Meet Mohamed Hefzy, the Man Creating a Hub for Independent Filmmakers in Egypt and the Arab World
Mohamed Hefzy is an award-winning Egyptian screenwriter and producer who has written, produced and co-produced nearly 30 feature films in Egypt, the US, the UK, and the Arab world. In 2013, Screen International named him as the only Arab among 30 future leaders in film production. In 2016, he was chosen by Variety to top a list of “Ten Names You Need to Know in the Arab Film Industry”. In 2018 he received the “Arab Cinema Personality of the Year” award, presented by the Hollywood Reporter with the Arab Cinema Center.
His films have widely participated in major film festivals, including Cannes, Venice, Berlin, Sundance, and Toronto, and have won more than 80 international awards. In 2016, one of his productions, “Clash”, was chosen as the opening film of the Un Certain Regard section of Cannes International Film Festival.
In 2018, he would return to Cannes as a co-producer of “Yomeddine”, this time in the official competition. “You Will Die at Twenty”, one of his latest co-productions in 2019, won three awards so far; the Lion of the Future – “Luigi De Laurentiis” Venice Award for a Debut Film and the Advantage Association’s award at its world premiere at the Venice Days section of the Venice International Film Festival, along with the El Gouna Golden Star for Narrative Film ($50,000) at the 3rd El Gouna Film Festival. The film also screened at the Toronto International Film Festival in Canada.
Aside from his work as a writer and producer, Hefzy is a film activist and his company, Film Clinic, has been a hub for independent filmmakers in Egypt and the Arab World, offering workshops and training programs conducted in cooperation with international organizations and institutes.
In addition, Hefzy has served as a jury member previously at the Venice International Film Festival (2018), Abu Dhabi International Film Festival (2011), Cairo International Film Festival (2010), and most recently, at the BFI London Film Festival (2019), as well as several other local and Arab festivals. He is a former director of the Ismailia International Film Festival for Documentaries and Shorts and was on the advisory board of the Cairo International Film Festival from 2015 to 2017. He has also been a board member of the Egyptian Chamber of Cinema since 2013 and continues to represent and lobby for independent filmmakers in Egypt and throughout the Arab World.
In March 2018, Hefzy was assigned by the minister of culture the responsibility of presiding over the Cairo International Film Festival in its 40th edition, making him the youngest president in the festival’s history. In 2019, Hefzy was officially announced as a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (Oscars®) and was recently honored at the 41st Festival Cinéma Méditerranéen Montpellier (CINEMED).