In its 3rd edition (18-24 March), the Luxor African Film Festival organized a press conference for the American star Danny Glover and the Bissau-Guinean director Flora Gomes as part of their tributes. The conference was moderated by film critic Sherif Awad.
After thanking the festival’s organizers for their hospitality and the tribute, Glover spoke about his film The Children’s Republic which was presented at the opening, revealing that he had a chance to visit some African countries in 2004 only to see the effects of civil war on children in particular and also the presence of about one million mines on the border areas in Africa that caused the fall of many of the victims, and the arming of children to be part of the allies in conflicts.
Glover added that he felt the project gives an idea of how changes are happening in Africa with dreams of peace and prosperity, since women and children are always the first casualties in any conflict, and therefore must be the basic construction of a new state.
On his first visit to Luxor, Glover said that this is his fourth time to visit Egypt and his wife’s first time to do so. He revealed that his wife is Brazilian and works as a professor of education with a focus on the education of children of African descent. He added that their experience together was great especially when they viewed the temples and the Valley of the Kings.
About his participation in African films, Glover said that he had this desire a long time which made him shoot seven African films including a TV film for HBO where he played Mandela. From his side, director Flora Gomes thanked the festival’s organizers and the French producer of his film that was presented at the opening because it helped the film to see the light. Gomes added that his friend Danny Glover supported the film from the first minute and helped to realize his dreams to cast an American star. Gomes also revealed that he was influenced by many since his childhood including the Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser and he is currently preparing an epic about an African leader.
In another location, the film workshop tutored by US based Ethiopian filmmaker Haile Gerima in which 40 young filmmakers are participating, including 20 Egyptian and 20 Africans. For the first time, the workshop had visiting filmmakers coming from the African countries such as Eritrea, Comoros, Madagascar, Burundi and Rwanda. Gerima is assisted by Daniel Williams and Ambessa Jir Berhe, filmmakers and US based film professors who once were his students. At breaks, the students were taken by the festival’s shuttles to daily visits to Luxor monuments at the West Side and Karnack Temple.
On March 18, the festival’s 3rd edition kicked off with the presence of Luxor Governor Tareq Saad former Prime Minister of Egypt , Dr Essam Sharaf , and a large number of Egyptian artists including Elham Shahine, Hala Sidky, Jehan Fadel and Mamdouh Abdel-Aleem, Sabri Fawaz, Manal Salama, Hind Akef, and Egyptian directors like Magdi Ahmed Ali, Omar Abdel-Aziz, Sharif Mandour, Amir Ramses Mandour , and Egyptian singers Essam Karika and Samo Zein.
The celebrations began on the heart of the Nile River, where guests were imported on Nile Cruises from their hotel to Luxor Temple where the opening ceremony was held.
On March 24, Senegalese singer Didier Awadi will perform in Egypt at the closing ceremony of the festival at Luxor Rowing Club’s open air space. His performance comes as part of the tribute that the festival gave to Senegal during this edition. The Closing ceremony will see the distribution of the awards and the showing of the films done during Haile Gerima’s workshop.