Egypt started producing silent films in the 1890s, with 1927's Layla being the first full-length feature film. Cairo's film industry has been a regional force since sound was introduced in the 1930s. With more than 4000 films produced in Egypt, roughly three quarters of the total Arab production, it has been dubbed the Hollywood of the Middle East.
In the seventies many Arab directors such as Syrian American Moustapha Akkad, who directed the renowned film The Message, rose to fame. Today there are many famous Arab directors such as Nadine Labaki, Hany Abu Assad and Haifa Al-Mansour.
One of the premier Arab directors is Youssef Chahine. He started his career in the 1950s and died in the late 2000s. He studied at Alexandria's Victoria College and then at the Pasadena Playhouse in Los Angeles, Hollywood.
He won the Cannes Film Festival lifetime achievement award in 1997. He also launched the careers of many actors and actresses including Omar Sharif. After his death he was also honored BY BAFTA for his contribution to film.
His notable films include; Destiny, The immigrant, Alexandria.. again and forever, An Egyptian Tale, Return of The Prodigal Son, Adieu Bonaparte and The Sixth Day (starring Dalida).