'Feathers' is an Egyptian-French-Dutch-Greek production and Al-Zuhairi’s first feature-length work.
Egyptian film Feathers by director Omar Al-Zuhairi has won the Best Arab Narrative Film at El Gouna Film Festival.
Despite its big win, the film – which won the Grand Prize at the Cannes Film Festival’s Critics Week – sparked controversy at the event and on social media.
Some Egyptian filmmakers and actors, including Sherif Mounir, Ahmed Rizk and Ashraf Abdel Baqi, left the screening of the film last week because they thought the movie was offensive to Egypt.
The 115-minute film tells the story of a mother who dedicates her life to her husband and children. When a magic trick goes wrong at her four-year-old son’s birthday party, an avalanche of coincidental absurdities befall the family. The magician turns her husband, the authoritarian father, into a chicken.
Upon accepting the award, El Zohairy said he “could not have imagined that there would be so much attention to something I created from my heart”.
“I’m an Egyptian director. I lived here and grew up here. I graduated from the Higher Institute of Cinema in Cairo,” Al Zohairy said.
Feathers stars Demyana Nassar, Samy Bassiouny, Fady Mina Fawzy and Abo Sefen Nabil Wesa. It was co-written with Ahmed Amer and co-produced by Juliette Lepoutre and Pierre Menahem through Still Moving, in partnership with Lagoonie Film Production, as well as Shahinaz Al-Akkad.
The winning Golden Star awards in the three main categories of Feature Narrative, Documentary and Short Film went to Finnish director Teemu Nikki’s The Blind Man Who Did Not Want to See Titanic, Life of Ivanna by Renato Borrayo Serrano, and Katia from Russian director Andrey Natotcinskiy.
Egyptian director Ali El Arabi’s Captains of Za’atari won Best Arab Documentary film. In the short film category, Egyptian director Ahmed Abdelsalam’s Cai-Ber won Best Arab Short Film.
Mounia Akl’s Costa Brava, Lebanon won the inaugural El Gouna Green Star Award for raising awareness on issues related to the environment. She also won the Fipresci award for Best Debut Film.