Cairo Int’l film festival closes amid backlash of Russian plane crash

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The 37th Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF) wrapped up on Friday at the Opera House in Egypt’s capital.

Egyptian Culture Minister Helmi al-Nemnem told media that the recent crash of a Russian airplane negatively affected on the participation of foreign filmmakers in the festival.

The 37th CIFF comes a few days after some countries suspended their flights to Egypt’s popular Red Sea resort Sharm el-Sheikh resort and evacuated their nationals over security concerns in the wake of a Russian plane crash that killed all 224 people on board in late October.

The move added more recession to Egypt’s already-suffering tourism sector.

Russia on Thursday said that the crash was caused by a terrorist attack, while Egypt still insists that investigation has not finished.

Lebanese actress Madeline Tabar, who was present at the closing ceremony, told Xinhua that the festival is a message that Egypt is safe.

The latest movie festival, which kicked off on Nov. 11, featured more than 100 films from around the world, with 16 of them contesting in the International Competition, including two Egyptian productions.

The Best Actress Prize went to French actress Louise Bourgoin for her role in the French film I am a Soldier. Winner of the Best Actor was Ghanaian actor Koudous Seihon for his performance in Mediterranea.

The Golden Pyramid Best Film Prize went to Mediterranean by Italian-American director Jonas Carpignano.

For the Cinema of Tomorrow International Competition, the award went to the Swiss film Out of the Highway, while a second award, the first prize for short films, went to the Greek film Euro Man.

Three awards were given out by the Horizons of Arab Cinema. A special award went to Bahraini film The Sleeping Tree by director Mohammed Rashed, and the Best Film Award went to the Syrian film Waiting for Autumn by director Joud Said.

Since 1976, the CIFF has been the premiere in Africa and the Middle East. In 2011 and 2013, the festivals were canceled for security reasons, as they coincided with the ouster of two heads of state in the most populous Arab country.

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