Egyptian producer, director, writer and mentor Marianne Khoury is being honored with the Legion of Honor, France’s highest prize.
Khoury, who is the niece of late great Egyptian director Youssef Chahine, is a managing partner in prominent Cairo-based Misr International Films, which Chahine founded. She has directed several documentaries, most recently “Let’s Talk,” which premiered at the International Documentary Festival Amsterdam in 2019 and interweaves a treasure trove of archive material with cinematic conversations between four women from different generations in her family.
Besides having worked closely with Chahine, who was one of Arab cinema’s leading lights, Khoury –– who holds economic degrees from Cairo and Oxford Universities –– has shepherded some 30 Arab films and docs, many of which are centered around themes of identity, memory, marginalization and womanhood, and launched Zawya, which is Egypt’s first art house cinema circuit.
Having established close ties to France’s film community, and the international circuit at large, Khoury has long acted as a conduit between artists and the industry in Egypt and Europe. She was instrumental to launching the first edition of the Panorama of the European Film in Cairo showcase in 2004.
Under her MK production label Khoury in 2011 launched The Dahshur Workshops, dedicated to mentoring and developing films by emerging Egyptian and Arab talent. She has served as a jury member in major festivals, including Venice’s Orizzonti section, and a consultant to prominent cultural institutions.
“I am extremely grateful to receive this distinction as it gives me the confidence and the courage to pursue my journey and continue to be myself,” she said during a ceremony on Wednesday evening at the French embassy in Cairo when she was given the prize by Marc Baréty, France’s ambassador to Egypt.