News / Arts & Entertainment

Egyptian Films Dominate US Film Festival

11 movies from Arab world spotlighted

The first film about Egypt's revolution is one of eleven movies from the Arab world captivating audiences at the Arabian Sights festival.

Now in its 16th year, the event is presented annually by the Washington DC International Film Festival.

This year's spotlight is on Egyptian cinema. The five featured films from Egypt cut across a variety of genres and subjects, including the American premiere of “18 Days,” about the January revolution.   

'18 Days'


The movie is a compilation of 10 short films by 10 different Egyptian directors.  

Each short offers a unique perspective on the historic events that unfolded during the 18 days that changed the course of Egypt’s history.

"18 Days," a film about Egypt's revolution, features the collective work of 10 directors.
"18 Days," a film about Egypt's revolution, features the collective work of 10 directors.

Shirin Ghareeb, the festival’s director and programmer, says the 10 stories are all different from one another, reflecting the director’s unique view of the Egyptian revolution.

“It’s a mixture of narrative and fact and at the same time reflecting what was going on in the streets on those very days.”

'Microphone'

Another highlight at the festival was “Microphone,” an award-winning docudrama offering a close look at the underground art and music scene in Alexandria, Egypt, just before the revolution.

Rock, hip hop and fusion are among the music genres portrayed in the film.

For the first time, Ghareeb says, young artists had a voice. “This is a part of the population that you never read about in newspapers, they’re never on the radio, they’re never interviewed on TV…you never hear their voice.”

However, "Microphone," which was made before the revolution, “gave them this outlet. But it was representative of a much wider group of young people that really represent the revolution,” she says.

Award-winning actor Khaled Abol Naga coproduced and stars in “Microphone,” a film which explores the underground art and music scene in Alexandria, Egypt, just before the 2011 revolution.
Award-winning actor Khaled Abol Naga coproduced and stars in “Microphone,” a film which explores the underground art and music scene in Alexandria, Egypt, just before the 2011 revolution.

In retrospect, according to lead actor and co-producer Khaled Abol Naga, the film was a precursor to the revolution. But that wasn't evident when the film was being made.

"When we made the movie, we had no idea. We didn't really call for a revolution," says  Abol Naga. "We didn't even think there would be a revolution. The movie is called "Microphone" because it’s giving a microphone to be heard. We’re trying to get those voices out. It's an underground scene before the revolution.”

A new age

Abol Naga was active in the uprising which saw the overthrow of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. He says what was once underground is now above ground. And what was above ground, the regime, is now under.

"The power of the people is finally, is becoming equal or maybe even stronger than the people in power. Any group of people feeling they are discriminated against, they don't have rights, now they have the means, in this new age we're just entering, to actually have enough power to topple or challenge the people in power…and that's changing all over the world," he says.

Abol Naga acknowledges there are obstacles to overcome, especially Egypt's military.

"Yes, we have now a horrible, horrible military dictatorship. Two days ago, they actually detained bloggers, because? You can't imagine the audacity of the crime. They criticized the military. That's a crime now."

But Abol Naga and festival director Ghareeb are optimistic that freedom will ultimately prevail.

“The revolution has created a sense of freedom, and this freedom is going to be illustrated in the creativity that’s going to come out in the films and I think the impact is going to be huge," Ghareeb says.

Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

At International AIDS Conference One Goal, Many Paths

The 12,000 delegates attending 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne have vastly different visions about how to eradicate disease More

Disasters May Doom Malaysia’s Flag Carrier

Even before loss of two jets loaded with passengers on international flights, company had been operating in red for three years, accumulating deficit of $1.3 billion More

Afghan Presidential Vote Audit Continues Despite Glitches

Process has been marred by walkouts by representatives of two competing candidates, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Agei
X
Elizabeth Lee
July 20, 2014 2:36 AM
Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.
Video

Video Diplomatic Crisis Grows Over MH17 Plane Crash

The Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine is drawing reaction from leaders around the world. With suspicions growing that a surface-to-air missile shot down the aircraft, there are increasing tensions in the international community over who is to blame. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Undocumented Immigrants Face Perilous Journey to US, No Guarantees

Every day, hundreds of undocumented immigrants from Central America attempt the arduous journey through Mexico and turn themselves over to U.S. border patrol -- with the hope that they will not be turned away. But the dangers they face along the way are many, and as Ramon Taylor reports from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, their fate rests on more than just the reception they get at the US border.
Video

Video Scientists Create Blackest Material Ever

Of all the black things in the universe only the infamous "black holes" are so black that not even a tiny amount of light can bounce back. But scientists have managed to create material almost as black, and it has enormous potential use. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Fog Collector Transforming Maasai Water Harvesting in Kenya

The Maasai people of Kenya are known for their cattle-herding, nomadic lifestyle. But it's an existence that depends on access to adequate water for their herds and flocks. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA, on a "fog collector."

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

Soul Lounge

New Orleans-based Water Seed joins Shawna Renee inside the "Soul Lounge" where they introduce listeners to their latest album, a wonderful fusion of jazz, soul and rhythm & blues. The group also explains how the heart of New Orleans influences each of them as musicians and songwriters.