Cannes Film Festival to feature Tunisian movies
By Houda Trabelsi for Magharebia in Tunis – 03/05/11
Tunisia will be given a special status at the 64th Cannes Film Festival, one of the world's most prestigious cinema events.
"There is a dedicated section for Tunisia at the festival," Tunisian producer Nejib Ayed said. "We are participating with two Tunisian films. The first, titled 'Kingdom of Ants,' is my own production and we are awaiting the response of the Cannes official committee regarding it by early next week."
"The second film is a documentary, made after the January 14th revolution, by Mourad Ben Cheikh. Additionally, there are short films that will be screened on the sidelines of the festival. We are also engaged in promotional activities in the streets and on the beach, through shows derived from our indigenous heritage. There may also be a fashion show based on the Tunisian heritage so as to further highlight the Tunisian heritage overseas."
Egypt and Japan will also be honoured at the May 11th-22nd event. In addition, Egypt will hold a privileged position as the first guest country at Cannes.
"It is a tribute to both the Tunisian and the Egyptian peoples for succeeding in consecrating their will and seeing through their revolutions that the whole world bowed to, and Japan for the tragic events that people went through in the wake of the recent quake that hit them," Cannes Film Festival delegate Thierry Fremaux said.
The Tunisian culture ministry is working on putting together a programme that matches the event, the details of which have not yet been disclosed.
"To honour the revolution's youth, 30 short films will be screened in the festival," said Lotfi Layouni, head of the Syndicate Chamber of Filmmakers in Tunisia. "The films were recently made by young Tunisian filmmakers."
A press conference will also be held in Tunisia to promote the nation's cinema industry. Officials hope to encourage foreign producers to shoot their movies in the country.
"We are trying to invite the ministry of culture as well as other ministries and institutions related to the cinema sector to put together a work plan for the Tunisian participation in the major cinema extravaganza, so as to highlight free Tunisia after the January 14th Revolution," Layouni said.
He added that the "historic participation will serve to lure foreign investors and producers and boost the national economy. The chamber will harness its resources and potentials and the expertise of its participants for that purpose."
Concerning the funding necessary to make the Tunisian participation in the festival a success, Nejib Ayed noted, "In recent years, we put in around 190,000 dinars. At present, we are striving to raise those funds so as to highlight a more glamorous image of Tunisia, especially that the festival will be paying tribute to the Tunisian revolution."
Forty-nine movies will be competing in the two competitions of the Cannes Film Festival, 19 in the official competition, and the rest will be taking part in the "Un Certain Regard" (A Special Look) section.
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