Zawya, Egypt's first art house cinema, returns with the second edition of Cairo Cinema days (Ayam El Qahera El Cinema’eya) from 23 – 30 April. This initiative launched in 2017 curates the latest award winning and critically acclaimed Arab films of the last 18 months.
Starting Monday, the second edition of the film festival will screen 34 films from 10 Arab countries over seven days, including narrative films, documentaries and shorts. Film screenings will be held in downtown Cairo, Alexandria, Ismailia and Port Said. The film festival provides an opportunity for Egyptian audiences to discover important yet rarely watched works from Lebanon, Syria, Palestine Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, Jordan and Egypt, and provides a platform to discover the best talent of contemporary Arab cinema.
The objective behind the event is to get audiences to watch the films that have impressed at international festivals, as well as shine a light on experimental and unconventional Arab cinema which address important issues in the Arab world. Though it is a challenge to find a market for these films, the curators remain committed to showcasing films that are often unable to secure commercial releases in the countries from which the stories and filmmakers originate.
In addition to film screenings, the event also includes parallel events such as film discussions and masterclasses. In its first edition, the festival made was able to attract around 3600 admissions for featured films from over 10 countries.
Zawya, which translates in Arabic as “perspective”, started out from a decades-old cinema in the heart of downtown Cairo and has grown into a project with a team of four who skilfully curate and host several screenings at a time. They also leads directors’ talks, workshops, contests, and an annual Panorama of the European Film.
Some ne of the highly anticipated films screened are: Cannes 2017 Un Certain Regard entry 'Beauty and the Dogs' by writer-director Kaouther Ben Hania who made the acclaimed Challat of Tunis (2013). 'In the Ruins of Baalbeck Studios' is a documentary which screened in Berlin, follows the revival of the archive of the biggest film production studio in the Arab world located in Beirut. New York-based Iranian director Shirin Neshat’s 'Looking for Oum Kulthum,' which chronicles the life of the legendary Egyptian singer.