As some of you might have already figured out from our social media accounts, we were assigned to cover the second edition of El Gouna Film Festival (GFF).

On the surface, it might have looked like an event full of glitz and glam, but the reality of it, it was not. In fact, the festival ended up taking a really dark turn with the death of one of the assigned journalists, Hend Mousa, who sadly lost her life due to a car accident on the way back from the event.

Hend was the head of the arts and culture section in Tahrir news and was the journalist assigned to cover the festival. Due to the nature of our work, we have met with Hend at a few other events, including GFF.

In fact, the day of the opening, we were covering in the spot next to her and we helped each other to figure out who most of the celebrities were from the cheat sheet we were given by the event’s organizers. The last thing we would have imagined was that she would end up dead at the event.

Hend lost her life due to a car accident caused by the driver provided by the event’s official transportation, and the driver is said to be locked up for 4 days until further investigations.

According to Al Masry Al Youm: “The investigations, initiated by Prosecutor Mohammed Al-Madawi, revealed that the driver drove at the far left side of the two-way road of Sokhna/Zaafarana. The car was driving at a fast pace on the edge of its lane, resulting in collusion with a truck on the other lane.”

Picture of the accident that caused journalist Hend Mousa’s death ©

While car accidents do happen, the way the festival has been handling the issue has been extremely questionable. Logically, the festival should honor Hend and own up to their major screw up. But that was not the case.

GFF did pay respect to Hend, but only through a condolence post on their social media, only to post a video of the celebrities having fun in Gouna right after. Yes, granted, they will need to sustain the event with publishing more about it, but the nature of the post published after does show that her death was never a major issue for the festival, nor did they feel any responsibility regarding her passing.

As for the organizers and creators of the festival, most of them did not acknowledge Hend, while others merely retweeted the condolences, while Amr Mansy, the director of GFF, attended her funeral.

As we just said, car accidents do happen, but in this particular situation, the festival has to take some of the blame. Why? It’s plain and simple. While all celebrities were given the opportunity to travel multiple times from Cairo to Gouna, all journalists, including us, were sent by cars provided by one of the sponsors of the festival. Those drivers were asked to go from Cairo to Gouna, and then back to Cairo with no breaks in between, meaning that the majority of them did not get enough rest or sleep to be able to hit the road.

We understand the festival is not about journalists, and yes, filmmakers will get better treatment, but the festival put all our lives in danger just so they can benefit their sponsor and save money.

Hend lost her life because of negligence from the festival’s organizers towards those who made their festival look all glitz and glam in front of the public.

Thankfully, Hend’s life did not go in vain. Hend’s life and work will be honored by the Alexandria Film Festival of the Mediterranean, where they will feature Hend’s name at the press office for the festival.

The only part of the festival that decided to acknowledge Hend’s death was the Egyptian Media Group, who recently acquired CBC channels which were the official media partners. The Egyptian Media group announced that they will be responsible for a monthly pension for Hend’s family.

Actor Amir Karara was one of the few, if only, actors who paid a tribute to Hend, and called out the GFF organizers for not taking any action.

It’s worth noting that this is not the only problem GFF has been facing. The creators of the festival have been recently under fire after being accused of stealing the idea of the festival from director and former partner Mohamed Kheider, but the details of this incident are to be discussed in another article.

As for now, we would like to ask you to keep Hend in your thoughts and prayers, and support her final work at Tahrir News.