The Shnit Film Festival, currently in its tenth year, will see Cairo join nine other cities across five continents when it opens at the Darb 1718 Contemporary Art and Culture Centre today. Sixty four international short films will simultaneously be screened in Cairo and the other nine cities. The festival will last for three days and each screening day will show anywhere from 15 to 18 short films.
The festival has been held in Bern, Cologne, Cape Town, San Jose, Singapore and Vienna before and this year Cairo, Lagos and Buenos Aires will join the ranks. The festival celebrates what the organisers call “the origin of cinema” and “the purest form of the art of film.”
The “In Competition” section of the festival is where the 64 international short films will be screened, which were chosen out of more than 6000 submissions. The festival has a national competition for eight Egyptian shorts and the jury will feature Ahmed Abdlalah, Hala Lutfi and Safaa El-Laithy. The international festival also features several other sections that will not be part of the Cairo programming this year but will be included in the next editions of the festival. Cairo audiences can look forward from next year to the “A Real Treat” section, which highlights notable films from the past ten years of the festival for the audiences’ viewing pleasure, and the “For Special Interest” selection will showcase the latest film-making techniques in the fields of animation, documentary and experimental cinema.
“We want to make this an annual event and in the years to come we will work towards presenting it in its original and comprehensive form as it originated in Bern, Switzerland,” said Marwa Zein, one of the organisers of the festival in Cairo.
Zein said that the festival approached the organisers to host it in Cairo. “They wanted Cairo to be among their list of cities and to be the centre for Shnit in the region.” The festival is held with the support of the Swiss Embassy as well as Darb 1718, who were only too happy to accommodate Shnit. “We are delighted to have the festival here, the organisers approached us to show the screenings and we liked the idea a lot,” said Reem Hatem, public relations and communications manager at Darb 1718.
Films will start at 6pm for the first two days and at 6:30pm on the third evening. The opening will feature the Greek film Phone Call from Cairo, showing original experimental footage shot with a camera phone in pre-revolution Cairo. Other films include Imparfait du Subjectif, which is about Romain, a man who goes to a party and has to overcome his shyness to talk to a girl who only wants to leave, as well as Aquel No Era Yo, on the intertwining lives of a Spanish aid worker and an African child soldier, and Rew Day, an animation film on the events of a man’s last day alive.
The organisers hope the festival will be a staple of the cultural scene in Cairo for the years to come. The festival will last for three days and tickets are EGP 30 per screening day.