Dialogue Lifting Al Tamimi: We will not hold the El Gouna Festival at the expense of the health of El


09:01 AM

Thursday 02 July 2020

Dialogue – Ahmad Al-Jazzar:

The El Gouna Film Festival announced last Monday that the fourth start date of its fourth session would be carried over to be at the end of October instead of September, due to the current circumstances of the outbreak of the new Corona virus, and although the virus forced most of the major festival to cancel its new sessions, the El Gouna Festival was keen to move forward To provide an exceptional course that meets all safety and security standards to protect the festival guests. The festival is also preparing for the first time this year that it was launched from within the El Gouna Convention and Culture Center, and it is the latest baby born in El Gouna city that was built to be a main center for the festival in its new session.

Between the great ambition to offer an exceptional session and the current conditions that the whole world faces, the festival is experiencing a state of challenges that we recognize in our private dialogue with the recovery of Al-Tamimi, the festival director.

Why did you decide to postpone the date of the fourth session now?

In light of the circumstances in the world, we found that it is better to postpone for only one month, until things are more clear, because the whole world began to take measures to coexist in real terms, because European countries will open their doors in July, and there are other countries that will open their airspace in August, It is expected that the shape of the whole world will change in October, and this is what we aspire to have in order to have more flexibility in hosting festival guests from all countries of the world, as things have become fully clear in Egypt, and improve for the better as we wish.

Is this just the reason or is it also about the completion of the construction of the El Gouna Convention and Culture Center?

I assure you that the conference center did not represent any obstacle for us, and it did not have any role in the decision to postpone, rather it is scheduled to be ready even if we hold the session in August, and it is very well prepared from April this year, which is a big edifice An important and important move for the festival itself.

Did they have any intention of canceling this course, like other major festivals?

The truth is, no, because we know that the city of El Gouna is different from all other countries in the world, as it is an open city that overlooks the sea and its population is small, so it meets all the safety conditions, in addition to that we set a vision to provide all ways of safety to protect our guests, because we certainly will not hold the session At the expense of people’s health, in full cooperation with the ministries of health and international cooperation, to get the image out as it should be.

What will the El Gouna Convention and Culture Center add to this course?

This center is a very important step in the festival’s march, because its area is 6 times the area in which we launched during previous sessions, so that the theater that will receive the opening ceremony is 4 times larger than last year, and this will allow us to provide all the required spacing procedures in light of the spread of the virus, in addition to Until the exhibition halls are open, as well as being in the city center and close to everything, we are scheduled to construct a road between it and the German University to also include some activities, because there is a plan that the entire city be concerned with the festival.

You mean, moving events to the El Gouna Convention Center will not make you give up your old sites?

Until now, that will not happen, and there are many events that will take place at the German University, and other locations. The matter may differ in the future. The center includes all the activities of the festival, but we are now doing expansion procedures in everything in theaters, venues, opening theater and others.

Have you made plans if the situation remains as it is with regard to the preventive measures imposed by the government?

Certainly we always think about the worst, and if things remain the same, we will adhere to the prescribed rate imposed by the government regarding theaters, which is 25% of its capacity, and at that time we will evaluate 4 shows per movie instead of two shows, and we will also adhere to the measures of divergence.

But does this mean that you may reduce the number of films this year?

This is also due, and it is expected that the films of this session will reach 75 films by 8 films less than the previous session, so that we are expected to receive fewer guests than last year, and this will depend on the decisions of the Ministry of Health and the government in general and not because of hotels, and for this we decided Postpone the invitations until the picture is completely clear.

What are the steps that have been achieved regarding this course?

We have accomplished 25% of the films of the new session to date, and we are currently watching some other films that were scheduled to be shown at the Cannes Festival to choose between them, and there is another part that will be collected from the festivals of Venice, London and others, and we have almost finished choosing the Arabic films participating in this session And I think that it will be the best Arabic productions this year, to the extent that we will sacrifice a lot of them because of the prescribed percentage of these films, so we will not have a final problem in this type of films, but I believe that the cancellation of some festivals will give us a greater opportunity to get a lot of first world performances .

I know that there is a lot of interest from Arab filmmakers to participate in the festival. Have you thought about setting up a separate competition for Arab films?

The truth is that this is not in our plan at all, and I do not think about this matter and consider it a grave mistake in which some festivals occurred, because we must maintain the balance in the schedule in general, and that the audience be distributed according to his interests, and there will be no film that enjoys huge viewing and another that does not find anyone watching it, And I think that this percentage in general makes you choose the best movies, and also leave the rest of the festivals an opportunity to choose because although there is competition between us, we must be in a state of integration and not in a war between us, and this is our policy since we started our first session.

Finally, is there an agreement to attract a group of global stars during this session?

We certainly seek in this direction, and we also have offers from some businessmen to provide private planes to bring these guests.

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