Egypt has a long and rich history in the world of Arab cinema. Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor, Chairman, Al Habtoor Group has just launched an initiative in Cairo to help support the region’s film Industry. Joanna Andrews reports.
At a star-studded ceremony in the Egyptian capital Cairo, Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor, Founding Chairman of the Al Habtoor Group, announced a major initiative to support the Arab film industry.
The Al Habtoor's Cultural Initiative for Supporting the Film Industry, was launched through Al Habtoor Investment – the investment arm of the Al Habtoor Group. The initiative was announced in front of a 300-plus elite crowd from the entertainment industry. It also included Egypt’s Minister of culture Helmy Namnam.
The Al Habtoor's Cultural Initiative for Supporting Film Industry is aimed at nurturing the Arab film industry by discovering new talent both on and off the screen and influencing young Arab minds through cinema. The initiative highlights the importance of changing Arab minds through the arts; by making films with positive and moral messages about key social issues in the Arab world, rather than just producing films for pure entertainment.
Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor, Chairman, Al Habtoor Group, said, “We decided to launch the initiative in Egypt because it is the heart of the Arab world’s film industry. Egypt's film sector has a long history, and we consider this nation as the centre stage for this soft power in the Arab World. Through this initiative, we aim to upgrade the status of the Arab entertainment industry, which is unfortunately currently only focused on productions that add nothing to the minds of the Egyptian and Arab youth; only producing movies with little or no moral values."
The initiative, in collaboration with well-known film director and member of parliament Khaled Youssef, will support films that help provide opportunities in the film industry for young aspiring actors, actresses and filmmakers. It aims to provide opportunities based on creativity and intellect, and not restricted by budgetary constraints.
Khaled Youssef said, “I thank Mr Al Habtoor for this initiative. Al Habtoor's Cultural Initiative for Supporting the Film Industry is a bold step towards upgrading and supporting the film industry in Egypt and the Arab region. I am honoured to be selected to cooperate with the Al Habtoor Investment to launch this initiative, which contributes to creating a new era of valuable films that Arab filmgoers have longed for. We hope these endeavours will make a tangible leap, providing new talent and offering real opportunities."
Among the guest at the star-studded ceremony were famous actors and actresses including Ghada Abdel Razek, Laila Elwi, Khaled El Sawy, Elham Shahin, Lebleba, Hala Sedki and Samir Sabri. Also present were well-known Director, Daoud Abdel Sayed and Producer Mohamed El Adl.