Oscar-winning Danish director Bille August will preside over the jury of the Cairo Film Festival, which is being revamped by Egyptian producer Mohamed Hefzy. August is one of a very short list of film directors who can claim the rare distinction of winning two Cannes Palme d’Or awards.
August is most famous for directing “Pelle the Conqueror” which won the foreign-language Oscar, the Palme d’Or and a Golden Globe. He has also directed “The House of the Spirits,” “Smilla’s Sense Of Snow,” and “Les Miserables.” He is currently in pre-production for the upcoming Gianni Versace biopic called “The Emperor of Dreams.”
August will be returning to Cairo after last participating in the event with “Les Miserables” in 1998.
According the report by Variety, Hefzy, who was appointed as president of the Cairo festival in March, praised August as “one of the eminent names in world cinema.” Hefzy's production house Film Clinic has produced a number of acclaimed Egyptian titles well received in the international festival circuit such as Mohamed Diab’s “Clash” and recent Cannes entry “Yomeddine”.
Hefzy told Variety that he was honored to have gotten August to agree to serve as jury president for what he called the “historic 40th edition” of the event. He is the youngest president in the Cairo fest’s history and the first chosen from within the country’s film industry ranks.
Hefzy aims to raise the international profile of the Cairo fest - the oldest in the Arab and African region, which has lost some of its appeal in recent years due to Egypt's revolution and its aftermath. Hefzy told Variety that security fears have now subsided and tourism is picking up the country.
Since taking over as president he has reinstated the Cairo Film Connection co-production platform and give the fest a wider range of cinema from across the globe. Artistic director Youssef Cherif Rizkallah said more well-known international names will be added as jury members for the upcoming edition which will run Nov. 20-29.