Opening of Carthage Film Festival 2016: fifty years and many artists in the spotlight

(TAP) – Not far from the Municipal Theatre of Tunis, which had housed most of the previous editions of the Carthage Film Festival (JCC) since its creation in 1966, the 27th edition of the JCC, which celebrates its 50th anniversary, was opened on Friday evening at the Convention Centre, downtown Tunis.

The opening of the 27th festival, which runs until 05 November, was marked by a series of tributes and musical break with Algerian Kaddour Hdadi and Tunisian Zoheir Gouga who performed a song on Refugees (I am a refugee).

// Brahim Letaief: “You are all the attractions of the JCC 2016 //

For latecomers who can barely get a place in the middle of the room, Brahim Letaief director of JCC, for the second consecutive year embarked, on reading his speech in French after reading it in Arabic. Letaief welcomed the large “film community, professionals, producers, film lovers, critics and observers of all stripes.”

He added saying “the great cinema caravan advances somehow in a chaotic universe …..” but “trying to stay (this caravan) a bridgehead of creative, free and brilliant energies.”

For this anniversary edition, he states that he “worked to make this edition encourages talents, build bridges between the Arab world and Africa, producers and creators and future aspiration and rehabilitation of memory.”

“Indeed, our cinematographic memory is so important” adds the filmmaker and director of JCC before addressing the guests, “you are all the attractions of the JCC in 2016.”

// Youssef Chahed: culture will be one of his government’s priorities //

In his remarks, Prime Minister Chahed Youssef said: “I want to assure you and reassure you that culture is one of our priorities.”

In this vein, Chahed announced that his government is “working on a whole strategic plan to be announced in the coming weeks to ensure that the cultural product be directed to regions and emanates from the same regions.”

He added: “culture must have much importance and there should be a reconciliation between Tunisians and culture.”

// Tributes to great pioneers of cinema //

Tributes were paid to Arab and African filmmakers and cinema figures, including Egyptian Jamil Rateb, Tunisian Farid Boughdir who was presented with the fiftieth anniversary prize but also Kalthoum Bornaz, leading woman filmmaker in Tunisia, Egypt’s Youssef Chahine, Senegalese Djibril Diop Mambet, Burkinabe Faso’s Idrissa Ouedraogo and Iranian Abbas Kiarostami.

The ceremony was marked by the presence of the international jury of the four sections of the official competition chaired by Mauritanian Abderrahmene Sissako respectively (Feature Films), Tunisian Sofian El Fani (Tahar Cheriaa Prize) and Burkina Faso’s Maimouna N’Diaye for the short films section and Carthage Promising Cinema.

Abderrahmene Sissako, jury president said he was “very happy as an African to be present at the celebration of the 50th anniversary of this great festival.”

The opening ceremony ended, giving way to the screening, in premiere, of the film “Flower of Aleppo” directed by Ridha El Behi, a fiction on conflicts in the Arab world and the attraction to obscurantism.

Just before the screening, the entire film crew was invited on stage, including Tunisian actress based in Egypt Hend Sabri in the lead role and also as co-producer of the film as announced by the director.

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