The Cairo International Film Festival has released a statement in response to the filmmakers of “In the Last Days of The City” about the film’s exclusion from the program of the 38th Cairo International Film Festival. According to the festival, the statement included some inaccuracies, and they felt it necessary to answer to it.
First, the Cairo International Film Festival is not a regional festival, and the screenings are not conditioned to be premiered in the Middle East and North Africa region; but it relies on the standards prescribed and supervised by the International Federation of Film Producers Associations (FIAPF), which positions the festival as one of the 14 film festivals around the world that have been accorded a category “A” status by the FIAPF.
Then, Youssef Cherif Rizkallah, Artistic Director of the festival, first saw the film during its presentation earlier this year at the Forum section of the Berlin International Film Festival, and continued to monitor its successful journey in other festivals. Since the film has participated in a large number of festivals since its premiere, it would have made more sense for the film to be added to the “Prospects of Arab Cinema” program, which is a parallel program that includes some of the best modern Arab productions. The proposition was made by Youssef Cherif Rizkallah but was rejected by director Tamer El Said, who insisted that the film should be part of the international competition of the festival. Youssef Cherif Rizkallah agreed on this condition because of the high quality of the film and because he felt that the festival should support this type of contemporary works and novelty in Egyptian cinema, but requested from Tamer El Said to stop sending the film to other festivals until it is screened at CIFF, in regard to the size and value of the Cairo International Film Festival. And these conditions were agreed by both parties. Tamer El Said also added that he had already agreed to participate in only a limited number of festivals (three or four as he mentioned.) However, after this agreement, it came to the festival’s attention that the film would be participating in nearly ten festivals, all of them preceding the Cairo International Film Festival.
Therefore, the Cairo International Film Festival administration had no choice but to send back the film to his director with an apology, and to exclude the film from participating in the international competition of its 38th edition.
This statement was only made to clarify the process that led to the exclusion of the movie from the selection, and is in no regards related to the quality of the movie. The festival’s administration wishes all the best to the director and his team for the future of this movie and others to come.
See the filmmakers’ statement as posted on Facebook