ROME – Egyptian Independent Producer Mohamed Hefzy has been named President of the Cairo Film Festival with the mission to revitalize the prominent Arab festival, which has lost glamor due to political turmoil, terrorism and the recent launch of a rival event Red Sea Resort
Hefzy, 43, is the youngest president of the 40-year history of the Cairo Festival and the first elected from the country's film industry. He replaces the critic Magda Wasef, the critic and academic Youssef Sherif Rizkalla remains the artistic director of the festival
"It is a great responsibility … there is a lot that needs to be improved," he said. Hefzy added that he did not expect Egyptian Culture Minister Ines Abdel-Dayem ̵
Hefzy's film Clinic Shingle has produced steady production of well-received, often edged Egyptian titles that have circulated internationally, such as Mohamed Diab's thriller "Clash" police car during the 2013 street protests and "Sheikh Jackson" about an Egyptian-Islamic fundamentalist cleric with a secret passion for the music of Michael Jackson, directed by Amr Salama.
He said his main priority was "really developing" the Cairo film market, which was a key component of the oldest festival in the Arab and African world, a member of the international festival organization FIAPF. Egyptian film critic Samir Farid rejected the film market in Cairo when he took the reins in 2014 after a break after the 2011 revolution.
The co-production platform Cairo Film Connection was discontinued in 2016, but then disappeared again.  "I am not saying that we will have a full market in the first year [of my mandate] but we have to do that in the future," said Hefzy.
Another priority is put the feast back on the international racetrack. Last year, "it just felt like it was more for local consumption," noted Hefzy. He really wants to spread the message "that this festival is international, that we take care of cinema from all over the world."
A big problem on the international front was that "because of the revolution and the security situation … In recent years … many foreign guests are afraid to come to Cairo," said Hefzy.
"But," he added, "I think that is changing now, I think Cairo will be safe." The tourism is back and the hotels are full. "
Regarding the competition of the ambitious new one Film festivals from El Gouna, which began last year on the shores of the Red Sea, and the Dubai Festival, which has risen to become a top dog, Hefzy admitted that "it's going to be really tough," premieres of Arab films and premieres of the Middle East lure, especially in the first year.
But Hefzy is convinced that the appeal of Kairos demanding metropolis along with the regaining of the market component and the fact that "Egypt still has the strongest film industry in the region" will cause the festival to "get some of the best movies there outside "to win by the end of his three-year term.