El Gouna Artistic Director Amir Ramses Steps Down Before Festival Ends

Amir Ramses, artistic director of the ongoing El Gouna Film Festival in Egypt, has resigned in the final days of the event. It’s believed he may have stepped down due to growing local opposition to Cannes-winning film “Feathers,” by Egyptian filmmaker Omar El Zohairy.

The film follows a family thrown into disarray after its patriarch is accidentally turned into a chicken by a magician during a children’s birthday party. “Feathers” debuted at the Cannes Critics’ Week, where it won the grand prize and the FIPRESCI prize. Following its screening at El Gouna, several prominent local critics took issue with the portrayal of Egypt in the film, which may have led to Ramses’ resignation, Variety understands. Ramses is also a filmmaker.

Variety has reached out to the festival for comment.

On Wednesday, El Zohairy won the Variety Middle East and North African Region Talent Award, given annually at the festival.

“I’m an Egyptian filmmaker. I learned here and this is also coming from my heart, and I’m so glad that everyone’s talking about my new Egyptian cinema,” El Zohairy said while accepting the award. “I’m so glad I’m taking this award in Egypt, my beloved country, our great culture, our peoples, our heritage of cinema. And I’m so honored to be part of this culture, to be part of this heritage.

“This award is for Egyptian cinema, for the new art that’s coming from Egypt, for the new generations, for the new country that is presenting itself to the world,” El Zohairy continued. “I made the film for humanity. I was sincere; it was my emotion.”

The festival, which kicked off on Oct. 14, has been one of the most eventful international confabs this fall. The day before the fest opened, a fire broke out in the main festival venue. Days later, Palestinian filmmaker Said Zagha was deported en route to El Gouna. On Tuesday, Mohammad Bakrfi, the Palestinian actor due to collect his career achievement award, canceled his trip in solidarity with Zagha.

Source: Read Full Article