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Khalid Abdalla Talks Cinematheque at TIFF

In an interview given at the Toronto International Film Festival, British Egyptian actor/activist Khalid Abdalla spoke of his plans to launch a major venue for screening and studying independent film in Cairo.

Hollywood star Khalid Abdalla is currently at the Toronto International Film Festival promoting not one, but two films, while shining a light on the launch of Cairo Cinematheque.

The British-Egyptian actors skills are being showcased in two films premiering in the festival; Danis Tanovic's Tigers and Tala Hadid's The Narrow Frame of Midnight. While other actors focus on promoting their films at the festival or raising their personal profile,  actor/activist Abdalla has been spending his time giving an interview with promoting the launch of Cairo Cinematheque.

Cinematheque (AKA Cima) is currently under construction, but promises to be a venue like no other. The 80-seater cinema will also include, 8 and 16mm labs, a library, digital archive, DVD library, cafeteria, and will offer courses and workshops to help develop local talent.

Abdalla explains to Screen Daily, “There’s a lot of film that’s very difficult to access in Egypt, the country has an extraordinary film history but there are few channels for alternative filmmaking, especially for the new wave of films emerging in the region.” At the same time it is very rare to be able to find cinema that screens acclaimed regional and foreign films.

With the intention of broadening alternative and independent cinema in Egypt, Abdalla and fellow organisers are in the process of solidifying curators, distributors, and festivals to fill the venue's schedule. Funding the venue are a number of international and cultural institutes from organisations based in the UK, US, Netherlands, France, and Scandinavia.

The move marks a positive step towards establishing an independent cinema culture in Egypt, and improving filmmaking opportunities in the country.

To learn more about Khaled Abdalla, check out our interview with him here.