Cast and crew of Yomeddine finally make their debut in Egypt at the 2nd Edition of the El Gouna Film Festival 2018 winning two awards and the hearts of the audiences. The film has already won the Francois Chalais Prize, selected for the Official Competition at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, and chosen as the Egypt’s entry for Best Foreign Language Film category at the 91st Academy Awards.
Written and directed by Abu Bakr Shawky, the young and talented filmmaker takes us on an emotional roller coaster in his first feature film with finesse and integrity. Producer Dina Emam managed to overcome all the struggles this production has faced with in the five years of creating this beautiful film.
Yomeddine is a fantastic road movie following a recovered coptic leper, Beshay (Rady Gamal), who makes money by salvaging trash for cash and his young orphaned friend Obama (Ahmed Abdelhafiz), who insists on tagging along with Beshay on his trip. They leave their colony in the North and head to Upper Egypt in search of what remains of their families in hopes of connecting to their roots. While on the road they face many challenges, which takes the viewer on an emotional ride as we witness a donkey, a boy, and a leper face the harsh and sometimes nerve-racking realities of being different in society.
Since they have lived in isolation of a leper colony for most of their lives, they discover that the outside world is much more complicated. Even though Beshay is cured of leprosy, the general public is less acceptive or kind to marginalized people like him. Obama on the other hand, is only there to support, and sometimes getting them into trouble, he makes the most of the trip to help Beshay search for his father and makes a discovery of his own.
Yomeddine was developed as a graduation project during his time at the New York University’s Tisch School and produced by Desert Highway Pictures and Film Clinic. Along with producers Dina Emam, Mohamed Hefzy, and Argentinian cinematographer Federico Cesca, Shawky was able to present an outstanding unconventional film that sets him apart in the independent film arena. Shawky is very-well deserving to be the recipient of Variety’s MENA Talent of the year award, presented to him at GFF 2018. “I am very honored to receive this award and all I hope for is for people to go see Yomeddine in theaters in Egypt,” Shawky comments.