Saturday, November 22, 2008

Human Rights Film Festival in Um ad Dunya

As you all know , the 32nd Cairo International Film Festival is taking place in Cairo , this week, but a much more interesting development is The first Cairo Human Rights Film Festival, that begins today, as part of the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights around the Globe, culminating on December 10th, the day of the original signing of the most important of all U.N documents.

This is the first such festival in Egypt, if i´m not totally wrong , but Human Rights Film Festivals is not a new phenomena, the Human Rights Watch has held a festival on the same theme for years, and earlier this year the Arab Gulf had it´s first in the form of the first Bahrain Human Rights International Film Festival took place in Manama.

The Cairo Human Rights Film Festival is organized by the American Islamic Congress and it´s Middle East Director Dalia Ziada in partnership with the Hisham Mubarak Law Center, Ibn Khaldoun Center for Development and the New Woman Foundation and will feature seven films in an equal amount of days.

The opening film is Democracy in Dakar, on the impact of youth culture in the political context of Senegal´s Presidential election in 2007, Tomorrow follows the Egyptian film Guáwa al Shabaka about the internet freedom, or lack there off and blogging for human rights in Egypt, feauturing Gamal Eid, Noha Atef, Abd al Moneim Mahmoud, Ahmed Maher, Muhammad Gamal and others, directed by Mahmoud Saber and created by Muhammed Gamal.

Among the other films is Stephen Johnson´s animated film from 1988, explaining the 30 articles of the UDHR(view it here, in 31 different languages, arabic being one of them here.

The final film is the Egyptian classic al bab al Maftouh, based on Latifa al Zayyat´s novel, portraying Laila, played on screen by the legendary actress Faten Hamama. Laila, of course, being as important today , as when it was first published, has been an inspiration for the Egyptian blogger project , Kolena Laila.

Three other films are also part of the festival, The Elders, A force more powerful and Confronting the truth.

All the films are followed by seminars, and all are free of charge. The schedule is available here.

For those who can´t join the festival, you can view the film Guawa al Shabaka below(via Sami Ben Gharbeia). Thanks to Dalia Ziada and the AIC for this very good iniative.I also agree with Dalia, that this is a splendid way of celebrating the mother of all declarations, here, were the cradle of civilization once had it´s humble beginning , at least with Egycentric eyes.

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Blogger Dalia Ziada said...

Dear Ibn Ad Duniya,

Thank you so much for writing about our festival :)

Actually, we are so proud that the first human rights film festival ever is taking place in Egypt. The best part about our festival is that we are independent and we are totally depending on ourselves in terms with funding and organizing the event. In other words, we are not affiliated to any government or regime unlike the Bahrain Human Rights Film Festival. Moreover, the Bahrain Human Rights Film Festival will take place next May, 2009. This means that Um Ad Dunya is always the pioneer in the region :)

Thanks again for this post and for your very interesting blog.

-Dalia Ziada

1:54 PM  
Blogger Marwa Rakha said...

Thank you:)

9:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting to see!

9:51 PM  
Blogger Ibn ad Dunya said...

Dear Dalia,

It was my pleasure, and i´m the one who should be thankful towards you and all that have been involved in making this come true. You are the pioneer!

Yes, You´re independent, unlike the Bahrain festival, the result being that you could screen Gua´wa al Shabaka for instance, while the organizers of the Bahrainian festival, under the patronage of King Hamed, and with the main sponsor being the social development ministry of Bahrain, chose not to screen any films about Bahrainian topics.

If this will change in the future, is an open question. The UNDP has decided to strenghten their co-operation with the festival, though it seems likely that the patronage of the king and the main sponsorship from the ministry will continue.

The outcome might perhaps be something like the al Jazeera and state sponsored saudi Arab Press phenomena - meaning great coverage on international human rights issues, but none whatsoever on Bahraini issues. A disturbing continuing trend if that is the case.

Dear Marwa,

You´re more than welcome!

The same goes for you, you´re also a pioneer! Keep up the great work!

Dear Garbo,

Long time no see on Fustat, but that is part and parcel of the mysterious image, the name grants you! Yes we can!

1:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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4:58 AM  

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