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El Gouna Film Festival opens in Egypt despite COVID-19

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El Gouna Film Festival opens in Egypt despite COVID-19
Copyright  Daleen Hassan, euronews
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The curtain has opened on the fourth edition of Egypt’s El Gouna Film Festival.

Under the banner “The Culture of Dreams”, the nine-day festival will stage 63 films, including 11 world premieres.

Following in the footsteps of the Venice Film Festival, the event is going ahead despite COVID-19. Organisers say coronavirus security measures will be in place and attendance has been cut by 50% for both indoor and outdoor venues.

“There is no way to be really with the filmmakers to support cinema mission without film festivals at this moment, especially for the independent cinema,” said festival director Entishal Al Tamimi.

Against the red sea backdrop, actors and filmmakers walked the red carpet, with some jazzing up their outfits with stylish face masks.

Unlike previous years, due to travel restrictions, few international stars were able to make the journey to Egypt. One famous face attracting attention was Gérard Depardieu, who picked up the career achievement award in the opening ceremony.

‘The Man Who Sold His Skin’

‘The Man Who Sold His Skin’ directed by Tunisia’s Kaouther Ben Hania opened the festival.

The film centres around a Syrian refugee in Lebanon who becomes a tattooed canvas in exchange for travel.

“From the perspective of the character, he’s not a refugee he’s given that label of a refugee and that’s something he has to confront and that’s part of the ingenuity Kaouther has achieved in this movie,” said actor Yahya Mahayni.