The El Gouna Film Festival was determined to nurture a culture that makes it possible for filmmakers to transform their visions into reality despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
The nine-day event is the first film festival to take place in the Middle East in 2020.
There were 63 feature films, 18 short films, and 10 documentaries from around the world at the festival in Egypt.
“The decision to do the festival was mainly based on the fact that we want life to go on, it’s a message of hope, a message of happiness and a message of defiance, and cinema is all about that,” said Naguib Sawiris, the founder of El Gouna Film Festival.
The closing ceremony saw Quo Vadis, Aida?, which was directed by Jasmila Zbanic claim the golden star award for best feature narrative.
The movie followed Aida, a UN translator, who tries to save her family during the 1995 Bosnian war.
Another female director who triumphed, was Tunisia’s Kaother Ben Hania. She won best Arab Feature Narrative, with her movie The Man Who Sold His Skin, which centres on a Syrian refugee living in Europe.
“I’m really glad to win this award in an Arabic country, because it’s a movie about a refugee in Europe, but let’s say it’s with an Arabic point of you, which you know is not common,” Ben Hania said.
Behind the spotlight, the festival also ran the CineGouna platform to fund and support young filmmakers with projects that addressed topics of political struggle, humanity, and women empowerment from across the region.