Starting with a bang, literally, El Gouna Film Festival (GFF) overcame a fire at the venue of its fifth edition, only a day before the opening ceremony. With incredible manpower and hard work, the festival started right on time for an art and action-filled 5th edition.

The Rundown:

Away from the flashing lights of the red carpet and the glam, the GFF program was packed. The program revolved around international and local films selected out of international film festivals from around the world, and their makers.

GFF also gave incredible importance, like each year, to debuting and in-post-production projects through the CineGouna platform.

This year, GFF introduced a new award, the Green Star award. The award seeks inspirational films that raise awareness of environmental issues and issues related to ecology, wildlife, and the importance of sustainability. Costa Brava, a Lebanese movie by Monia Akel, won the first Green Star Award.

Because GFF is also about learning, it provided masterclasses with renowned names in the industry and panel talks with Q&A sections open to the public. The plaza theatre saw a full house during acclaimed American director Darren Aronofsky’s masterclass, a first in Egypt.

While the CineGouna Bridge hosted a masterclass with Emmy Award-winning Narrative Designer & Creative Director Stefan Grambart on immersive storytelling. Panel talks included, but were not limited to: A Take on Psychological Wellbeing for Actors, Depicting Ancient Egypt in Film and Taking your Content Online.

Speaking of online content, this 5th edition welcomed a number of social media content creators and influencers to the show. Popular Youtubers Anas and Asala who make up the dynamic duo the Anasala family were at the opening ceremony, alongside entrepreneur and host Anas Bukhash, the man behind #ABTalks.

Later during the festival, fellow Middle Eastern Youtuber Noor Stars joined the festivities. Egyptian influencers were also present throughout the festival, on the red carpet, at GFF-sponsored events, and behind the scenes, including Dina Dash and Amira Adeeb.

The Winners:

The participating movie lineup this year makes the 5th edition of the festival the richest in content yet. This proves that the only way is up with more to come in the upcoming years. Filmmakers and actors have really pushed themselves to produce powerful, award-winning, enriching, and eye-opening content that stimulates conversation and opens up new ideas.

Here are the winners-

Feature Narrative competition

Best Actress: Maya Vanderbeque “Nora” in Playground – Belgium

Best Actor: Perri Poikonainen “Jaakko” in The Blind Man Who Did Not Want To See Titanic – Finland

Best Arab Narrative Film: Feathers – Egypt

Bronze: Captain Volkongov Escaped by Aleksey Chupov, Natasha Merkulova – Russia, Estonia – France

Silver: SunDown by Michel Franco – Mexico, France, Sweden

Gold: The Blind Man Who Did Not Want To See Titanic by Teemu Nikki – Finland

Short Film competition

Special Mention to the actress of the film Nour Shams, Aisha Al Rifae, by Faiza Ambah – Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom, United States

Best Arab short Film: Cai- BER by Ahmed Abdelsalam – Egypt, United Kingdom

Bronze: On Solid Ground by Jela Hasler – Switzerland

Silver: Holy Son by Aliosha Massine – Italy

Gold: Katia by Andrey Natotsinsky – Russia

Feature Documentary Competition

Special Mention: The Rain Will Never Stop by Alina Gorlova – Country??

Best Arab Documentary: Captain of Za’atari by Ali El Arabi – Egypt, USA

Bronze: Sabaya by Hogir Hirori – Sweden

Silver: Ostrov- Lost Island by Svetlana Rodina, Laurent Stoop – Switzerland

Gold: Life of Ivanna by Renato Borrayo Serrano – Russia, Norway, Estonia, Finland

El Gouna Green Star Award

Costa Brava by Monia Akel – Lebanon

Cinema For Humanity

OstroveLost Island by Svetlana Rodina, Laurent Stoop- Switzerland


Costa Brava by Monia Akel – Lebanon

Khaled Beshara Award

Adel by Dina El Elimy


Special Mention: Once Upon A time in Calcutta by Aditya Vikram Sengupta – India

Captain Volkongov Escaped by Aleksey Chupov, Natasha Merkulova – Russia, Estonia, France