The film industry appeared in an early stage in Egypt, starting in 1907. It witnessed continuous development in various aspects. However, Egypt did not encounter a lot of success in the industry of cinematic magazines that kept pace with cinema production in terms of constructive criticism, meaningful artistic discussions, documentation of films and their stages of development. They did not even offer support for art creators by commemorating their lives and works.
At one point, Egyptian filmmakers realized the importance of the role played by film magazines. Some attempts were made to introduce this type of press releases. The scene was topped sporadically by the appearance of several magazines at different times in the history of the Egyptian cinema industry. However, these attempts did not last long and witnessed obstacles and many have failed.
Despite the discontinuation of most of these attempts. Cinema magazines proved to have a significant role in the formation of Cinema industry in Egypt. Could the reason for the cessation of such releases be financial? Or were there any other hindrances that prevented the continuation of such magazines?
First attempts to launch a film magazine
The “motion feature” magazine, published by Muhammad Tewfik in 1923, was the first specialized cinematic magazine. It was based mainly on international films. It published stories of movie stars lives and technical news translated from foreign magazines. It consisted of 24 pages, each page of two columns, each issue was sold by 10 Milliemes.
Three years later, “Kawakib Al-Cinema” magazine, published by the film critic, historian and one of the pioneers of cinema journalism, Mr. Hassan Jumaa, was published in 1924. It consisted of 16 pages, and 50 copies were printed. Other magazines followed, such as “The World of Cinema”, “The Bride”, and “The Art of Cinema”.
Whereas 1932 witnessed the publication of a new film magazine, Al-Kawakeb, which was published by Dar Al-Hilal, and it is considered the most famous film magazine to this date.
New prominent and effective experiences
The important and influential experience of the Ministry of Culture in issuing the magazine “Cinema and Theater” should not be overlooked. The editor-in-chief was the great writer Youssef El Sebaei, followed by the experienced film critic and historian Samir Farid with the magazine “Cinema and Arts” in 1977, of which only 35 issues were released.
Perhaps the most prominent experience in this field is represented in “The Seventh Art”, magazine published by the artist Mahmoud Hamida in 1997. It is rather the first Arab cinema publication specialized in the cinema industry in the Middle East. It used to shed light on Arab and foreign cinematic issues, films and figures, 44 issues of that magazine were issued. Until it stopped in 2001, for financial reasons, its issues maintained their value, as scholars considered them a historical reference for various local and international films.
Film magazines that appeared after 2000, such as “Online Cinema”, which was published in 2002 and lasted for only two years, and “Good News Cinema”, which lasted from 2003 to 2009, tried to fill the great void in this industry. However, they parted from the serious content and artistic criticism, and focused more on audience interests, from light news and trivia about celebrities and movies.
Yet, all of these magazines stopped due to financial crises, which caused them to become unable to cover production costs and pay the wages of their workers.
Lately, some new attempts to issue film magazines seemed that would last for a period of time, but these attempts were not sufficiently widespread among the public. Thus, the magazine “Al-Film” came up in 2014, which is a magazine issued by the Al-Nahda Scientific and Cultural Association “Cairo Jesuit”, and covers cinematic culture all-over the world.
The magazine “Tele Cinema”, a monthly cinema magazine published by the Syndicate of Cinematographic Professions in 2018. It was featured that it was not limited to filmmakers only, as was expected from a magazine issued by the Cinema Syndicate, but also focused its attention on the audience. It was not limited to Egyptian cinema, but rather grew to include Arab and international cinema.
The role of the Internet in the faltering cinema press
Despite Egypt’s long cinematic history, and our pride in being a pioneer in the film industry for more than a century. It is unfortunate that we do not always have an established magazine specialized in cinema affairs. So far, the arena has not witnessed the issuance of a stable and consistent cinema magazine. The situation has become more difficult in recent years, especially after the spread of press websites and social networking sites, which caused a major change in the public’s relationship with cinema.
So each one of these magazines became in the position of the film critic, and it became customary for each of them to freely present their personal opinions. In addition to surveying and reading the opinions of others easily, it is no longer logical to wait for the issuance of a monthly or even weekly magazine to find out about cinema, art and celebrities news, while it can easily be known within seconds of surfing the Internet.
Regardless of paying for Art magazine that are available completely free. All these reasons were gathered to make the issuance of an Arab Cinema Magazine that showcase the developments of cinema in Egypt and the world, has become a far-fetched dream. As if the Hollywood of the East was doomed to stay without prints specialized in Cinema affairs.