Organizers of Egypt’s annual El Gouna Film Festival (GFF) have decided to push back this year’s edition in light of the ongoing Israel-Palestine conflict. The seven-day-long event, which was originally slated to take place between Oct. 13 to 20, will now kick off on Oct. 27 and run until Nov. 2.
“In light of the deeply troubling circumstances resulting in the loss of innocent lives, The El Gouna Film Festival management has taken the decision to postpone the festival to the 27th of October to the 2nd of November, 2023. The GFF team remains committed to hosting the festival, using this opportunity to reinforce and amplify our central theme, ‘Cinema for Humanity.’ This theme champions unity and empathy, and we’re dedicated to weaving it throughout all festival activities,” wrote organizers in a statement shared on the platform’s official Instagram page.
“We firmly believe in the profound power of cinema to unite people, as we also understand the weight of the current situation and the importance of collective reflection. It is crucial that we provide space for healing, understanding, and solidarity to prevail,” they added.
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Over 1,600 people have lost their lives in the four-day-old siege that began on Oct. 7 after the military arm of Palestinian political organization Hamas spearheaded a surprise attack on Israel, resulting in a vicious cycle of bloodshed on both sides.
Throughout the years, GFF has been committed to supporting various causes— from refugees, women empowerment, and sustainability. Under “Cinema for Humanity,” the festival joined forces with a number of non-profits and charities, such as UNICEF, UNDP, the Sawiris Foundation, and the UNHCR, among others.
This isn’t the first time that organizers have postponed the sixth edition of the El Gouna Film Festival. In fact, the annual event in Egypt’s resort town— launched in 2017 by telecom magnate Naguib Sawiris— was put on pause in 2022 due to the country’s economic crisis following successful five editions.