When a magic trick goes awry at a children’s birthday party, the authoritative father of the family turns into a chicken. An avalanche of coincidental absurdities befalls everyone; the mother, whose mundane life was dedicated to her husband and children, is now urged to come to the fore and take care of her family. While moving heaven and earth to bring her husband back and secure their survival, she goes through a total transformationAfter studying film directing at the Egyptian Academy of Arts – Higher Institute of Cinema, I directed two short films, Breathe Out (Zafir) and The Aftermath of the Inauguration of the Public Toilet at Kilometer 375, the first Egyptian film to compete in the Cannes Film Festival Cinéfondation in 2014.
Feathers started from a very simple idea I had six years ago. It is the story of a man who turns into a chicken and there’s serious evidence of it; it is neither a joke nor a conspiracy. Through this parable, I wanted to capture a part of the difficult life an ordinary Egyptian family leads. Having to face this absurd situation, the members of this family reacts without really thinking. But they’re actually stuck. Exactly because they are anti-heroes, nobody cares about them or their issues. I feel very close to that situation and therefore, from the moment the idea of making the film came to me, I became completely obsessed.
I was inspired by many things and I have a deep connection with the Egyptian culture, especially with its cinematic and music heritage. Filmmakers, such as Youssef Chahine, Mohamed Khan, Khairy Beshara, Yousry Nasrallah, Oussama Fawzy as well as Robert Bresson, Aki Kaurismaki and Jacques Tati inspired me for this film. It is built as a poem, through which I try to make the audience feel the essence of our lives. In directing the film, I tried to build a bridge between the characters and us so that we can feel what they feel. I wanted to be as sincere with them and their fears as I could, without labelling or judging them.
Cannes Film Festival – The Directors’ Fortnight
Omar El Zohairy studied film directing at the High Institute of Cinema in Cairo and worked as an assistant director on feature films of Egypt’s most prominent filmmakers, including Yousri Nasrallah. Zohairy’s first short film, Breathe Out (Zafir), premiered at the 8th Dubai International Film Festival and won the Muhr Special Jury Prize for Short Films. His second short film, The Aftermath of the Inauguration of the Public Toilet at Kilometre 375, was the first Egyptian film to be selected for the Cinéfondation competition at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, the film went on to win several awards around the world.
His first feature film, FEATHERS, will premiere in the competition of the Critics Week of Cannes in 2021.
The story begins when the head of a family transforms into a chicken. The contrast between the quiet tone and the black humor that is shown throughout the film gives the film an exquisite spice. The film has an aftertaste that slowly bubbles up after watching it, and is a perfect example of an up-and-coming film.
Filipino film director and producer. Known as a Living National Treasure. His films
have been highly acclaimed and won awards at the world’s three major film festivals―the Cannes Film Festival,
the Venice International Film Festival, and the Berlin International Film Festival. After working in the advertising
industry, he became a production designer. He has served as juror and jury president at film festivals held in
Japan, Egypt, France, Malaysia, Singapore, and Belgium.
Born in Tokyo in 1982. She studied abroad in England since high school and
graduated from the University of London’s Faculty of Arts. After that, she studied filmmaking in New York, worked
as an assistant director, and made her debut as a director and screenwriter in 2010 with “A Piece of Our Life”. In
2011, she published her first full-length novel “0.5mm”, and in 2014 directed, wrote and made it into a movie. After
that, the movie “Utamonogatari CINEMA FIGHTERS project ‘Aeiou'”, which she directed and wrote, was released
Professor at Kyoto Seika University Faculty of Humanities
As a government-sponsored student, he studied at Beijing Language and Culture
University and Nanjing Southeast University. In 1990, he experienced a shortterm
homestay in Tokyo and was surprised by the downtown culture that was common to Mali. He came to
Japan in 1991, and in 1999 completed a doctoral course at the Department of Architecture, Graduate School
of Engineering, Kyoto University. Ph.D. (Engineering). Specialized in spatial anthropology. After working as a
faculty member and dean of the Faculty of Humanities at Kyoto Seika University, he was appointed president of
the university in April 2018 (until March 2022) before taking up his current position. He advocates a society that
recognizes diverse values from the perspective of everyday life.
Asian Film Programming Advisor
Asia│Film Programming Advisor
Jacob Wong has been a member of the Hong Kong International Film Festival Society for over two decades, with double-barrel responsibilities as Curator and Director of HAF (Hong Kong Asia Film Financing Forum). He is currently Director of the Film Industry Office, overlooking HAF, HAF Goes to Cannes, the Film Lab, Co-productions and Foreign Sales. He is also the Berlin Film Festival’s delegate for Chinese-language cinemas.
Locarno IFF Selection Committee, Film Critique
Daniela Persico is part selection committee for Locarno Film Festival and Berlin Critics Week and
a curator for L’immagine e la parola, spin-off of the Locarno Festival. She’s founder and editor in chief of the online quarterly
Filmidee (www.filmidee.it). She has also devoted to help various young filmmakers in developing films. In 2022, she was
appointed artistic director of the Bellaria Film Festival.