Egypt’s El Gouna Film Festival will be back this year after being put on hiatus in 2022.
Organizers have announced that the prominent Arab fest’s 6th edition will take place in the Red Sea resort town between Oct. 13-20, while the fest’s industry arm, the CineGouna Platform, will run Oct. 15-19.
The fest, which was launched in 2017 by Egyptian telecom billionaire Naguib Sawiris – whose brother Samih built the El Gouna resort in a swathe of desert near Hurghada, a tourist town 250 miles south of Cairo – had been cancelled last year after five successful editions. Though no reason was given, the one year break was possibly due to Egypt’s Red Sea area is being impacted by the war between Russia and Ukraine, whose citizens represent about 40% of beach tourists who travel to Egypt annually.
Since 2017 artistic director Intishal Al Timimi has rapidly put El Gouna on the international festival map, proving its mettle in promoting the cream of the region’s cinematic crop while also providing key support in nurturing new works through the informal CineGouna market.
“After five successful editions we wanted to take some time to re-evaluate the program and explore all our options and reflect on how best to take the festival forward,” Al Timimi said in a statement. “We now return, totally re-energized, and inspired to resume our past efforts to encourage the development of the industry in the region,” he added.
The one year break also “Allowed GFF’s management to reflect on the artistic and organizational aspects of the festival and to focus on consolidating the role GFF has played so far in the development of the film industry regionally and internationally,” the fest said in the statement.
In terms of management El Gouns fest co-founder Amr Mansi has been appointed the event’s executive director, replacing Amal El Masri, who served in that role during the event’s last two editions.
El Gouna is now back on what appears to be solid financial footing and reclaiming its spot on the increasingly crowded end-of-year Arab film festival calendar. El Gouna will once again be competing for premiers, talents, and top industry execs with other well-established events in Marrakesh, Cairo, and with Saudi Arabia’s deep-pocketed Red Sea Film Festival, all of which are scheduled to take place between October and December.