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Production & Distribution Companies


Production Cost of a Film. El Kawakeb, 1952


Given the entertainment value of the medium and the audience niche yet to grow accustomed to the nascent form, and long before any claim to the status of art, seventh as it emerged to be, or otherwise, films and the making thereof were primarily a profitable adventure into the world of business.

Ever since the very first projections of primitive slide shows in suburb schools with children scrambling to collect money to watch the magical invention, through the screenings in local cafes. The owners of which soon realized the value and encouraged the practice to the more sophisticated attempts, production cost was always an issue of concern.

Above all cinema held the promise of a lucrative business and, in fact, proved its potential for becoming a full blown industry in its own right. Film as art form was still a long way to come, and the early attempts dabbled with the medium cautiously with a keen eye on benefits material rather than otherwise.

Long, before the age of specialization, studio owners and their technicians when they were not as was often the case, one and the same were largely producers or contributors to a production. Making a film was an exercise in economy: A Night in the Life (Laylah fî el ‘omr) cost a total of 46 L.E. 17 pts. to make, and Fiancé Number 13 (El Khatîb nimrah talatâshar) cost Bayoumi 80 L.E. since he was responsible for executing the film from beginning to end.

All through the early period one truth remains uncontested: most, if not all those early financial ventures with the ensuing establishment of studios and production companies, no matter how primitive, took place in Alexandria. By the forties most of the production and distribution companies had, like the rest of the cinema industry, moved to Cairo.


Company Name: SITCIA (Italian Cinematographic Society)
Founded in Alexandria by Aziz and Cornel and Italian investors, and supported by the Banco di Roma (the first cinema production company in Egypt)


Company Name: Universal Pictures Cooperation of Egypt
Address: 39, Rue Fouad, Alexandria
Manager: Andrea Salib
Notes: Distribution of ‘Univeral International’ films to Egypt & different parts of the world


The appearance of societies with distribution and screening rights
The American Union Film Society (of Prosperi)
Jozy Film Society (of Mosseri)
American Cosmograph Society - United Film Service (of Chavo and Illoni)


Company Name: Sawsan Film
Owner: Ehsane Sabri
Produced Eternal Love (el Houbb el khâled) in 1927 and The Victims (el Dahiyyah) in 1928
Notes: The Victims, starring Ehsane Sabri, Ahmed Yaken Bey, Hosni Ibrahim Bey and Daoud Ibrahim Effendi, was directed by Ehsane Sabri and Wedad Orfi and written by Ehsane Sabri. It was a silent black and white film 
The company closed down after Ehsane Sabri, the actress and owner of the company, and Hosni Ibrahim Bey fell in love


Company Name: The Egyptian Film Society
Founded by the Italian Amando Puccini and the French Jacques Schultz to produce Egyptian Films by Egyptian actors.
Its first film is Souad the Gypsy (Sou’â el ghagariyyah) written and directed by Jacques Schultz, with Fardous Hassan, Abdel Aziz Khalil, Gobran Naoum, Mahmoud elTonsi, Amina Rizq and Mohamed Kamal el Masri was given negative reviews describing it as ‘insulting’ to Egypt by contemporary critics


Company Name: ‘Montakhabat’ Behna Film - Ekhwan Behna (Behna Brothers)
Established by Behna Brothers: Michael & George Behna
Address: 1, Rue de l'Eglise Maronite, Alexandria
Manager: Michael & George Behna
Notes: Production &‘Distribution Rights’of Egyptian films to all parts of the world

Click for more information:
1) Behna Brothers
2) Interview with Basile Behna (son of George Behna)


Company Name: Mathateia (Silvio) Alexandria Branch
Year of Establishment: 1 January 1933
Address: 42, Rue Nebi Daniel, Alexandria
Manager: Elie Israel
Notes: Advertising cinema productions

The Alexandria Cinema Institute (Bayoumi)
Founder: Mohamed Bayoumi
Address: 39, Rue Missalla, Alexandria
Produced a 6 minute long documentary film directed by Mohamed Bayoumi to record the event of the moving of the columns of the Morsi Abou el Abbas Mosque.
Produced a 50 minute long film entitled Fiancé Number 13 (El Khatîb nimrah talatâshar) directed by Mohamed Bayoumi


Company Name: Alliance Cinematographic International
Address: 3, Rue de l' Eglise Maronite
Manager: Jean Stamatio
Notes: Distribution of European & American films in Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Iran and Iraq


Company Name: International Film Distribution
Address: 32, Rue Cherif Pasha, Alexandria
Manager: Jacques Cohen
Notes: Distribution of ‘Republic’ films and American action films


Company Name: Egyptian Nile Valley Films
Notes: It was established after the arrival of Tewfik el Aqqad from Europe where he studied cinema in European Film companies and studios
The first film that was produced by the company was The Wise People (Ashâb el ‘oqoul) starring Fawzi Mounib, Bechara Wakim, Bahiga el Mahdi, directed by Tewfik el Aqqad and distributed by Behna Brothers


Company Name: Sons of Fouad Haggar
Address: 30, Rue Sidi el Metwalli
Manager: Albert & Joseph Haggar
Notes: Owners of a number of cinemas (Ras el Tin, Bacos, Misr, Park, Cleopatra Hamamat) and had ‘screening rights’ of films


Company Name: Aflam Nareeh Company
Address: 7, Rue el Borsa el Qadeema (Rue de l' Ancienne Bourse), Alexandria.
Manager: Adriano Segouna
Notes: Distribution of Foreign films in Egypt & Sudan


Company Name: 16 Millimetre Films
Year of Establishment: 1950
Address: 37, Rue Fouad, Alexandria
Manager: Elias G. Lotfy
Notes: Distribution of foreign films and rights of screening of 16 millimetre films

Company Name: Express Film Agency
Address: 37, Rue Fouad, Alexandria
Telegram: Cinema Rio Alex
Manager: Elias George Lotfi
Notes: Distribution of Foreign & Egyptian films


Company Name: Alam el Aflam el Misreyah Fayed & Co
Address: 13, Rue el Bosta (Rue de la Poste)
Manager: Mohamed Amin Fayed
Notes: Importing of foreign films


Company Name: Tommy Christo & Co
Address: 1, Rue Degla, Ramleh Station, Alexandria
Manager: T. Christo
Notes: Disribution of foreign films in Egypt and other African Countries

Company Name: Segouna & CO
Address: 36, Rue Sidi el Metwalli, Alexandria
Manager: Adriano Segouna
Notes: Distribution of foreign films in Egypt & Sudan


Company Name: Giada Films
Address: 37, Rue Fouad, Alexandria
Manager: Mario Fergara
Notes: Distribution of Italian films in Egypt and Sudan

Company Name: Capitol Films
Address: 10, Rue Saint Saba
Manager: Edward Sag'an

Click here for a rough estimate of the production cost of an Egyptian film in the 1950s.