As the event took place amid the fears of a second wave of the pandemic, the management of the festival made sure to follow all required persuaders such as mask, and following the restrictions of the social distances.
The opening ceremony was introduced by a well-organized red carpet event, followed by a short live performance by famous Lebanese singer and actor Rami A’ayash.
A’ayash performed an optimistic lively song called “Do’ey Ya Mazzika.” Shortly, A’ayash delivered a breathtaking message to the attendance.
He expressed, “this year was a hard year for us all, but we insist to live and this year won’t go in vain.”
Next, renewed Lebanese presenter Hilda Khalife stepped the stage welcoming the audience and expressing her pleasure to be in Egypt.
Khalife commented, “The main target of this festival is representing the concept of “cinema for humanity,” but the organizers wouldn’t know the possibility of passing through such a humanitarian crisis.”
After that, Red Sea governor Amr Hanafi delivered a welcoming speech to the audience, moreover, praising the role of arts in shaping the ethics of mankind.
He continued, “I wish success for this promising platform of exchanging knowledge and experience.”
Moving to Samih Sawiris’ speech who is the founder of Al Gouna City the executive Chairman of the Board of Directors and CEO of Orascom Development, Sawiris sent his greetings to the audience asserting on the ongoing crisis aftermath.
Therefore, Sawiris shed the light on the death of Orascom’s ex-executive manager Khaled Bishara. The festival decided to honor him by creating the “Khaled Bishara” prize. Sawiris speech’s was followed by an emotional speech by Khaled Bishara’s widow who gained the audience warm greetings.
Next, the head of the Feature Narrative Competition jury Peter Webber indicated his pleasure for being here and then he introduced the 2020 Career Achievement Award to figurative French actor Gérard Depardieu.
Shortly, the founder of GFF Naguib Sawiris introduced Egyptian production designer and art director Onsi Abou Seif honoring him the 2020 Career Achievement Award while screening a film about his most celebrated works.
Finally, he gifted the prize to legendary director and production designer Shadi Abdel Salam’s soul.
Abou Seif described, “I am glad to be here, I am speechless, finally a prize went to one of the off-camera professions.”
A beautiful musical interlude was presented by the international soprano Farrah El Dibany and Moustafa El Halawany while screening a heartbreaking film about filmmakers who passed away in 2020.
Next, the Festival Director Intishal Al Timimi narrated to the audience the hardships the festival’s crew faced while organizing such an event and while receiving the participated films. Shortly, he introduced the jury members to the audience.
Regarding Omar Al Sharif Award, it was presented by international Egyptian actor Khaled El Nabawy.
The award was honored to international Moroccan actor Saïd Taghmaoui who expressed an emotional story with Omar Al Sharif.
Taghmaoui said, “I have a lot to say. I remember my parents were huge fans of Omar Al Sharif. He was more than an actor; he was a hope, a ray of light, a destiny. I admired this man, he touched me due to circumstances I passed through such as migration.”
The final part of the ceremony was dedicated to veteran Chorography director Mahmoud Reda.
Famous Egyptian actor Shereen Reda delivered an amusing speech about her father’s dream of making her a famous dancer. She clarified that she felt how much her father is a great artist while training with Reda Troupe.
The ceremony was finalized by a wonderful and well-scripted performance by Reda Troupe and some of their famous folk dances with contemporary musical adaptation by Mostafa El Halawany.
The first day of GFF activities will start tomorrow.