Roundup: Egyptian filmmakers attribute China's recovered film market to anti-pandemic policies

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HURGHADA, Egypt, Oct. 29 (Xinhua) -- Renowned Egyptian filmmakers and workers in the cinema industry stressed that China has become the world's top film market in 2020 thanks to its anti-COVID-19 measures.

"Although China was one of the first countries to be hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, its cinema industry has recovered steadily beyond all expectations as its box office surpassed that of North America in 2020," President of Egypt's Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF) Mohamed Hefzy told Xinhua.

Hefzy and other leading figures of the industry in the Arab world made the statements during the ongoing fourth edition of El Gouna Film Festival (GFF) which kicked off last week in Egypt's Red Sea resort town of El Gouna with tight anti-COVID-19 preventive measures in place.

He said that China has so far succeeded where most of the world's countries have failed, noting that the whole world should learn from China how to fight the pandemic and bring life back to normal as China did.

Hefzy pointed out that Chinese people can fearlessly go to cinemas and theaters to watch new movies thanks to the great precautions and policies adopted by the government.

"China's success in fighting the COVID-19 has led to a boom in the film industry this year ... the box office in the country has recently hit 2 billion U.S. dollars," added Hefzy, who is also a famous producer and scriptwriter.

As early as Oct. 15, box office tracking and big data platform Lighthouse first reported the 2020 box office of films screened on the Chinese mainland had reached 12.95 billion yuan (1.93 billion dollars), surpassing the North America's 1.92 billion dollars, citing Box Office Mojo's data.

This was the first time China has occupied the top position.

By Oct. 18, the gap had widened as movie ticket sales in China this year climbed to 2 billion dollars, while North America's total was 1.94 billion dollars.

The gap between the two markets is expected to continue widening by the year end.

"Many countries are now trying to copy China's experience in order to resume the industry and open cinemas and theaters," Hefzy explained.

Meanwhile, Intishal al-Tamimi, manager of GFF, said that China's effective prevention and control should be followed by all countries.

"If you look around, all countries are still struggling to control the spread of the pandemic, but life in China is back to normal thanks to the preventive measures, which benefited filmmaking a lot," al-Tamimi told Xinhua.

He said that Chinese cinema is popular across the world, noting that Chinese movies are winning popularity in Arab countries nowadays.

For her part, Bushra Rozza, the GFF's co-founder and chief operations and foreign relations officer, praised the Chinese cinema industry, expressing hope that more Chinese movies would join the annual event that attracts hundreds of world-famous filmmakers along with their movies.

"We have a lot of respect for Chinese cinema," Rozza said, adding China has its own unique cinema industry that enriches the global cinema with unmatched works. Enditem

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