Samih Sawiris met the challenge head-on for organizing El Gouna Film Festival – GFF’s much anticipated 4th edition, we were excited for the opportunity to briefly discuss this year’s GFF updates with the man himself, El Gouna founder, Engineer Samih Sawiris.
CW: What keeps you motivated against challenges and propels you forward?
SS: It is not about motivation. I just had to keep myself strong enough to be able to withstand the big storm. I see 2020 as just a big storm, and when facing such a storm you don’t rely on motivation, though you build strength to hold up and surpass it, and that’s what I felt I needed to do.
This year has presented new, unanticipated challenges for the global film industry. What have you faced specifically in the putting together of the 4th Edition of GFF? And why is it important to keep the festival alive?
Putting together the 4th edition of GFF was indeed very difficult. However, part of withstanding a storm is the dedication and need to return to normalcy by doing certain things that remind us of our “normal” life. Luckily, a lot of people shared with me the desire to bring back a normal life, and part of that life is to bring back cinemas, theatres, and concerts while abiding by health requirements and regulations. That means that compromises have to be made.
Do you expect a smaller number of attendees? What will be different in this 4th edition?
Of course, it will be a smaller number. In addition to a selective number of attendees, we have made sure not to have many indoor activities by moving everything to an outdoor space, including the entertainment. This 4th edition will be held in a new glorious open-air venue to accommodate attendees from different crafts.
It’s a balance of bringing back normal life without jeopardizing people’s health.
Will there be a song for this year’s GIFF?
They [the team] are still working on a song. “3 Daqat” is such an amazing song that resonated with everyone and perfectly depicted the GFF’s soul, it will be a tough act to follow, but we are working very hard to make this year’s song just as impressive.
We are still unsure if a video will be feasible to accompany the song because there just isn’t enough time and we are focusing on just the song for now.
Which films have captured your attention this year, and why?
I am looking forward to watching the new James Bond movie. Besides that, in the past year, I have not seen a single film that touched me.
What is your favorite music?
I go for classical music, and I even have a few favorite composers such as Bach and Mozart.
What is your favorite song?