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What were the highlights of El Gouna Film Festival’s third edition?

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What were the highlights of El Gouna Film Festival’s third edition?
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The third edition of the El Gouna Film Festival came to a close on September 27.

The festival held nine days of screenings, masterclasses and panels, showcasing 84 films from 41 different countries.

SPOTLIGHTING SUDANESE CINEMA

Talent from Sudan scooped some of the biggest prizes at this year’s event.

The El Gouna Golden Star, along with prize money of $50,000 (€46,000), was awarded to director Amjad Abu Alala for his work on You Will Die At 20.

Meanwhile, Suhaib Gasmelbari received the Best Feature Documentary award for his film Talking About Trees.

"It means a lot for a country that doesn’t have cinema,” Alala told Euronews’s Daleen Hassan. “It is bad that there is no cinema industry in Sudan, but I think it is very useful as we are talking here about untold stories.”

Scene from You Will Die At 20, directed by Amjad Abu Alala and El Gouna Golden Star winner

EUROPEAN FILMS WITH IMPACT

Alongside filmmakers from the Middle East and North Africa, European filmmakers were on display at the El Gouna Film Festival.

Pain and Glory directed by Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar, screened for the first time in Egypt, and French journalist-turned-director, Caroline Fourest unveiled her feature film Sisters in Arms.

Caroline Fourest on the set of Sisters in Arms

The movie recounts the challenge of Kurdish fighters and the horrors that the Yezidi women, a Kurdish-speaking ethno-religious community based in Northern Iraq, faced in the battle against ISIS.

“We do films to cross boundaries,” Fourest said. “This movie is very special because it's the first feminist war movie, showing the fact that some woman really terrorized the jihadis during the last war. Showing it here in Egypt, it's really something really special.”

CINEMA FOR HUMANITY

Another highlight from this year’s event was a five-year agreement signed between UNICEF and the El Gouna Film Festival, to support the rights of disadvantaged children across Egypt and the region. This Is My Night, directed by Yusuf Noaman and supported by UNICEF, screened at this year’s El Gouna short film competition.

Scene from This Is My Night, directed by Yusuf Noaman and supported by UNICEF

The film portrays the day in the life of a mother who has child with Down syndrome. The pair faces challenges during an outing to luxurious district in Cairo.

As with previous years, the festival emphasized its mission to promote global cultural interaction, support new talent in the Arab world and make the voices of the most vulnerable heard through the arts.

More from El Gouna Film Festival:

How can film play a part in refugee crisis? El Gouna Film Festival panel discusses

Egypt’s first animated feature that took 20 years to make premieres

How do you get your movie seen around the world?

Palestinian filmmaker Mai Masri shares her advice

El Gouna Film Festival: Looks from the red carpet

SEEN ON SOCIAL MEDIA: RED CARPET GLAMOUR

Singer-songwriter Lara Scandar wore a billowing midnight blue velvet gown by Lebanese designer Nicolas Jebran.

And TV presenter Enjy Kiwan wore a statement citrine dress by Egyptian label Maison Yeya, the very same worn by J-Lo at the Toronto Film Festival.