talents. On the other hand, cinema in the United States has many elements of success — all capabilities are available to them. ■ Your latest film “No One Left Behind” (2019) was featured in many international festivals, highlighting the relations between Mexico and the US. Is there a link between President Donald Trump s decision to build a wall between the two countries and the timing of the film? First, President Trump s decision to build a wall is wrong and a very bad idea. No one overlooks the role of Mexican immigrants who contributed to the rise of the United States of America. A large number of citizens with American citizenship are originally from Mexico, so I made sure during the film to highlight the nature of relations between the two countries, as they are interrelated and diverse. ■ Have trends related to Trump influenced your presence in American cinema? – We as artists have expressed our anger at the decision of the American president. At the grassroots level we know that immigration will not stop, and we cannot hide the historical facts linking the two countries. It is the immigrants of Mexico who have built the United States of America. ■ Some writers cling to commercial considerations in order to achieve better revenues for (their) films, do these concerns impact how you choose a story? – My attitude is different from the majority of writers. I am committed to the technical side only, and that quality of (any) film lives a long time. ■ “Joker” (2019) has received different reactions in the world and is considered by some to promote violence. What is your assessment of this kind of film? – I do not write these type of stories, and I am interested in the quality of films directed by, for example, the genius Tarantino, and his latest film Once Upon a Time In Hollywood — that really impressed me. ■ What are your next steps in writing? – I am now completing my fifth novel, The Wild, in a number of foreign languages. It was very successful once it was published in 2016. ■ Have you influenced your children in their choice to direct films? – I have of course conveyed my experience in the field of cinema, but I did not force them to choose that path — my son and daughter chose that (for themselves).
Want to live a long, healthy life? So do I. That s why for the past 15 years I ve explored places around the world where people have done exactly that — places I dubbed "blue zones." And I m convinced that the foods the people in these areas eat are a big part of their secret. On the Italian island of Sardinia, I ve broken bread in mountain villages that boast some of the highest concentrations of male centenarians on the globe. On the Japanese islands of Okinawa, I ve sat down for tea with those who rank among the world s longest living women. On the Greek island of Ikaria, where it s said people simply "forget to die," I ve tucked into a hearty bowl of minestrone with friends who not only live long, healthy lives but also stay sharp to the very end and suffer the world s lowest rates of dementia. On Costa Rica s Nicoya Peninsula, I ve started the day with tortillas, beans and pico de gallo among country folk who are more likely to reach a healthy 90 years old than anyone else on the planet. And in and around Loma Linda, California, I ve been invited to dinner with members of a thriving Seventh-day Adventist community whose vegetarian diet has helped them live up to a decade longer than other Americans. For most of their lives, the world s super-agers have nourished their bodies with whole, plant-based foods, such as leafy vegetables, tubers, nuts, beans and whole grains. And they ate meat fewer than five times monthly. It may not come as a surprise to learn that a plant-based lifestyle underpins the world s longevity diet, but how those who eat this way manage to stay true to the diet is probably a bigger secret for the rest of us to learn. Next month, after the holidays, most of us will resolve to eat healthier. But by January 17, most of us will be back to our old habits -- that s according to data from Strava, a social network for athletes, based on more than 108 million usage entries. That s because diets don t work for the vast majority of people for more than about seven months. If you want to live a long, healthy life, the key is to do the right things — and avoid the wrong things — for decades, not just a few months. Because when it comes to longevity, there s no short-term fix. People in blue zones have been eating the "right" foods because the right foods -- beans, grains and garden vegetables -- were cheapest and most accessible. Their kitchens were set up to cook them quickly and they had time-honored recipes to make simple peasant food taste delicious. Finally, their communities gathered around this food: They sat down at the table with people who ate the same way. They weren t surrounded by people who grilled burgers and ate cheese puffs. A healthy diet was just one part of a mutually supportive web of factors promoting longevity in the blue zones. People also benefited from having a circle of lifelong friends, a clear sense of purpose, an environment that nudged them into constant movement, and daily rituals that mitigated stress. Their communities were built for people, not cars. Every visit to a friend s house, the market or workplace occasioned a walk. So, what might their nutrition successes mean for the rest of us? Potentially, a lot. For more than a decade now, I ve been applying lessons from the blue zones to improve the health and well-being of communities across the US. With a full-time team of 120 people, I help American communities to become Blue Zones Project communities, and eating well and access to healthy food is a big part of that effort. In our pilot city of Albert Lea, Minnesota, residents added 2.9 years to their lifespans and saved millions in healthcare costs. In three beach cities in Southern California, there was a 50% drop in childhood obesity rates. And in Fort Worth, Texas, the city went from one of the unhealthiest locations in the country to one of the healthiest. In Naples, Florida, for example, Blue Zones teams have worked with schools, restaurants, grocery stores and workplaces to encourage healthier lifestyles. During a visit there this summer, I persuaded more than 100 mostly middle-aged men and women gathered in an auditorium to take part in an experiment. We divided them into groups called "moais" -- an Okinawan word for life-long circle of friends -- based on their common interests, values, schedules and where they lived. Then we gave them recipes from the blue zones, and asked them to get together at least five times during the next three months for plant-based potluck dinners. The results were encouraging. Based on an online questionnaire taken before and after the experiment, 100% of those who took part reported a significant bump in their well-being. Seventeen percent lost weight; 67% said they d made more friends. One 56-year-old woman even reported losing 37 pounds, adding, "I discovered that I have nice legs." According to the online True Vitality Test that calculates your life expectancy and was created in collaboration with the University of Minnesota, participants added an average of 15 months to their life expectancy as a result of the changes they made. If they can do it, so can you. As they say in Greece s Ikaria, where people greet one another on the street with the saying, "Akentannos" — I ll see you when you re 100! — the most important step on your journey to a healthy 100 years might be to start eating like they do in the blue zones.
The town of Aalst was slammed after its famous carnival celebrations featured caricature Jews sitting atop piles of money. City officials say they are sick of the backlash and no longer want to be on the UN list. The northern Belgian town of Aalst has decided to withdraw its annual carnival from the UN cultural heritage list, saying it is fed up with allegations of anti-Semitism. The town was widely condemned after one of the floats at its carnival parade in March featured offensive caricature depictions of Orthodox Jews with hooked-noses and sitting atop bags of money. UNESCO, the European Union and Jewish groups called the float anti-Semitic, with the EU saying it was reminiscent of the kind of caricatures disseminated in Nazi Germany during the 1930s. Aalst mayor Christoph D Haese said Sunday that city officials "have had it a bit with the grotesque complaints" and no longer want the UNESCO designation. "We are neither anti-Semitic nor racist. All those who support this are acting in bad faith. Aalst will always remain the capital of mockery and satire," he said in a statement quoted by Belga news agency. Centuries-old festival Aalst s carnival is a 600-year-old tradition that attracts tens of thousands of people each year. The celebration is famous for its provocative and satirical parade floats, which often poke fun at celebrities, as well as religious and political leaders. D Haese said it was not up to him to police humor, adding that it was "unavoidable that there would be more Jewish ridicule at next year s carnival. "We are on a very dangerous slippery slope when people will be able to decide what can be laughed at," he said. Hans Knoop of the Belgian Forum of Jewish Organizations told The Associated Press that renouncing the UNESCO cultural heritage tag shouldn t clear the way for similar displays of anti-Semitism in the future. "They are not at liberty to spew any more anti-Semitic dirt, he said. "We will keep a close eye on Aalst." It s not the first time the town s carnival has drawn controversy. In 2013, revelers dressed as Nazi SS officers marched in the parade alongside a float that resembled a Nazi railway wagon used to transport Jews to death camps. The three-day festival, which takes place ahead of Roman Catholic Lent, was given heritage status by UNESCO in 2010. The UN body was expected to decide at a December 12 meeting in Bogota, Colombia, whether to strip Aalst of its Intangible Cultural Heritage designation.
On the sidelines of the 41st edition of the International Cairo Film Festival (CIFF), prominent actor and producer William George, better known as Billy Zane, recently traveled to Egypt, receiving a Special Tribute Award on Wednesday, November 26. Known for his roles in “Back to the Future” (1985), “Dead Calm” (1989) “Critters” (1986), iconic television series “Twin Peaks” (1990), “Tombstone” (1993) and “Demon Knight” (1995), Zane is most famous for portraying the iconic villain Caledon Hockley in “Titanic” (1997) alongside Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. Zane was nominated for an MTV Movie Award for Best Villain based on his performance in “Titanic,” later winning a Blockbuster Entertainment Award for the same role. Zane is also the founder of RadioactiveGiant, a film and television production and distribution company. He produced and starred in the film “I Woke Up Early the Day I Died” (1997) for which he was awarded Best Movie and Best Actor at the B-Movie Film Festival. Zane acted alongside American star Ryan Gosling in “The Believer” (2001) as well, an award-winning film from the Sundance Film Festival based on the true story of a 1960s KKK member who was revealed to be Jewish. Zane also starred in the Turkish film “Valley of The Wolves: Iraq” (2006). The actor and director has also dabbled in voice acting, playing John Rolfe in Disney s “Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World” (1998). He made his first television appearance in “Brotherhood of Justice” in 1987, later acting in David Lynch s iconic mystery horror series “Twin Peaks” (1990), the western film “Tombstone” (1993), the satirical comedy film “The Silence of the Hams” (1994), and the horror film “Demon Knight” (1995). Egypt Independent recently sat down with Zane to discuss his experience at the festival so far, the importance of independent distribution for Egyptian films and his views on the Arab cinema scene. The conversation also touched on the actor s experiences shooting Titanic in 1997, as well as Zane s favorite Egyptian artist and exclusive details on his upcoming project. How is your visit to Egypt going so far? I am so grateful for those who organized it, the gracious and generous hosts of the International Cairo Film Festival as well as Enigma Magazine who threw an amazing party last night. I am also grateful for my Egyptian friend Ahmed Shabana who organized some great meetings. There is no better way to enter a city than to be honored. What are the other Arab countries that you have visited before? In the region, I have been to Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Turkey, Morocco, Tunisia. What do you like the most about your participation in the 41st edition of the CIFF? I really wish I could have (more) time to actually (participate), like watching some of the films and exchanging opinions with others. I can shed some light on distribution, for instance, of Egyptian films in the United States, which I think is really important. You want your film to be seen out of your community. There are great stories that are universal. How could independent distribution in particular be fruitful for Egyptian films? I was speaking to the head of the festival last night and said to him: When you think about your movies and funding them, the most beautiful thing in this particular process is that you don t go to festivals and look for someone to buy your film and pays you ten cents on the dollar and you never know what it is going to spend or how they are released. In this case (independent distribution), you are the distributor (and) you see (the process in a) transparent (way). So you spend a fraction but you get 30 screens or maybe five screens or maybe you can figure how you want to roll out your film. The recommendation is you integrate this into your production budget — by raising your budget, you can raise it a little bit more and then you work with cultural centers. One movie s success in this space helps many that would follow. You don t have to think that you have to cut through the noise… you can manifest a presence that becomes an interesting threshold for Netflix or all the (other) platforms and then pay a higher premium for your movie and buy. It is like you pay for the play (and) you pay for the visibility, but the benefits domestically and internationally are that much more favorable. I am going to share some of these chats that I had with him last night and make introductions in LA in addition to any other filmmakers who come over. So that s something that I would love to share. To what extent would you be interested in Arab collaboration in acting or production projects? To every extent, it would be great to help with that. I am not just interested to read something but I am interested in the science of the process like what would be the best use of a cross-cultural story that addresses issues in a way that could…shine a light or balance the plain feel of the narrative on assumptions that the west have. I am really looking at the human experience. Everyone needs work here (and) fundamentally we are all sharing the issue of the environment right now. For example, air quality, clear water — these issues are a great culture story about a common enemy. Is there a specific topic that you would like to tackle in a movie from the Arab world or Egypt in particular? I was doing some research and saw the impact of “Cairo 678” (2010). I read about it, (and) it came up in a conversation because there is a march in Paris calling for women s rights. This was critical and this theme is at the foundation of a lot, even the economic (issues). It is about the boys — in America we have a real crisis situation. You have a young man shooting at the schools…because they don t know how to deal with women, so this is common. This is not about just this region, because in the US there are poorly trained boys. This theme is important to me. This is the medicine — you should not look at the symptom but at the cause. We can look at the global social movement #Metoo that deals with protecting women. Yesterday, I was with a woman who created an incredible organization that protected women during the revolution in Egypt. It is incredible — they employed volunteers (and) women and men came to be bodyguards to protect the girls. It is not just an issue here; it is a global flow of the human experience. Also, the most important themes are archeology and women s empowerment and protection, but I go back to the foundation, to the cause, which is these boys — those who experience violence or exercise it. You have to go to the core (and) you have to heal the wounded or stop the mistreatment of these boys who (then) grown up to mistreat (others). You think I am talking about Egypt, (but) I am also talking about Ohio. It is everywhere. Every week we have a teenage boy…acting out violently. These are the issues I d like to see addressed in cinema, because it is the place where we can find a road map out of it. How do you view the current Arab cinematic scene? I can see great stories and storytellers as well. There is the function of an artist who helps you access whatever is going on inside you, your empathy and your internal world. You have a rich history (as well) — you have been making this before anyone. Do you have any Egyptian examples on your mind? Youssef Chahine is a legend. I love the story he did about the train station — the dramatic character of a man who is being rejected by women, in a terrible way. This story is still needed to be told today. We re still doing something like that in Hollywood (and) it is interesting. I see films that can never be seen in America, and they are so profound and beautifully shot — profoundly made and profoundly acted. Speaking of distribution, it will be really great to facilitate the distribution of these films in the west because I think there are mirrors and windows into culture that goes beyond a news cycle. That won t be just news gathering or a narrow focus on that news, it will be a window (into) that culture. What are the changes occurring now in Hollywood? We are now in a delivery system so you are looking at a new platform that is offering a high budget, a short form, serialized content and telling stories in digestible packets with great production. What are the most significant memories that you can remember from your acting experience in Titanic? Just how humbled i was by this scope (and) the fact that they had hired people who had never worked before like civil engineers who built infrastructure. They built Titanic to make this movie and sank the front-in in real time — imperfect science and unproven science being created in real rime at the cost of billions and much more. No one before had done anything like it. So it was a moonshot — it was a like a Nasa mission. Tell us about your upcoming projects. I am producing a film about Marlon Brando based on the memoir of an architect that he hired in 1969, and there is a very specific purity in his life. I love it because it is about Brando the social activist and it is a bit of a comedy. It is about Brando the champion who called for environmental rights and his genius insights — no one was thinking that way in the 60s.
This year, in its 41st edition, the Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF) increased its attention towards gender-equality and women empowerment issues. The festival highlighted women working in the industry and is holding a number of discussions tackling gender-equality. Though some might find that still a lot can be done, it is worth underlining some significant efforts which definitely boost the CIFF s image in the international campaign for gender-equality as well as open doors to numerous women filmmakers and their work, empowering women in the local, regional and international film industry. Gender Parity Pledge 5050×2020 The CIFF has joined a large network of festivals that signed the Gender Parity Pledge 5050×2020. The pledge signing was announced on 22 November – on the opening day of Cairo Industry Days – during the introduction to a panel discussion titled The Power of Storytelling to Address Gender-Based Violence in Egyptian Cinema and Television. The panel moderator Sandra De Castro Buffington (founder and former director of UCLA s Global Media Centre for Social Impact, and former director of Hollywood, Health & Society) reminded the participants that CIFF is the first Arab festival to have signed the Gender Parity Pledge 5050×2020. The pledge strives for better gender representation and transparency by the year 2020. The initiative was first introduced at the Cannes Film Festival in 2018 and soon signed by renowned International Film Festivals such as Venice, Toronto, Locarno, Turin, Berlin, among dozens of others. Information about the pledge was just an introduction to a panel that tackled gender-based violence in Egyptian cinema and television. The discussion brought together a number of well-known women working in the film industry: filmmakers Kamla Abou Zekri and Nadine Khan; screenwriter Mariam Naoum; creative producer Karen Tenkhoff; actress Sarrah Abdelrahman in addition to a male participant, filmmaker Amr Salama. Actress Sarah Abdelrahman, who opened the panel discussion, presented research which pointed to the lack of gender-equality in the Egyptian film industry despite the fact that many Egyptian women have made a great impact on and within the industry. According to the statistics provided by Abdelrahman, only a fifth of cast and crew, as well as the leading roles in many productions, include women. Though the numbers opened eyes on the many gaps that are yet to be addressed, the participants in the discussion agreed that the situation is already improving, slowly but surely. Filmmaker Amr Salama gave examples of many iconic Egyptian actresses whose role in the film industry was groundbreaking, starting with Faten Hamama, with two of the most prestigious awards given at the festival carrying her name. The women participants were invited to share their experiences in the film industry and talk about possible discrimination they witness directly or notice in their creative environment. Though no severe cases of gender-discrimination were cited, all the panellists asserted that women still have to make a much bigger effort to get noticed or have their projects accepted by the producers and other male members of the industry. Featuring women with short films produced by CIFF Working towards gender equality and women s empowerment, the CIFF has released short films on its social media showcasing the remarkable women of the Egyptian film industry. One such film reminds us of many important women who changed the face of Egyptian cinema: actress Aziza Amir (1901–1952), referred to as the mother of Egyptian cinema; actress, producer, screenwriter and musician Bahiga Hafez (1908–1983); actress, director and producer Fatma Roshdy (1908-1996), whose film The Marriage was the first Egyptian film to be directed by a woman; dancer, actress and director Amina Mohamed (1908-1985); and two Lebanese-born Egyptian actresses and producers Assia Dagher (1908-1984) and Mary Queeny (1913–2003). Another video prepared by CIFF and produced in cooperation with Vogue Arabia features today s stars of the Egyptian cinema: Mona Zaki, Menna Shalaby, Hend Sabry, Hala Shiha, Nour, Dorra, Tara Emad, Sherine Reda, and Nelly Karim. The narration of the short film is taken from one of Faten Hamama s interviews, in which she underscores the importance of woman in the film industry and the women s role in changing the world. “I now think, or perhaps believe, [that] I must always portray stories written by women. Because a woman knows how to express another woman s demeanour. She can describe her character and portray her emotions perfectly,” Hamama s voice says. Jury, films by women and about women Women are present on different levels of the festival. This year, one of the major honorary awards of the Cairo International Film Festival, the Faten Hamama Excellence Award, was granted to the young Egyptian actress Menna Shalaby. The award was granted to Shalaby during the official opening of the festival. Women s representation within the CIFF extends to a number of women sitting on jury panels. The international jury deciding on the winner of the Golden Pyramid consists of six international filmmakers and writers, two of whom are women (directors Marion Hansel from Belgium and actress Qin Hailu from China). The films competing for the main award still lack presence of women directors, with Najwa Nijjar s Between Heaven and Earth (Palestine), Marian Khoury s Let s Talk (Egypt) being among a few such entries. The presence of women is not impressive in the jury of Horizons of Arab Cinema Competition either. The five jury members include two women, Egyptian actress Hana Shiha and Moroccan producer Lamia Chraibi. The International Critics Week Competition, however, has two women out of three jury members: critic Jessica Kiang from Ireland and Egyptian director Nadine Khan. Moving on to the Cinema of Tomorrow International Competition for short fiction films, we meet two women in charge of the final choice: Egyptian actress Hanan Motawea and Dutch film promotion expert Nathalie Mierop. Women s presence is apparent across many panel discussions either moderated by them or with their presence among the speakers, though of course one would wish to find a larger female contribution in the festival s upcoming editions. When looking at programming, the festival included numerous films which are either directed by women or focus on women s issues and struggles, many of which point to the need for direct empowerment. A few films are worth pointing to, starting with Khartoum Offside directed by Marwa Zein, a Sudanese entry in the Arab Competition. The film talks about a group of persistent Sudanese women who want to become professional football players in the time when The Islamic Fiqh Council refused the establishment of a women s soccer team. One of the fascinating entries is Dunya s Day, a Saudi film where the camera follows Dunya, a young girl living in an affluent suburb of Riyadh, as she heads for a perfectly planned graduation party that ends in disaster. The film unveils social and cultural realities of Saudi Arabia. Directed by Raed Alsemari, one of five Arab Stars of Tomorrow, as revealed by Screen International, Dunya s Day was the first short film screened commercially in Saudi Arabia and winner of the Short Film Jury Award at the Sundance Film Festival s International Film Section (2019). Hava, Maryam, Ayesha, an Afghani film participating in International Panorama, delves into the lives of three women living in the same city – Kabul – yet representing different social and cultural backgrounds. India s entry to the International Panorama, a film titled Dawn (Bhor) by Narayn Singh, presents the life of a teenage girl who is eager to have a better future and a different destiny than that of her female relatives and peers, many of whom give up on education while living in deplorable conditions. In the same section, a film titled Maternal (Italy, Argentina) and directed by Maura Delpero, takes us to “hogar”, a home for teenage mothers run by Italian nuns. The film focuses on three women, each with different hopes and dreams, embraced by one institution that disconnects them from the world outside. Midnight Screenings presents Swallow, a US/France production directed by Carlo Mirabella-Davis. The film brief reveals Hunter, a newly pregnant housewife who finds herself increasingly compelled to consume dangerous substances. As her husband and his family tighten their control over her life, she must confront the dark secret behind her new obsession.
Governor of Kafr al-Sheikh Ismail Taha said on Tuesday that a path following the Holy Family s journey in Egypt in the Sakha region will be complete before June 2020. The project is of great interest to the government in bolstering religious tourism, creating jobs and developing infrastructure in the governorates where the path will run, he added. In October 2017 Egypt s Tourism Ministry announced that Pope Francis had approved Egypt s proposed “path” taken by the Holy Family as a Coptic pilgrimage site, as the path allows religious tourists to follow the voyage of the holy family from Sinai to Upper Egypt after fleeing from persecution at the hands of King Herod in Palestine. Archaeologists and historians also supported the proposal allowing visitors to follow in the blessed footsteps of the Holy Family and giving tourists the opportunity to reenact their voyage, exploring and discovering the towns and others sites they likely traveled through during their flight to Egypt. Taha said that revitalizing the path following the Holy Family s journey is one of the most important national projects in Egypt, especially after the project received a blessing from the Pope and was designated a pilgrimage site. The route taken by the Holy Family in Egypt, which marks stopping points during their flight from Palestine, extends from Rafah in North Sinai and goes through the northeast through the Delta region, moving next to Cairo. The path following the Holy Family s voyage is set to run through Beheira, Sharqia, Kafr el-Sheikh, Minya, Assiut, Gharbia and North Sinai, and the trek represents the world s longest pilgrimage in a single country, the governor added. Meanwhile, Minister of Local Development Mahmoud Shaarawy held a meeting at the ministry s headquarters to review the latest developments related to the project, Taha said, adding that the meeting reviewed the most important contributions made by the governorates participating in the implementation of the project. The meeting also covered the financial and administrative aspects of the project and progress on the ground in each governorate, with discussions focused as well on overcoming any obstacles facing implementation of the project. Progress made so far includes paving a number of roads and developing areas along the Holy Family s route, which includes renovating toilets and rest houses, afforestation efforts, installation of traffic signs and signals, and ensuring that services are provided on the roads leading to the path, Taha pointed out. For his part, Shaarawy stressed that they hope to complete the development of 25 archaeological sites, including the areas where the Holy Family lived and stopped briefly during their journey to Egypt. Shaarawy, like Taha, also emphasized that the government is keen to continue supporting the project as part of their efforts to bolster religious tourism, support the Egyptian economy through job creation, and develop infrastructure. During the meeting with Shaarawy, church officials seconded the Minister in describing the importance of the project and praised cooperation between various governorates and ministries working toward completing the path.
Six years after "Frozen kicked up a pop-culture blizzard, the sequel to Elsa, Anna and Olaf s adventures snowed-in the box office with an estimated $127 million debut domestically and $350.2 million worldwide, according to studio estimates Sunday. The opening for the Walt Disney Co. s "Frozen 2 buried several records. It s the highest-grossing weekend ever for any animated film globally. It marks a new high in the U.S. and Canada for an animated movie released outside of the summer season. And it s the largest opening for any Walt Disney Animation Studios release. Disney opted for the week ahead of Thanksgiving to open "Frozen 2, meaning it will get a significant second week bump from kids out of school. The first "Frozen opened over Thanksgiving, earning $93 million in five days and $67 million for the three-day weekend. The original, though, quickly grew into a sensation, remaining in the top 10 at the box office for 17 weeks and ultimately grossing $1.27 billion. Propelled in part by the hit song "Let it Go, "Frozen begat a flurry of merchandizing, untold numbers of Elsa dresses and a Broadway musical. It won two Academy Awards, for best animated feature and original song. Matching that total gross won t be easy sledding, but "Frozen 2 has a head start. Cathleen Taff, distribution chief for Disney, granted there s a "high bar set by "Frozen, but she s confident of the film s enormous appeal. "We can t open to a number this big without everybody coming out to see it, said Taff. "We re looking forward to a good run through the holidays given kids are going to start getting out of school this next week. Reviews and audience reaction have been good for "Frozen 2, but not as strong as they were for the original. The CinemaScore was A- for "Frozen 2, whereas "Frozen yielded an A+. Critics were also a little less taken with the sequel: 75% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, compared to 90% for the original. But scores were still very high, including a 93% Rotten Tomatoes audience rating. Crowds were largely female (59%) but not extremely so. The film brings back much of the talent behind the 2013 original, including the voices of Idina Menzel (Elsa), Kristen Bell (Anna) and Josh Gad (Olaf). Also returning are songwriters Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, though the music this time hasn t be quite as enthusiastically received. And it s again directed by Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee, who s now the chief creative officer at Disney Animation. "Frozen 2 helped thaw a frigid November box office. The last three weeks have seen a string of films rooted in decades-old intellectual property fizzle, including Warner Bros. "Doctor Sleep, Paramount Pictures "Terminator: Dark Fate and Sony Pictures "Charlie s Angels. But Elsa could do only so much to move the needle. The weekend was actually down 7% from the same frame last year, according to data firm Comscore. In 2018, there were simply more big movies in the marketplace, including "Ralph Breaks the Internet, "Creed II and "Fantastic Beasts: Crimes of Grindelwald. Last week s top film, "Ford v Ferrari slipped 49% in its second week to a distant second with $16 million. James Mangold s film, also a Disney release (courtesy of the studio s acquisition of 20th Century Fox), has grossed $103.8 million worldwide thus far. Starring Christian Bale and Matt Damon, the movie has also joined this season s sped-up Oscar race. (The Academy Awards will be held Feb. 9 this year.) Marielle Heller s Mister Rogers drama "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, starring Tom Hanks and Matthew Rhys, is also in the Oscar mix. It opened in third with $13.5 million. That was roughly on target for the Sony Pictures release, which cost about $25 million to make. It, too, should be positioned to play well through the holidays. Less successful was the crime thriller "21 Bridges, starring Chadwick Boseman as a police detective who puts Manhattan on lockdown for a manhunt. Up against steep competition for adult audiences, "21 Bridges raised $9.2 million in tolls for STXfilms, a so-so result for a film that cost $33 million to produce. The film is produced by Anthony and Joseph Russo, whose last movie as directors, "Avengers: Endgame, did slightly better. Todd Haynes legal thriller "Dark Waters opened in four theaters with a strong per-theater average of $27,467. The Focus Features release, starring Mark Ruffalo, is based on a 2016 New York Times Magazine article about a corporate attorney who sued the Dupont chemical company over the health and environmental effects of a "forever chemical used by Dupont. Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore. Where available, the latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday are also included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday. 1. "Frozen, $127 million ($223.2 million international). 2. "Ford v Ferrari, $16 million. 3. "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, $13.5 million. 4. "21 Bridges, $9.3 million. 5. "Midway, $4.7 million. 6. "Playing With Fire, $4.6 million. 7. "The Good Liar, $3.8 million. 8. "Charlie s Angels, $3.2 million. 9. "Last Christmas, $3 million. 10. "Joker, $2.8 million.
Egyptian actress Menna Shalaby has revealed that playing emotionally disturbed characters has sometimes forced her to see psychologists. “Sometimes you get to play a character that was raped, hurt, or witnessed a shock, and this affects you eventually. I personally overcome this pressure by intensifying training and rehearsals, or seeking professional help to decompress after playing difficult roles,” the 37-year-old multi-award winner revealed on Friday during a master-class moderated by American film critic Jay Weissberg and attended by many known actors, filmmakers and critics. The talk was held amid the various activities of the 41st Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF), running between 20 and 29 November, in which Shalaby has been awarded the Faten Hamama Honorary Award. Dedicating the award to her mother, Shalaby praised all the important directors she has collaborated with, including Radwan Al-Kashif, Mohamed Khan, and Osama Fawzy, Youssef Chahine, Hala Khalil, Kamla Abu Zekry, Maha Abu Ouf, Yousry Nasrallah and others, recounting memories of working with some of them. Women write better about women The jury member of a few film festivals, Shalaby praised her experiences working with female directors and scriptwriters, saying that "women write better about women." “Art has no gender, but women have little bit of an edge when writing about women. My experience with women filmmakers in Hala Khalil s The Best of Times and Nawara was great because, as women, they knew how to write about women in terms of feelings and reactions,” said Shalaby, though she did also praise some female characters written by men, mentioning her role in About Love and Passion , written by Tamer Habib, as an example Shalaby began her career in 2001 with the television series Morning and Evening Talk, based on a story by Nobel laureate Naguib Mahfouz. Her silver screen debut was also in 2001 when she got a role in the late Radwan Al-Kashef s The Magician. Ever since, Shalaby has worked with many renowned Egyptian directors, with her filmography including I Love Cinema (2004 dir. Osama Fawzi), The Best of Times (2004, dir. Hala Khalil), Downtown Girls (2005, dir. Mohamed Khan), About Love and Passion (2006, dir Kamla Abouzekry), Chaos (2007, dir. Youssef Chahine), Microphone (2010, dire Ahmad Abdalla) and multi-award-winning film Nawara directed by Hala Khalil. The CIFF is holding a large number of activities including the honouring of various cinema experts with a special tribute to the CIFF s longtime artistic director Youssef Cherif Rizkallah, as well as the screening of 153 films from 63 countries, with a special focus on Mexican cinema.
During the Cairo Industry Days, critic Andrew Mohsen, director of the Cinema of Tomorrow, a section within the Cairo International Film Fetsival (CIFF) said he is thrilled about the CIFF becoming an Oscar qualifying film festival. The Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences decision applies to the winner of the Best Short Film award in the Cinema of Tomorrow, a section where a large selection of short films compete for the Youssef Chahine Award for Best Short Film and the Special Jury Award. The winning film will also be eligible for consideration in the Animated and Live Action Short Film Categories of the Academy Awards without the standard theatrical run, provided the film complies with academy rules. Mohsen said "this privilege will add to the competition management more responsibility in the selection process. In addition, more short films will take part in the next rounds. Naturally, this will increase the expectations of the competing films raising the bar for all filmmakers, boosting the short films competition and the CIFF as a whole." The festival, which opened on 20 November and continues until 29 November, showcases over 150 films from 63 countries. This year, the Cinema of Tomorrow screens 20 films from around the world. The jury members include Egyptian actress Hanan Motawea and Dutch film promotion expert Nathalie Mierop. According to the regulations announced this year, films participating in the Cinema of Tomorrow International Competition for Short Films must have been produced after September 2018, with the duration of the film not exceeding 30 minutes. All genres are welcomed to the competition s section yet they should neither have been screened in Egypt prior to the official opening of the CIFF, nor screened on any TV, satellite channel, or internet site. The announcement about the CIFF becoming an Oscar qualifying festival was made during the opening of the Cairo Industry Days (22-26 November), a CIFF segment launched by the festival s president, Mohamed Hefzy, last year. The Cairo Industry Days brings together industry professionals from around the world to engage in a programme of master classes, panel discussions and events designed to inspire, display and support regional filmmaking talents.
On Thursday, the Cairo Film Festival will screen Martin Scorsese s “The Irishman” (2019) to the public for free at the Grand Theater of the Cairo Opera House. Produced by Netflix, the films events are inspired by the Charles Brandt s book “I Heard You Paint Houses: Frank The Irishman Sheeran and Closing the Case on Jimmy Hoffa” (2004). The movie stars Oscar-winning actors Al Pacino, Joe Pesci and Robert De Niro, and marks De Niro s ninth collaboration with Scorsese. The story revolves around the rise of organized crime in the US in the period following World War II, telling a multi-generational tale of one of the most mysterious crimes in contemporary American history: the disappearance of legendary trade union leader Jimmy Hoffa, played by Al Pacino in the film. Revealing the undercover world of organized crime, their internal conflicts, and their relations with men of power and politicians. De Niro portrays retired veteran Frank Sheeran, a fraudster and professional killer who worked with the most dangerous gangs of the twentieth century. Pesci plays the ringleader Russell Buffalino, alongside a cast of stars including Harvey Keitel, Ray Romano, Bobby Canaval, Anna Paquin and Stephen Graham. The movie is anticipated to contest the Oscars later.
A few days ago, Egypt witnessed a major historical military achievement as President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi opened the South Bernese military base, in the presence of a number of Arab and foreign heads of state and defense ministers and high-ranking diplomatic figures. The South Bernice Military Base was built in a record time, as it took only one year to build one of the giant military fortresses on the southern strat