A young Egyptian director has started a crowd-funding initiative on the popular site Gimme Your Cash So I Can Be Famous to raise funds to make the documentary Khawagat in Egypt (Foreigners in Egypt). The project has been up for two weeks and has so far raised $37 of the total of $ 575,000 the filmmaker believes he will need to produce the 12 and a half minute documentary.
“We have been hearing about the role of foreigners in our country from different leaders for some time now and that made me wonder who they are and what they are doing,” Mo, the director, said. “I felt it was time to document the truth and show it to the world.”
This will be Mo’s directorial debut but he is confident in his own abilities. “I have made some videos with my phone and these days that is all you need,” he said.
Mo decided to start his project with doing the research and found it was not without danger. “I have been to several bars and clubs in Cairo to look at foreigners,” Mo said. “Surprisingly enough they did not take that too well, even after I explained why I was lurking and listening to their conversations.”
One evening ended with him being removed forcibly by the bouncers and on another occasion a drink got thrown in his face. “I asked a girl with blond hair how long she had been in Egypt and what she did here but she turned out to be Egyptian. When I told her never mind she got offended and threw her drink at me,” Mo said. “Of course I do not mind suffering for my art but it was one of those girly, red cocktaily ones and it really stained my shirt so I was quite upset.”
So far the research has shown that areas like Maadi and Zamalek are hotbeds of foreigners, and that the price of food and drinks is therefore a lot higher. “The people that work for NGOs or teach in schools tend to visit the more upmarket places in their neighbourhoods,” Mo explained. “The foreign students who are here for a semester tend to hang out in the cheaper and more dingy places in Downtown though. My research shows that they do not do this for lack of funds, because they have more than enough money, but it makes them feel like they are living the local life. Horreya is one of their favourite hangouts, you will always find earnest young white girls passionately debating art and politics with whomever they can buy a beer for.”
Mo’s planned research will include trips to several destinations in Sinai and Hurghada, El Gouna and Marsa Alam. “I am going to visit one of the camps close to Nuweiba during Easter because it is cheap and I can afford it,” Mo said. “I expect lots of foreigners to be there and it will be a good opportunity to get to know them during the drum circles and talk to them around the fires at night. I am bringing my tabla.”
When asked if he is worried that only a small amount of money has been currently pledged Mo said: “Up to now my mother and sister have pledged money and this should pay for my bus ticket to Sinai. I hope more will come in soon because the summer will start soon and if I cannot travel around I have no idea what I will do with my time.”