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New works by Soudade Kaadan, Lina Soualem at Cairo Film Connection

by Stewart Cole

New works by emerging Arab directors Soudade Kaadan (“The Day I Lost My Shadow”) and Lina Soualem (“Their Algeria”) are among the highlights to be presented at the upcoming Cairo Film Connection, the co-production platform of the Cairo Film Festival. where eight of the 15 selected works are by women filmmakers.

This year mMore than a third of the CFC selection consists of debut directors presenting works, along with names who broke with their debut and are now working on their second films, and other directors making their first narrative features after establishing themselves in the documentary world. .

The president of the Cairo Film Festival, Mohamed Hefzi, noted with pride that they received 110 unprecedented submissions, most of which came from newcomers.

“We decided to take a risk on our choices and shed light on new and selective talent,” said new CFC director Chadi Zeneddine, a former programmer at the Doha Film Institute.

The three films in the post, which will probably be released soon on the festival circuit, include Kaadan’s new drama against the backdrop of “Nezouh” Syria, about a tough family conflict caused by the country’s civil war. “Nezouh” follows after Kaadan won the Lion of the Future of the 2018 Venice Film Festival with “The Day I Lost My Shadow”. The long-awaited photo was released by Oscar-winning producer Donna Gigliotti (“Shakespeare in Love”) and has already been distributed in France (Pyramide), China (Stars Collective) and throughout the MENA (MAD Solutions) region.

The other two full-length films presented to buyers and festival organizers at the CFC are Moroccan debut adult drama “A Summer in Boujad” and Moroccan debut “Alam – The Flag”, also a feature-length Palestinian first. director Fira Houri. “Flag” follows a 17-year-old Palestinian-Israeli whose political apathy is challenged when he falls in love with a beautiful and politically committed new classmate, leading him to a dangerous act of protest against the Israeli government.

The seven films in progress include “My Driver and I”, the lively directorial debut of New York-trained Saudi actor / director Ahd Kamel (“Collateral”, “Wadjda”). It is a story of adulthood for a girl from Saudi Arabia who grew up in the 80s and 90s, and her friendship with her guide, based on Kamel’s personal experience.

“Nour” (photo) by Egyptian Sara Shazli (“Let’s Talk”), which makes the transition from features to documents, is an adult drama involving a close friendship between two teenage girls that becomes toxic. Egyptian director Farida Zahran’s comedy “The Leftover Ladies” based in Brooklyn, Cairo, about a 63-year-old woman trying to leave her polygamous husband. and “Aicha”, a portrait of a Tunisian woman in her thirties and something struggling with social imperatives and frustration, directed by Mehdi Barsaoui (“A Son”) are among other notable developmental features.

Selected documentaries in development include “Bye Bye Tiberias”, which is the sequel to Lina Swalem in her moving multi-award winning family portrait “Their Algeria”. In “Tiberias”, the French-Palestinian-Algerian multi-collector based in Paris, who is the daughter of Palestinian actor and director Hiam Abbas, reveals the multiple levels of her mother’s journey from her departure from the Palestinian village of Deir Hanna in Galilee. famous star who is today. One of the few Arab talents to appear regularly in American films, including “Blade Runner 2049” and Hulu’s upcoming “Hellraiser”.

The CFC selection includes five projects from Egypt, three from Tunisia and one project from each of the following countries: Algeria, Lebanon, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Morocco and Syria.

Complete list of Cairo Film Connection projects:

Narrative Works in Development

“The Leftover Ladies” (Egypt)
Directed by: Farida Zahran

“My Guide and I” (Saudi Arabia, UK)
Director: Ahd Kamel

Life After Siham (Egypt, France)
Director: Nameer AbdelMassih

“Nur” (Egypt)
Directed by: Sara Shazli

“In the Land of Aram” (Lebanon, Armenia)
Directed by: Tamara Stepanyan

“City Ravens” (Egypt, Sudan)
Director: Adham El-Sherif

“Aicha” (Tunisia, France)
Directed by: Mehdi Barsaoui

Documentary in development

“Bullets do not kill. Silence Does “(Tunisia, France)
Directed by: Hind Meddeb

“American Dream” (Egypt)
Director: Amir El Shenawy

“Bye Bye Tiberias” (Algeria, France, Belgium, Qatar)
Directed by: Lina Swalem

Narrative Characteristics in Post-Production

“A Summer in Boujad” (Morocco)
Directed by: Omar Mouldouira

“Alam – The Flag” (Palestine, France)
Directed by: Fira Houri

“Nezouh” (Syria)
Directed by: Soudade Kaadan

Documentary in Post-Production

“Mohsen of Iraq” (Iraq, Costa Rica)
Director: Ishtar Yasin

“On the Hill” (Tunisia)
Directed by: Belhassen Handous

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