Awarded films and projects: Degrees of Incarceration (Palestine), Coffee Futures (Turkey), Mafrouza (Egypt), and Intifadat Intifadat (Egypt)
Distinguished films from Egypt, Palestine and Turkey received awards during the closing ceremony of the Cairo Documentary Festival, held by the American University in Cairo from March 20 to 26. The awarded films and projects are Degrees of Incarceration (Palestine), Coffee Futures (Turkey), Mafrouza (Egypt), and Intifadat Intifadat (Egypt).
Degrees of Incarceration, by Amahl Bishara and Nidal AI-Azraq, won the Audience Award. It addresses the heavy toll of Israeli occupation on Palestinian refugees and how society deals with this issue; Coffee Futures by Zeynep Devrim Giirsel, won the Neighboring Nations Award. It tells the story of Turkey's decades-long attempt to become a member of the European Union, in which predictions made by politicians are juxtaposed with the practices of coffee fortune-telling; Mafrouza by Emmanuelle Demoris, won the Egypt Rising Award for the portrayal of the daily struggles of residents of the Mafrouza neighborhood of Alexandria; and Intifadat Intifadat, a collective of filmmakers, won the Streaming the Revolution Award, which focuses on Egypt’s January 25th revolution, for three videos they submitted. The prize was accepted by Jasminah Metwaly. In addition to awards, the last day of the festival featured documentaries on Egypt’s January 25th revolution and a series of short Internet-based films. Closing day events also included a panel discussion on the challenges of documenting revolution in real time led by Khaled Fahmy, AUC’s chair of the Department of History and historian; Hamid Naficy, film scholar at Northwestern University; Mohamed Samir, Philip Rizk, and Nadia Kamel, independent filmmakers; and Yasmin Moll, NYU anthropologist. Additionally, a keynote lecture by Naficy, “Internet Cinema -Iran,” discussed the role of undergroundfilms and Internet cinema in influencing the political sphere in Iran.
Organized by the university’s Department of Sociology, Anthropology, Psychology, and Egyptology under the theme “Egypt Rising,” the festival featured a wide range of films from different countries in the region that tackle Egyptian, Palestinian and Iranian issues, as well as other interesting documentaries from Turkey, and Sudan.
Among the festival’s featured documentaries were: Garbage Dreams, highlighting the lives of three teenagers living in the world’s largest garbage village, Zaballeen; Camelrama, an experimental travel film; Walls, the Turkish experience after the fall of the Berlin Wall; Fashioning Faith, which tackles the topic of Islamic fashions in New York city; Still, which explores tensions in Cyprus; and Imperial Outposts, that examines the history of U.S. military bases in Turkey. Also, the festival included two films on Iranian political consciousness, Plastic Flowers Never Die and Iran: Voices of the Unheard.
“Throughout the festival, audiences have been expressing their appreciation for the chance to watch good-quality documentaries,” said Mark Westmoreland, AUC professor of anthropology, documentary filmmaker and the festival’s director. Westmoreland is eagerly anticipating next year’s festival, suggesting that it may focus on the revolutions happening in the Middle East, “especially that some filmmakers have already started their revolution-themed films,” he said.
More information on the festival can be obtained from the festival’s website: http://aucdocfest.blogspot.com/