The boat sailed across the Nile until it met the temple, where two majestic statues of Ramses awaited. The dancer spread his wings as the temple lights greeted the participants: the third Luxor African Film Festival had begun.
Suggestive and compelling, the scene eloquently displayed the festival’s purpose. Egypt, a geographical bridge between the Arab and African worlds, was the perfect location for an event that envisioned the writing of a different history, composed with the voices and melodies of the African continent.
Organized last month by the Independent Shabab Foundation (ISF), the festival aims to support African filmmakers and encourage partnerships. “It was a unique opportunity for filmmakers and students to network. We organized excursion tours of Luxor and several workshops where guests interacted with each other”, said the festival’s coordinator, Sharine Atif.
With 48 countries represented and over 400 participants, including Hollywood star Danny Glover, North African countries took most of the prices. Egyptian producer Saad Hendawi triumphed in the documentary category, with Doaa Aziza, as did Tunisian short narrative The Wooden Hand, which also received the Nile Grand Award.
Among other Arab triumphant films, Algerian-made The Rooftops obtained the Special Jury Award as best long narrative, while both The River (Algeria) and Emirs in Wonderland (Tunisia) received recognition as long documentaries.
But perhaps the festival’s most promising feature is the newly created Etisal fund, which this year raised 60,000 dollars to support African filmmakers and showcase their work at the festival’s next edition. This fund, says Atif, will hopefully set the basis for a genuine African film market.
“Through cinema, we are reclaiming our history, the stories that were stolen, and presenting it to the world in our own way,” said Ethiopian director Halley Gerima at the closing ceremony.
For more information – Luxor African Film Festival‘s website.