The 41st edition of Egypt's Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF) concluded Friday night at Cairo Opera House with China's movie "The Fourth Wall" winning an award at the official film section competition.
During a star-studded closing ceremony of the gala, the jury announced the winners of the awards of this year's edition.
Held from Nov. 20 to 29 under the auspices of the Egyptian Ministry of Culture, a total of 153 films from 63 countries were screened, with 35 international and regional premiered during the festival.
The festival's international jury awarded seven prizes for the best film, director, screenplay, actor, actress, artistic contribution and the first or second work of a director in the international competition section.
"I'm No Longer Here" of Mexican filmmaker Fernando Frias won the CIFF's Golden Pyramid Award for best film, while "Ghost Tropic" by Belgian Bas Devos was awarded the Silver Pyramid prize.
China's "The Fourth Wall," which is co-directed by Zhang Chong and Zhang Bo, won the Bronze Pyramid Award for Best First or Second Work.
Naguib Mahfouz Award for Best Screenplay went to Palestinian filmmaker Najwa Najar for her movie "Between Heaven and Earth."
The jury chose Filipino Judy Ann Santos as the best actress for her role in melodrama "Mindanao," while Mexican Juan Daniel Garcia Trevino won the best actor for his role in "I'm No Longer Here."
Philippine's "Mindanao" also won Henry Barakat Award for Best Artistic Contribution.
China took part in the festival's international competition that included 15 films, including the "Fourth Wall" and "Summer of Changsha," while "So Long, My Son" participated in the Official Selection out of Competition.
Established in 1976, the CIFF was cancelled in 2011 and 2013 for security reasons, as they coincided with the ouster of two heads of state in the most populous Arab country.
The hype that has been building for months surrounding ‘No Dorai’, Bangladesh’s first feature film with a plot centred on surfing, finally got tested on Thursday, as it premiered at the Star Cineplex in Bashundhara City. And some of the first reactions from viewers suggests the hype was justified.
A consensus view emerging among a number of individuals who attended the premiere was that the movie, which also has a female protagonist to set it apart from the usual fare in local cinemas, is setting a cornerstone in Bangladeshi cinema.
The premiere was attended by a number of bigwigs, including Information Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud, State Minister for ICT Zunaid Ahmed Palak and former Housing and Public Works Minister Engineer Mosharraf Hossain.
Applauding the movie, Zunaid Ahmed Palak said "Bangladesh continues to thrive in the field of development through empowering women, and the country's first surfing movie No Dorai is a welcome addition to this journey of progress."
Dr Hasan Mahmud lauded the initiative, saying "Despite not being natives of Chittagong, the actors took on the challenge of using the Chittagongian (‘Chatdgaiya’) dialect in the film- which I really appreciate."
The name of the film translates to ‘Not Afraid’, but the film has also adopted the separate English name ‘Dare to Surf’.
Prior to the premiere, the producer of the film and chairman of STAR Cineplex Mahboob Rahman said that the movie is based on the true story of a woman surfer named Ayesha. He thanked the cast and crew members along with Director Tanim Rahman Aungshu and Executive Producer Xefer Rahman for bringing the story to the silver screen.
The story of Ayesha, a resident of Cox’s Bazar, first came to the limelight along with two of her fellow surfers in the 2015 documentary Bangla Surf Girls.
Producer Mahboob Rahman also thanked digital payment service Bkash, which offers a lucrative 'Buy 1 get 1' offer which the users can avail to buy tickets through the Bkash App.
The film, which got the final approval of the Censor Board just days before the premiere, also spun off a comic book, 'Adventure of Ayesha', illustrated by Cartoon People.
The comic will be available at all the branches of Star Cineplex and some will be distributed to girls of various rural areas.
There are enough holiday TV movies to overturn Santa's sleigh this season, with Oprah Winfrey's OWN channel and a new streaming service adding to the cargo. A more expansive view of the world also is part of the ride, with a lesbian couple included in a Freeform film and Hanukkah shout-outs on the Hallmark and Lifetime channels.
Other small-screen options are available to distract you from gift-wrapping and family squabbles, including the Grinch, the Brady Bunch and John Legend. Here's a sampling from broadcast networks, cable and streaming services, all times EST:
— "Noelle," now streaming on Disney Plus. Kris Kringle's daughter (Anna Kendrick) envies her brother's (Bill Hader) high-profile Christmas job but discovers she's got an important role to play, as does Mrs. Claus (Julie Hagerty). Shirley MacLaine co-stars as an elf.
— "Every Day But Christmas," 9 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 1, Bounce. A writer (Timon Durrett) who's cynical about Christmas finds his faith and the holiday's meaning on a book tour. Antonique Smith co-stars.
— "Ghosting: The Spirit of Christmas," 9 p.m. Wednesday Dec. 4, Freeform. When Jess (Aisha Dee) dies in an accident after a first date with Ben (Kendrick Sampson), her soul remains earthbound. It's up to Jess' pal Kara (Kimiko Glenn) and her partner, Mae (Jazz Raycole), to help.
— "Mistletoe & Menorahs," 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, Lifetime. An executive (Kelley Jakle) who needs a quick education about Hanukkah to land an account and finds just the man (Jake Epstein) to help her in work and maybe love.
— "Christmas at Dollywood," 8 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8, Hallmark Channel. An event planner (Danica McKellar) returns home to Tennessee for a challenging job, Dollywood's 30th Smoky Mountain Christmas celebration, and gets matchmaking help from Parton herself.
— "Carole's Christmas," 8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 11, OWN. A workaholic businesswoman's (Kimberly Elise) wishful thinking turns her life upside down. Jackée Harry and Cayden K. Williams co-star in this repeat airing with added moviemaking tidbits.
— "Holiday Date," 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14, Hallmark Channel. Christmas and Hanukkah celebrations combine when Brooke (Brittany Bristow) is dumped by her boyfriend before a visit home and an actor (Matt Cohen) playing stand-in shares his Jewish traditions.
— "You Light Up My Christmas," 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14, Lifetime. Emma (Kim Fields) returns home to find the town built around her family's Christmas light factory has lost its glow. Can an old flame (Adrian Holmes) help?
— "A Christmas Carol," 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 19, FX. The dark new take on Charles Dickens' tale stars Guy Pearce as Scrooge and Andy Serkis as the ghost of Christmas past, with the screenplay by "Peaky Blinders" creator Steven Knight.
— "It's a Wonderful Life," 8 p.m. Dec. 24, NBC. A man's midlife crisis fuels the 1946 sentimental favorite from filmmaker Frank Capra, starring Jimmy Stewart, Donna Reed and, as Clarence the angel, Henry Travers.
— "The Little Drummer Boy," 7 a.m. Monday, Dec. 2, Freeform. Aaron, an orphan who finds solace only with animals, has a life-changing encounter with three wise men traveling to Bethlehem in the 1968 special narrated by Greer Garson.
— "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," 8 p.m. Monday, Dec. 2, CBS. In modern parlance, a reindeer who's bullied for looking different finds joy and worth in being himself. Burl Ives narrates the 1964 special based on the Johnny Marks song.
— "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," 8 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 3, NBC. Boris Karloff, who played the monster in the 1931 film "Frankenstein," provided the voice for another legendary character, Dr. Seuss' infamous Grinch, in 1966.
— "A Charlie Brown Christmas," 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 5, ABC. Holiday materialism has Charlie in a major funk and Lucy tries to help, but it takes Linus to save the holiday. Vince Guaraldi composed the music for the 1965 special about the "Peanuts" gang.
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— "The Kacey Musgraves Christmas Show," now streaming on Amazon. The singer-songwriter salutes holiday specials of the past her way and with help from guests including Camila Cabello, James Corden, Lana Del Rey and the Radio City Rockettes.
— "Christmas Under the Stars," 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 1, BYUtv. John Legend performs classics including "Silver Bells" and "My Favorite Things" along with "All of Me" and other original songs in a concert taped in Utah.
— "CMA Country Christmas," 9 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 3, ABC. Trisha Yearwood hosts and performs on the 10th annual holiday celebration, joined by guests including Lady Antebellum, Rascal Flatts and CeCe Winans.
— "Christmas with The Tabernacle Choir," 9 p.m. Monday, Dec. 16, PBS, and 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 19 on BYUtv. Kristin Chenoweth joins the Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra for a night of classic carols and pop tunes, airing as an hour-long special on PBS and a 90-minute version on BYUtv.
— "Holidays with the Houghs," 10 p.m. Monday, Dec. 16, NBC. A variety special showcasing sibling dancer-choreographers Derek and Julianne together and separately in musical performances and comedy sketches, with celebrity friends dropping by.
— "Great Performances — From Vienna: The New Year's Celebration 2020," Wednesday, Jan. 1, PBS (check local listings for times). The Vienna Philharmonic and guest conductor Andris Nelsons usher in 2020 with the Vienna City Ballet and host Hugh Bonneville.
— The Royal Variety Performance, Tuesday, Dec. 10, BritBox. Robbie Williams, Harry Connick Jr., comedians and cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason, who played at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding, take part in a century-old charity fundraiser with royalty in attendance.
— "Ellen's Greatest Night of Giveaways," 8 p.m., Tuesday to Thursday, Dec. 10-12, NBC. DeGeneres and guests including Michelle Obama, Jennifer Aniston, Justin Timberlake and Sterling K. Brown surprise "everyday deserving people" with gifts.
— "A Very Brady Renovation: Holiday Edition," 10 p.m. Monday, Dec. 16, HGTV. The actors who played "The Brady Bunch" siblings decorate the house used for the sitcom's exterior shots. Food Network's Ree Drummond and HGTV's Jasmine Roth lend a hand.
— "Top Elf," 8 p.m. Fridays, Nickelodeon. Seven children from across the nation compete in a building and design contest to earn the title of best elf and benefit worthy causes in their hometown. The weekly series' finale airs 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 21.
— "I Love Lucy Christmas Special," 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 20, CBS. Two colorized half-hour episodes of the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz sitcom, "The Christmas Episode" and "Paris at Last," air back-to-back, both from 1956.
— "A Home for the Holidays with Idina Menzel," 9 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 22, CBS. The "Frozen" star introduces heartening stories about adoption from foster care and sings tunes from her new album, "Christmas: Season of Love." Adam Lambert, Ne-Yo and Kelly Rowland also perform.
"Xiangjiang River 1934," an animated movie dedicated to the first major battle of the Long March, made its debut at the China National Film Museum on Wednesday.
The Battle of Xiangjiang River started on Nov. 27, 1934, in southern China's Guangxi.
Through the hard-fought battle, the Red Army successfully crossed the river and broke through Kuomintang's blockade, but a large number of soldiers lost their lives.
The movie depicts the heroic epic through the perspectives of two teenagers -- a Red Army soldier and a cowherd.
It will soon be screened nationwide.
"Ip Man 4," the fourth and last installment in the "Ip Man" martial arts movie franchise, is scheduled to hit the big screen in China on Dec. 20, Wilson Yip Wai Shun, director of the film, announced here on Wednesday.
The new film tells the story of the legendary Wing Chun master's first trip abroad to promote Chinese martial arts.
Donnie Yen reprises the title role in "Ip Man 4," who travels to a China Town in the United States and gets involved in a dispute between local armed forces and a Chinese martial arts school.
Rising up against the rising ethnic discrimination toward Chinese in the local community, Ip Man fights in the U.S. Marine Corps barracks, showcasing Chinese martial arts to the world with his authentic Wing Chun, Yip said.