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Sheikh Jackson to Open the First Edition of El Gouna Film Festival

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Landing Its Arab World Premiere

Sheikh Jackson to Open the First Edition of El Gouna Film Festival

Director Amr Salama's film Sheikh Jackson will land its Egyptian and Arab world premiere by opening the first edition of El Gouna Film Festival (from 22 to 29 September) where it will be competing within the festival's Feature Narrative Competition.

In a press release published by El Gouna Film Festival's Programming Committee, it was mentioned that selecting Sheikh Jackson to be screened in the closing ceremony of the 42nd annual Toronto Film Festival (TIFF), clearly highlights the importance of the film and marks its first steps of worldwide recognition. Five days after its screening in Toronto, the much anticipated film will be proudly presented as the opening film of El Gouna Film Festival where it will be viewed by film industry professionals and film critics from Egypt, the Arab world and all over the world. The screening of the film at El Gouna Film Festival will only be its second outing in the international Festival circuit.

Intishal Al Timimi, the Festival Director commented, "Any success achieved by any national festival will never be complete if it fails to attract artists and filmmakers from the region and present their work, hence, the programming team was searching for special Arab films and succeeded in finding a unique Egyptian film to be the opening of the festival, which aligns with the festival's vision to showcase various films from an international ad regional prospective."

El Gouna Film Festival is an annual film festival that will be held for the first time this year. The festival aims to offer a rich program with three main competitions; Feature Narrative Competition, Feature Documentary Competition, and Short Film Competition. In parallel to the screening and program of the festival, the organizers will hold El Gouna Cinema Arena, which will act as a platform to develop and support promising Egyptian and Arab talents.

The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) has announced that Sheikh Jackson will have its world premiere at its 42nd edition (September 7-17) as the closing film of the Special Presentations section that presents world premieres or Canadian premieres of the year's awaited films, in addition to the most recent films by the world's leading filmmakers. In this section, Sheikh Jackson competes for the prize of the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) and the Audience Award.

The events of the film take us back to June 25, 2009 as the news of Michael Jackson's death took the world by storm affecting many, especially a preacher who is dubbed "Jackson" during his school days. But, what does a preacher have in common with the King of Pop? More importantly, can he now go back to his normal life, or will his memories and relationships with his loved ones raise the most prominent question in his mind? Is he the Sheikh, Jackson, or both?

Co-produced by The Producers, Film Clinic and iProductions with Daniel Ziskind as Associate Producer, Sheikh Jackson is written and directed by Amr Salama and co-written by Omar Khaled. The film stars Ahmad Al Fishawy, Maged El Kedwany, Ahmed Malek, and Amina Khalil. The film will also feature several guest stars, including Dorra, Basma, and Mahmoud El-Bezzawy. The German company Media Luna is responsible for distributing the film outside the Arab world.