Filming Revolution: a non-linear database project about filmmaking in Egypt since the Revolution
Alisa Lebow 

Filming Revolution is an interactive meta-documentary that has been produced and documented in Egypt since the Revolution, bringing together collective wisdom and creative strategies of media-makers in Egypt. [1] The visitor to the website is invited to engage with Egyptian filmmakers, artists, activists and archivists, discussing their ideas and how about (and whether) to make films in the time of revolution. 

 

This interactive archive does not attempt to provide a history of the revolution, nor does it attempt to an exhaustive chronicle of filmmaking in Egypt since 2011. The focus is on documentary and independent filmmaking and creative approaches to leading the Egyptian culture and society after the events of the revolution. This is the first time we have been working on filmmaking for the past two decades, and we have been working with them for many years. make sense of what it means to film in times of revolution.

 

Over thirty filmmakers, archivists, activists and artists were interviewed for this project in Cairo, the first in December 2013, the second in May-June 2014. The first set of interviews was made after a long and arduous military curfew was a result of The election of President Mohammad Morsi, he was elected to the presidency of the United Nations. He was elected President of the Republic of Iraq. and inauguration of President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi. In both cases, the spirits of the people were interviewed, and in relation to the political scene. As we have seen in Egypt and elsewhere, the revolution is not a singular event, nor does it happen in a matter of days. It is an on-going process that tends to be monitored in political terms.Even as the political classes work to reconsolidate their power, on the cultural level the power of creativity should not be underestimated.

 

There was so many spokesmen who were going to talk about what happened in the last decade. Some called it an uprising. Some called it a rebellion. Others still, called it a fiction. There is still a lot of work to be done in this area. I do not know what it is. In this project, we retain the notion of revolution even as it is often questioned and problematized by participants. At times it is referred to in terms of the initial 18 days of the occupation of Tahrir Square, at others, as an on-going condition, or unfinished project. These inconsistencies have not been sanitized, as these confusions are wrought by the situation as it is encountered. Is the revolution over? Was it ever a revolution?If so, has it failed or been utterly coopted? These are not questions for this website to answer. Instead, the website takes its cues from the insights of the interviewees, who represent a spectrum of opinions on the matter.

 

This is the first time I have been working on a project in the United States. For a film scholar such as myself, the temptation is to write a book, not only because that is my training, but because that is what is expected of me. I have been working on a project for more than a year. I have been working on a project for more than a year. I did not experience the events of the revolution, nor am I an expert in the Egyptian film. I do not speak Arabic, relying on translation and subtitles for my access to many of the films discussed. I preferred the position of the interlocutor, which is an amplified version of the web-based platform. My questions are answered in the form of a list of answers, which can be found here.My role as a producer or director is one of the facilitators, organizing the material in ways that can be accessed, searchable, allowing it to resonate on multiple levels.

 

Of course, the very fact that I am asking questions, conducting interviews, and organizing the material is a directorial hand. My questions, concerns, recurrent themes of inquiry find their way into the project, as exemplified in the unexpected category of first person / personal film, a subject upon which I have written extensively, yet not planned to pursue here. However, it was the material itself, the fact that so many of those interviewed seemed to be working on personal projects, which I had anticipated, that dictated this line of questioning. And about the lines of questions that I had planned to pursue, how about the revolutionary aesthetics, for instance, or about militant filmmaking, or about social networking,

 

I can say in good faith that it was an encounter with lively, committed, engaging filmmakers (I'm using the term to encompass a range of media making and identification). If I had preconceived ideas, I was generally disabused of them. If I had an agenda, it was usually rerouted to more interesting or relevant tracks. If I needed to, I would not have been able to do that. What I encountered in Egypt, in the midst of the very uncertain times, was that of people's exhaustion and profound disappointment, which seemed to be an infinite well-being of generosity-of-time, of ideas, of spirit. I have prepared myself for polite rejection,Because after all I came to them, I had so much blood on my headline events, so many allegiances were broken, so many from the West abandoning them for the new cause cause or craze. I expected people to be done talking, explaining, presenting, as if they were on show. And why should they have thought I'd be after anything different. I do not know if they will ever have been asked before. It was the first time they were thinking about these things that they were clearly dominated by their waking lives for the past 3-4 years, if not more. It was their spirit of dialogue, their magnanimity of time and energy that made me want to do more than an inquiry for my own edification.And my hope is that it will be used as well as all the others.

 

Given that I have worked on this website for about two years, I have been working on this project for over a hundred years. to yield a few initial insights that I can share. Following the threads of the interviews and the themes that emerged from them, I have identified three main issues related to independent filmmaking in Egypt since the revolution:

 

  • No Grand Theory : Like the revolution itself, and unlike most revolutionary filmmaking before it, there is no particular theory or methodology being proposed that might distinguish filmmaking of this period.
  • Resistance to Narrating the Revolution : Some of the filmmakers expressed a distinct disinclination towards the revolution or indeed, representing their events in any direct way.
  • First Person Filmmaking : When choosing to speak to the revolutionary, personal, subjective, filmmaking seems to be a preferred approach.

 

I have been studying for a long time. I have been studying for a long time. I have been studying for a long time. Also, I have given you the most recent revolutionary film movements.

 

Many of the people included in the Filming Revolution website do not know one another or one another's work. A few may have known in another movie school, or some resources, some have worked collectively or in partnerships for a long time, but many have not. There are overlapping circles, and there are also people and projects that I have not known before. Yet, interestingly trends have begun to emerge.

 

There are many ways to approach this subject, but it does not make sense for the website. It takes a lot of time,. It is not easy for me to understand what is happening in the Egyptian language, but I do not want to be able to do that. and rigidifying events that defy such easy (or reductive) interpretations.

 

In a move towards ADEQUATION of form and content, the Filming Revolution website attempts to match the open ended, counter-monumental, rhizomatic emergent structure of this revolution by translating it into an homologous platforms (non-linear, non-hierarchical, spatially and temporally open-ended) that loosely parallels the sentiments and the martial arts. Filmmaking Revolution functions as creative projects and creative resources. The filmmakers who participated in the momentous events of our day.

 

Filming Revolution is a great resource for anyone interested in the Egyptian documentary and filmmakers, who are undoubtedly and irrevocably related to their ultimate outcome. At present it is only available in English, which limits its reach quite dramatically, but given that it is a website. If you do not speak Arabic translation, we will give you everything you need in Arabic. We invite you to spend some time exploring this project: www.filmingrevolution.org .

 

 

[1] Filming Revolution was made with the support of a Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowship, as well as additional support from the University of Sussex School of Media, Film and Music.