During this year’s Berlin International Film Festival (Berlinale), the Arab Cinema Centre (ACC) announced that the Arab Cinema Personality of The Year award is awarded to Screenwriter and Producer Mohamed Hefzy.
Hefzy will receive his award, which is presented by The Hollywood Reporter, where the ACC is also celebrating its five-year anniversary.
In 2018, Hefzy was appointed as the President of the 40th Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF), becoming the youngest to ever be appointed for this post. He was also selected as a jury member of the Horizons section at the 75th Venice International Film Festival.
Hefzy produced films that receives critical and audience acclaim, such as Yomeddine, which world premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and was Egypt’s official submission to the Academy Award for Best Foreign-Language Film.
The film marked the third time in a row that a film produced by Hefzy gets submitted to the Academy Awards after Clash and Sheikh Jackson. Yomeddine was also the first Egyptian film to participate in the Cannes Film Festival’s official competition after a six year hiatus. This was Hefzy’s second film to screen at the Cannes Film Festival after Clash which opened the Un Certain Regard section in 2016.
Moreover, Hefzy was on The 100 Most Important Names in the Arab Film Industry list that was featured in the eighth issue of the Arab Cinema Magazine, published by the ACC.
“Mohamed Hefzy is a rare example of filmmakers who change cinema wherever they go, for instance, there is a wave of young filmmakers who appeared only because Hefzy believed in them and offered them a suitable space,” Film Analyst Alaa Karkouti, managing partner of the ACC and CEO of MAD Solutions, said.
“The CIFF was also brought back to life because filmmakers inside and outside the Arab world believed in him. What Hefzy achieved in 2018 for the Egyptian and Arab film industry was really exceptional and we are pleased to give this award to him,” Karkouti added.
Hefzy expressed his happiness for receiving this award, saying, “It’s such an honour to be recognised by two great and internationally respected institutions such as the ACC and The Hollywood Reporter. 2018 was indeed a great year for me professionally, but this award can only inspire me to give more and achieve more”.
Furthermore, Hefzy established himself among the Arab world’s most successful screenwriters and producers. Since he started his screenwriting career in 2001, Hefzy was able to become one of the most important names in the film industry in Egypt and the Arab world. It all started when he wrote a number of films which became classics. Through his fully-fledged production house Film Clinic, he produced some critically-acclaimed box-office hits. Hefzy also plays a key role in the filmmaking industry through participating, as a member or director, in many Egyptian film organisations. He also represents the Arab film industry in international film events.
Last year, the ACC and The Hollywood Reporter presented the Arab Cinema Personality of The Year award to Abdel Hamid Juma, chairperson of the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF), and Masoud Amralla, artistic director of DIFF. The award is part of its strategy of promoting the Arab film industry internationally and supporting Arab filmmakers.
Organized by MAD Solutions, the Arab Cinema Center (ACC) celebrates its fifth year since its inception in 2015. A nonprofit organization registered in The Netherlands, ACC is an international promotional platform for Arab cinema as it provides the filmmaking industry with a professional window to connect with their counterparts from all over the world through a number of events that it organizes. ACC also provides networking opportunities with representatives of companies and institutions specialized in co-production and international distribution, among others. ACC’s activities vary between film market main wings, introduction and networking sessions for Arab and foreign filmmakers, welcome parties, as well as meetings with international organizations and festivals, and the issuance of the Arab Cinema Magazine to be distributed at the leading international film festivals and markets.