AFAC-supported films win big in Cairo
04 Dec 2022

AFAC-supported films took home seven awards at the 2022 edition of the Cairo International Film Festival this past November.

We invite you to take a quick dive into what these exciting filmmakers took to Cairo and help us in congratulating them on their award winning time.

Lebanese director Bassem Breche’s Riverbed held its world premiere in the Horizons of Arab Cinema section in Cairo. The film sketches a portrait of its main protagonist Salma, who has been able to survive hardship by relinquishing all her worldly attachments. However, this is complicated when her daughter Thuraya returns home, and the two characters must find a way to reconstruct their lives with and against one another. The film took home the Horizons of Arab Cinema Salah Abu Seif Special Jury Award and the Best Arab Film Special Mention. Carole Abboud, the film’s leading role, won the Horizons of Arab Cinema Award for Best Acting Performance.

The Flag
Palestinian filmmaker Firas Khoury’s The Flag also premiered in the festival. Having screened in the International Competition section, the film focuses on the lives of several Palestinian high school students who have hatched a secret plan called the “Flag Operation,” which will see them replace the Israeli flag that flies above their school with a Palestinian flag on the day of the Nakba. The plan isn’t so simple for all the co-conspirators, however, as Tamer, one of the students, must choose between his sense of comradery with his fellow students in their act of rebellion and his father’s advice to prioritize safety.

The film received the Youssef Cherif Rizkallah Audience Award and the International Competition Golden Pyramid Award. Lead actor Mahmoud Bakri was named International Competition Best Actor.

The Dam
Lebanese director Ali Cherri’s first feature-length film The Dam also showed in the International Competition section. Set in Sudan, the film follows Maher, a seasonal brickmaker living near a dam on the Nile, as he wanders off into the desert each evening to create a mysterious structure out of plastic, mud and wood. When the Sudanese revolution takes life, so does Maher’s mud creature. Leading actor Maher El Khair won the International Competition Best Actor award.

Cairo Film Connection

Away from the bright lights of the official selections, the CIFF held its 9th edition of Cairo Film Connection, which brought together international producers, financiers, distributors and representatives from funding bodies, sales agents and TV channels to kick start and initiate film projects.

Four films in progress from the broader AFAC community participated in this year’s edition as they looked for more opportunities for their projects.

Red Path
Tunisian director Lotfi Achour’s Red Path tells the story of two young shepherds, Nizar and his cousin Achraf, who wander into a militarized zone in central Tunisia in search of grazing pastures and are attacked by Islamist militants. In the midst of the attack Achraf loses consciousness, only to awake to find Nizar’s decapitated body beside him. The militants kick his cousin’s head toward him, ordering the horror-stricken boy to deliver Nizar’s head to his family as a warning.

Let’s Play Soldiers
Let’s Play Soldiers, directed by Yemeni filmmaker Mariam Al-Dhubhani, traces the story of Nasser, a child soldier in Yemen, who is attempting to break the multi-generation curse that has now come for him.

A Butterfly Hug
Egyptian director Sally Abobasha’s A Butterfly Hug sketches a portrait of teenage friends trying to define what it means to express themselves as they cope with a life-threatening skin condition.

Theft of Fire
Theft of Fire, directed by Palestinian filmmaker Amer Shomali, attempts to place a focused eye on the theft of Palestinian antiquities by Israeli military leader and politician Moshe Dayan.

For the full program and screening schedule, see the CIFF website.