Sherif El Bendary and his Dry, Hot Summers

6 years ago we sat down with filmmaker Sherif El Bendary to talk about his first short fiction film “Rise & Shine” produced by the Egyptian Film Center in 2006 and starred Hend Sabry. The film was officially selected in more than 75 film festivals in 33 countries and won 15 awards. Over the past years, Sherif took filmmaking by storm, making short films and documentaries like ‘The Road To Downtown’ and the short film ‘Curfew’ which was part of the collective feature “18 days”, an official selection in Cannes 2011 and a lot of other several festivals.

Today, we are on set with Mr Bendary witnessing the birth of his new short “Dry, Hot Summers”, written by Nora El Sheikh, starring Noudi El Seba’y? and Donia Maher. On another hot day, amid the busy Ismailia Square we met with Sherif and the whole cast. In a small beauty shop where the first shot is taking place, the actresses with costume designer Reem El Adl were getting ready for a tense first day of shooting. “It’s a very hard film. It’s full of details and hard work but I’m excited and optimistic” Sherif says.

The film talks about one summer day in Cairo when an unexpected encounter between a young bride and an old man who suffers from cancer.A form of a human bond is created between them connecting their lonely selves. “The film is supported by Robert Bosch Grant for shorts from Berlin Film Festival. The story simply talks about two lonely people who are connected against all odds of the busy city. This loneliness turns into joy at the end” Sherif tells.

Working on short films has its difficulties, especially in Egypt, “I want to say that even if you were an accomplished director and you want to do short films that you love, the circumstances around you put lots of obstacles. This film required a huge budget and I went to different sectors that support filmmakers including the National Cinema Institute. They refused because it’s a big budget and they told me I need to stop making shorts simply because I am an accomplished director and I should leave the new shorts for younger filmmakers” Sherif tells. “No one gets excited for an accomplished filmmaker to make short films anymore. They also refused to partner up with a German producer who would cover 60% of the budget! ” he adds.

“I’m so happy to work on this film; it’s a great story with a rollercoaster of emotions. I enjoy working on films more than anything in the world. Be it short or feature, it doesn’t really matter” Reem El Adl says.

We are so looking forward to watch this film!

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