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Pomp and caution as El Gouna Film Festival opens in Egypt

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Copyright © africanews
Nariman El-Mofty/Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Egypt

Defying the coronavirus pandemic, the fourth edition of the El Gouna Film Festival (GFF) kicked off Friday in the Red Sea resort of el-Gouna.

Many Egyptian and foreign actors were present for the opening night.

The week-long festival will screen 65 films, including 11 world premieres, and feature multiple workshops and panels.

Organizers overcame numerous challenges to organize the event.

"I had fears at the beginning, and my opinion was to postpone it. But the opinion of (others) organizing it was the more right opinion. It was better to do it for the continuity of the festival and also to defy this disease. Life has to go on and it is not possible for this disease to stop everything in life including art, which has a very important message that needs to be delivered," said Naguib Sawiris, GFF founder.

To encourage social distancing, attendance was cut by 50% for both indoor and outdoor festival venues.

Intishal al Timimi, GFF director, said organizing this year's festival was challenging, and revealed that some 20 attendees were prevented from flying because they tested positive for the virus.

"Yes, there are fears, but there is also a huge desire for a lot of people to come to the festival and be part of the experience," said Timimi.

As one of the leading events in the Middle East, the GFF aims to showcase a wide variety of films while fostering better communication between cultures through films.

Organizers are hopeful that the 2020 festival will see the same success as the previous ones.

The film industry worldwide is expected to experience a slump in activity because of the pandemic.

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