While Egypt's relationship to with the world of film is well documented, it's only in the last decade that the more experimental side of the art has found a real place here. One institution that has played apart in widening the field and its reach is Cairo Video Festival.

Now in its eighth edition, the festival aims to champion Egypt's underground filmmakers, while giving audiences in Cairo a gateway to the world's best experimental films. This year, screenings will take place at the French Institute and Downtown art house cinema, Zawya, while exhibitions will be held at organiser, Medrar, as well as 29 Hoda Shaarawy St.

Kicking off on February 5th with a live video performance piece at Rawabet Theatre, the three-and-half week span of the festival is shaping up to be a kaleidoscope of film, with everything from CGI and glitch-laden pieces, to video essays and poetry.

If there's any doubt about the importance of the festival, you needn't look further than the fact that the call for submission received over 2800 entries from across more than 100 countries. Only 85 were selected by a jury of Jeroen Kooijmans (Netherlands), Mohammad Shawky Hassan (Egypt) and Ghassan Salhab (Lebanon).

For more information about the 8th Cairo Video Festival, check out the Medrar on Facebook.

By Samar El Shams