The Cairo International Film Festival administration has released a followup statement in the ongoing controversy regarding the removal of the film In the Last Days of the City, from the International Competition.
In the new statement, the festival expresses “deep regrets the latest developments in the campaign launched by the team of the film In the Last Days of the City.”
We consider that this campaign has gone too far, not only attacking the festival administration’s artistic choices, but also trying to tarnish the reputation of the festival in Egypt and around the world by spreading lies and false insinuations.
We stress once again that the cancellation of the movie was only due to the film team not respecting their commitments, and have nothing to do with the quality nor the content of the movie.
When we decided to exceptionally allow In the Last Days of the City to enter the International Competition, we expressed to the director our concerns regarding the other international film festivals that it was participating in. We specifically asked him to stop sending the film to festivals around the world, which he agreed. We never specified anything about the film having its MENA premiere in Cairo – as Cairo International Film Festival is not a regional festival, but a ‘category A’ international festival according to the FIAPF.
Few weeks after, we discovered that the film was touring in a growing number of important international festivals, which the director didn’t find necessary to mention to us – a growing number that, as we discovered last week, quickly reached to 60! At the same time, by respect for the prestige and the audience of Cairo International Film Festival, A Day for Women, the other Egyptian film to participate in the International Competition, declined to participate in 2 important international film festivals they were invited to.
This is why, in respect to our commitments to the FIAPF standards, but also to be fair with the other Egyptian film participating in the International Competition, we decided to remove In the Last Days of the City from our selection.
No other reason was behind this decision, and this decision cannot be overturned.
We hope that the defaming campaign will stop and that everyone gets back to reason and keeps working in an independent, respectful and professional way.
We are quite confident that the film will very soon find its way to the Egyptian screens; meanwhile, we invite the audience and journalists to attend the Festival and enjoy the more than 200 selected movies for this edition.