El Gouna Film Festival’s 4th edition which started on Oct. 23 and closes on Oct. 30th in the sunny coastal town of El Gouna, Red Sea is the first film festival to take place physically in the MENA region post pandemic. The festival aims to support the Arab film industry during this difficult time and to reignite the region’s international ties.
Factoring in all the complications that come with the pandemic, the management team behind GFF have fully reimagined this year’s edition to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all. Under the auspices and guidance of the Egyptian Ministry of Health and Population, strict health and safety measures have been put in place and communicated to all staff and attendees.
Most of the festival’s social activities are taking place at spacious outdoor venues to ensure social distancing can be easily implemented. Masks and hand sanitizers are provided for free at all festival locations and the occupancy of all venues were kept at half capacity. The Ministry of Health provided emergency rescue facilities, ambulances and a big medical team to assist where needed.
With a total lineup of 65 films from 42 countries, it is evident that this year’s GFF is showcasing a diverse selection of local, regional and international films that deserve support and recognition. A total of $300,000 in prize money will be awarded at the closing ceremony on Oct. 30th for the winners of the films in GFF’s main three competitions namely, feature narrative, documentary and short. The industry arm of the festival, the CineGouna Platform, closes on Oct. 29th and will offer awards worth $350,000 for films in development and/ or post production.
The main festival hub is taking place at a spectacular outdoor venue called the Festival Plaza, located in the heart of the newly launched, state-of-the-art Gouna Conference & Culture Center (GCCC). A brainchild of Samih Sawiris, founder of Orascom Development Holding and El Gouna, the GCCC will include an opera hall that can accommodate an orchestra of 120 musicians as well as 600 seats for the audience.