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Egypt to revitalize film industry

It produced 40 films last year – yet Egypt, dubbed ‘Hollywood of the East’, has only 250 cinemas for a population of over 76 million.
Egypt’s Minister of Trade and Industry Rashid Mohamed Rashid has announced his ministry is to take steps to revitalise the country’s cinema industry, the region's oldest. He was addressing the Egyptian Chamber of Film Industry earlier this week.

In addition to steps being taken in the country itself, Egyptian overseas trade offices around the world would be assigned to protect the copyrights of the Egyptian films in the US, Australia, Canada and Arab countries, the latter being major markets for Egyptian films.

The minister also said that measures would be taken to make the Egyptian cinema industry more competitive.

“The Ministry can offer all facilities to set up a state-of-the art complex for the (local) cinema industry,” he said.

Muneeb el-Shafae, who heads the Chamber of the Film Industry, says that the number of cinemas in the country is very low given the population, but the situation is exacerbated by the fact that they are largely concentrated in the major cities, such as Cairo and Alexandria, while other centres tend to be neglected.

El-Shafae told the meeting that the number of cinemas should be at least four times the present number.

Minister Rashid said his ministry would coordinate with ministries of housing and local development to set up new theatres in other cities of Egypt.