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Cairo Film Festival cancelled as protests in Egypt escalate

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MUMBAI: Egyptian directors have boycotted the Cairo Film Festival due to the continuing political protests in the country. The festival has also cancelled its closing ceremonies as Egypt witnessed yet another round of violent protests against the country‘s new president Mohammed Morsi.

The awards ceremony was replaced by a press conference at the Cairo Opera House where the jury under president Marco Mueller handed out the awards. There were no awards given in the best director and best screenplay. According to Mueller this was in response to the protests by Egyptian filmmakers, many of which had boycotted the festival.

Mueller‘s jury kept clear of any political controversy with its award choices, handing out all its trophies to non-Arabic films.

Anna Novion‘s French drama Rendez-vous a Kiruna won Best Film. Venezuelan newcomer Vanessa Di Quattro took Best Actress for her performance as a hearing impaired woman working in a textile company with her exploitive mother in A Breach in the Silence from directors Luis and Andres Rodrguez. Marian Dziedziel won Best Actor for his starring role in Jerzy Domaradzki‘s Polish drama The Fifth Season of the Year and a special prize went to Giuliano Montaldo for L‘industriale, a drama about a failing factory in northern Italy.

The 35th Cairo Film Festival which started on 27 November initially defied the growing unrest in Egypt sparked by President Morsi‘s decree that stripped Egypt‘s judiciary of all powers to challenge his decisions. As the protests took a violent turn with protesters taking to the street, the festival oraganisers could no longer choose to ignore the ongoing revolt.

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