Gouna Film Festival

The 3rd Edition of the Gouna Film Festival (GFF) had its opening ceremony on Thursday, September 19. While many Egyptian stars and celebrities made an appearance, Mena Massoud’s arrival was ‘supposed‘ to be highly anticipated.

Massoud is the Egyptian Canadian rising star who played Aladdin in the big-screen-Disney-adaptation. Which is, well, a really big deal.

It’s also worth mentioning that ever since it was announced that he’ll be the GFF’s international guest, people and news outlets have not been able to stop highlighting it.

So, again, it was ‘supposed‘ to be highly anticipated.

That being said, as we all were on the red carpet, Massoud’s arrival was hardly even acknowledged.

What Happened?

So many people were walking in and usually when the celebrity coming is a big deal, you’d find someone on the red carpet announcing his arrival and saying his name out loud so that people would start preparing their cameras.

However, unfortunately and for some reason, that did not happen with Massoud.

The 27-year-old walked in at the same time as the cast of one of the short movies. Therefore so many people got confused and did not even know who he is, thinking he’s part of the cast.

Even the bunch of photographers and live reporters from the million channels and publications did not shout his name nor direct his position as they did with everyone else. Because, simply, they didn’t even know it’s him.

Egyptian actresses Laila Elwi and Elham Shahine arrived on the red carpet only a couple of seconds after Massoud’s entrance. So, no need to explain there why he wasn’t given much attention, right?

The Interview

A couple of minutes after his entrance, Massoud started his opening night at the GFF with an interview with ONTV presenter Sherif Nour El-Din.

And one of the first things he said was: “Well, nobody screamed my name.” He said it jokingly, of course. But, it was clear that he was, at least, slightly upset.

We were among the few people around both Massoud and Nour El-Dine during the interview, and as soon as we heard Massoud say those words, we screamed for him. And he was like “Shokran, Shokran“.

We actually thought that other people around us would also scream his name as some sort of a “Don’t be upset, we do care about you,“. But, well, that too didn’t happen.

It was kinda sad, actually.

Furthermore, it was pretty evident that the organizers of the festival itself did everything to honor Massoud’s presence. The fact that he got on stage to present an award was actually very prestigious.

However, we really blame the Egyptian press here; because knowing who people are and how much attention you should give them based on them being a huge deal is your only job, literally.

The Speech

When the red carpet was done, the opening ceremony started on stage. And not long after the welcome, Massoud presented the first inaugural International Artist in Motion award to Adam’s Nesreen Al-Rady on behalf of his newly created EDA Foundation.

But of course, before presenting, he had to make a speech and express his joy and happiness to be back home in such a prestigious event.

Nevertheless, that one did not really go well too. Due to the fact that none of the audience actually interacted back with him that he had to point it out. And, it was pretty awkward.

Why did that happen?

Well, we don’t really have a specific answer to that. But, what we’re pretty sure of is that the fact that if it was Rami Malek instead, things would have been very different.

And there’s only one way to explain it: Mena Massoud is pretty much more Egyptian than he is Canadian. He’s been to Egypt numerous times and he actually lived here before.

As for Malek, he’s a first generation Egyptian American. Even though he’s definitely been to Egypt before, he hasn’t lived here. And while Massoud knows how to speak not only Arabic, but Egyptian Arabic, Malek can barely form a sentence in the Egyptian accent.

Which is fine, actually. We’re in no way picking on Malek. However, those are straight up facts.

So, in conclusion, because Rami Malek is 100% pure international guest – not to mention that he’s an Oscar winner -, he would’ve gained much more attention. But with Massoud, like we said, he’s more Egyptian than anything. And that’s probably the only obvious reason why he was kind of neglected.