November 21, 2018 / 5:19 PM / in 22 days

40th Cairo Film Festival embraces virtual reality

CAIRO, Nov 21 (Reuters) - A star-studded ensemble opened the 40th Cairo International Film Festival, which this year immerses its audience in the latest film technologies, including virtual reality.

Running from Nov. 20-29, the festival brings film icons from across the Arab world to the Egyptian capital, which was once at the forefront of cinematic culture in the region.

Among those attending is renowned Tunisian actor Dhafer L’Abidine who praised the diversity of the motion pictures being screened.

“There is a diversity in the movies, from different countries, from the Philippines, from Europe and Africa. Different and diverse movies, and I think that this is what gives a special feel to the festival,” he said.

“[The festival] gives viewers the chance to see films from various backgrounds and traditions, which is really important,” L’Abidine added.

This year’s festival will feature 11 virtual reality films — 360-degree productions designed for a more immersive viewing experience — including American production Nefertari: Journey to Eternity, which takes viewers on a tour inside the ancient queen’s tomb.

“There is the virtual reality section, which is new, we started it this year for the first time in an Egyptian festival,” said Mohamed Hefzy, the head of the festival.

The festival received 2,200 eligible submissions, from more than 120 countries. They include 790 feature films — 623 of which are feature fiction films — 167 documentaries, and approximately 1,300 short films, according to the official website.

Reporting by Mohamed Zaki; Writing by Hend Kortam; Editing by Yousef Saba and Kirsten Donovan

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