Friday, 17 September 2010

Welcome to the Cairo Documentary Festival - Focus on Egypt and the Middle East!

Now in our third year, the American University in Cairo will host a documentary film festival between March 20-26, 2011 at it's Tahrir Square and New Cairo Campuses. Organized by the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, Psychology, and Egyptology, earlier editions of the festival featured ethnographic films and social documentaries from around the world. 

The Tahrir campus will host two programs – Egypt Rising, featuring numerous Egyptian documentaries and critical discussions, and Neighboring Nations, featuring films from Turkey, Palestine, Iran, and beyond.

EGYPT RISING: Featuring films that address contemporary cultural movements and social sentiments across the Egyptian landscape. Beginning on March 20, Egypt Rising 1: Dawning Faces hosts three feature-length documentaries by up and coming filmmakers: Stories of al Fagallah, Garbage Dreams, and Beit Sha'ar- Nomads Home. On March 24, we will host the Egypt Rising 2: Documentary Rising program with a series of nine short videos that paint a picture of Egyptians poised for change, ready to throw off the heavy legacies of the past. We see people demanding their rights to hope and engage in civic purpose. Following an Egypt Rising Reception, the Egypt Rising 3: Remembering Tahrir Square will feature Tahani Rached's Neighbors (Giran).

Saturday, March 26, includes a panel discussion, Egypt Rising 4: Documenting in Revolutionary Times, among filmmakers, scholars, and activists about the intersection of social justice, new technology, and the politics of aesthetics. The panel will explore ways that contemporary documentary efforts can address the current state of social unrest in Egypt and across the region. In an effort to capture the present moment of Egypt Rising, our Egypt Rising 5: Streaming the Revolution program includes a series of short, internet-based videos about the events around the January 25th Revolution. After the closing ceremony, the Egypt Rising 6: Expanding the Horizon program features the first part of the 12-hour Mafrouza series by Emmanuelle Demoris. The rest of the series will be featured at other venues in Cairo and Alexandria after the Cairo Documentary Festival.

NEIGHBORING NATIONS: Dispensing with typical geo-political terminology to describe the region, while giving attention to documentaries near to the Egyptian experience. Neighboring Nations 1: Memories and Premonitions, on March 21, features several films reflective of the Turkish experience in Anatolia and beyond.

March 22 features two programs. Neighboring Nations 2: Unexpected Stories offers an eclectic combination of experimental travel films, an expose on Islamic fashions in New York, and an intimate look at the demise of the Jewish community in India. This is followed by the Neighboring Nations 3: State of Imprisonment program that focuses on the oppressive situation facing Palestinians. Degrees of Incarceration meditates on the widespread experience among West Bank men in Israeli prisons, while both Ticket From Azrael and Of Flesh and Blood focus on the situation in Gaza.

On March 24 we return for the the Neighboring Nations 4: Cultural Industry in Sudan with a look at traditional architectural design in Inscriptions on Rosewater and then diffusionist innovation in Sifinja – The Iron Bride. The program closes with Neighboring Nations 5: Iranian Body Politic, featuring a keynote address by renowned film scholar, Dr. Hamid Naficy, and two recent films about Iranian political consciousness. Plastic Flowers Never Die examines the commemoration of the Iranian martyrs and the social climate that sent millions to their deaths, while Iran: Voices of the Unheard presents a diverse set of contemporary views.

Five films have been Nominated for the Audience Award and will be featured on the New Campus Program. These include Sifinja – The Iron Bride (Sudan), Next Year in Bombay (India), Beit Sha'ar- Nomads Home (Egypt), Degrees of Incarceration (Palestine), and Iran: Voices of the Unheard (Iran).