Marianne Khoury, an Egyptian filmmaker, has been chosen as the artistic director of the El Gouna Film Festival. The festival, which was launched in 2017 by Naguib Sawiris, an Egyptian telecom billionaire, took a one-year break in 2022 but is now gearing up for its ambitious comeback for the sixth edition.
The El Gouna Film Festival, held in the El Gouna resort near Hurghada, a tourist town south of Cairo, was canceled in 2022 after successfully running for five years. The festival’s founder, Naguib Sawiris, and his brother Samih Sawiris, who built the El Gouna resort, had decided to put it on hold temporarily.
Marianne Khoury will be taking over the role of artistic director from Amir Ramses, who stepped down after the fifth edition. Ramses moved on to become the artistic director of the Cairo Film Festival, Egypt’s oldest and most prestigious film event. While no specific reason was given for the one-year hiatus, it was speculated that the impact of the war between Russia and Ukraine on the Red Sea area, a popular tourist destination, played a part in the decision.
Khoury, the niece of the late Egyptian director Youssef Chahine, is a managing partner at Misr International Films, a prominent Cairo-based production company founded by Chahine. She has helmed various documentaries, including her latest film “Let’s Talk,” which debuted at the International Documentary Festival Amsterdam in 2019. Khoury’s documentaries often explore themes of identity, memory, marginalization, and womanhood, and she has been involved in the production of around 30 Arab films and documentaries. In addition, she played a significant role in establishing Zawya, Egypt’s first art house cinema circuit.
The announcement of Khoury’s appointment as the new artistic director of the El Gouna Film Festival was made on social media by the festival’s organizers. Under the leadership of general director Intishal Al Timimi, the festival has gained international recognition for its promotion of the region’s cinematic talent. The festival’s industry arm, the CineGouna Platform, has provided vital support for nurturing new works through its market.
The upcoming sixth edition of the El Gouna Film Festival is scheduled to take place in the Red Sea resort town from October 13 to 20. The festival aims to showcase the best of Arab cinema and continue its mission of supporting emerging filmmakers. With Marianne Khoury as the new artistic director, there are high expectations for the festival’s success and its contribution to the growth of the Egyptian and Arab film industry.