Mostafa El Kashef
DOP, Producer
A renowned visual artist, producer, and director of photography— has lent his creative prowess to 13 cinematic masterpieces, including his debut feature, 19 B, which earned him the Best Artistic Contribution Award at the Cairo International Film Festival. As a cinematographer, El Kashef worked on a series of highly acclaimed short films, including Yousuf Nouman’s THIS IS MY NIGHT, which earned him Best Cinematography at Cinemaz Brasil. El Kashef’s breakthrough, however, came in 2021, when he worked on three compelling short films that further established his name when they all premiered at the Clermont-Ferrand Festival: Ahmed Abdelsalam’s CAI - BER, Morad Mostafa’s KHADIJA, and WHAT WE DON’T KNOW ABOUT MARIAM, which earned him Best Cinematography at the Galichnik Film Festival.

El Kashef’s short film I PROMISE YOU PARADISE, this time as both cinematographer and co-producer, premiered at the 76th Cannes Festival. The film earned El Kashef eight Best Cinematography awards from festivals around the world. El Kashef is returning to the 2024 Cannes with Mo HARAWE’s Somali set feature, THE VILLAGE NEXT TO PARADISE, at the Un Certain Regard. He also wrapped up shooting four short films that are about to premiere soon: Joseph Adel’s ENOUGH WATER TO DROWN, Jawaher Alamri’s THE LAST DISMISSAL, Rasha Shahin’s NAHAR ABER, and Hind Soheil’s PROMISE TO THE SEA.

What's the best advice you have ever been given- or given to others?
My father used to tell people who were around him, if they wanna make cinema then they have to live life, if one does not explore life then they simply cannot make cinema!

What has been your biggest setback/hurdle?
The confusion of one's process, finding my own ground inside society and how pushing the boundaries can take so much from one's time.

What is the biggest misunderstanding about the Arab World and/or its entertainment industry?
That the Arabs are close-minded, irrational, and violent people who don't have any sort of soul or creativity or even the tools to produce and that is of course very wrong, i could say that the Middle East and Africa have the most powerful talents that ever existed, and it has been proved so for many years in all art forms and on all platforms!

What will have the greatest game-changing effect on Arab cinema?
That the governments pay more attention and give major support to the talents, schools, and art institutions.

How do you recognize real talent?
You will instantly feel it, the way they talk, observe, or move!