For a couple of years now I have become more and more interested in filmmaking. I think, the first film I was very passionate about and almost obsessed with, was “Fight Club”. It was, when I saw that film at age 13, that I started wanting to be able to make something like that myself.
When I found out about the director Maya Deren, I also started getting more interested in film theory and history. I love the old black and white silent films and I learned about how to use film in a way that allows you to do what only film can do. That means, not just translating literature into pictures, but using movement and transformation in a way that neither photography nor language is capable of doing.
I would say, my favorite part about making a film is editing. When you finally have all the material on your computer and you have a nice cup of coffee and a lot of time in front of you. And then you just see how, bit by bit, the scenes you filmed, that have hardly any significance on their own, develop and combine into a coherent entity of moving images.
Even though I never got really professional about it, I am trying to make it part of my journalistic and artistic work. Please enjoy, criticise and comment on the following selection of short films.
Cultural Center for Young Egyptians in Matariyya, Cairo
This is a little film I made about an architectural and cultural project on a rooftop in Matariyya, Cairo.
I spent some time there helping with the project and wanted to make a documentary that grasps the positive atmosphere that I felt when I was on that roof… to maybe give some hope for Egypt in times like these where all we see are two old systems battling eachother. Because there is not just that. There are also young people who hang out together, no matter how much of their hair or face they show. There are girls and boys joking around together debating society’s gender stereotypes. There are teenagers who are eager to express themselves as well as ready to listen to others.
The group in this video is like a microcosm of what Egyptian society should be like, if we really want to change the future of this country. And that is why they need space to unfold. If you like what you see, feel free to ask for more information, visit the website of Mayadin al Tahrir or sponsor some wood for the construction (:
Recycling 20 Million – The inofficial garbage collectors of Cairo
This is my first documentary made in 2010 and 2011. It is about the inofficial garbage collectors of Cairo, their difficult living conditions, their problems with the government, their amazing recycling achievements, an organisation that supports them and the general attitude towards waste disposal in Egypt.
This is a short film that I made while writing a thesis about above mentioned Maya Deren. Just reading about her work and the ideas behind her films inspired me more than anything else. What I love most about her theories is her idea of the female film: she claims that while the male is a now-creature the female is made for waiting and for developing (as she, for example, carries a baby in her body for 9 months) and therefore Maya Deren’s films include lots of match cuts, where a movement starts in one place and continues into a different place without any disruption. This is one of different ways she uses (and I used in this film) to play with time and to do what only the medium film is capable of doing.
I made this film when I was in Beijing in 2009. The word “Fernweh” is German for “wanderlust” and is also the name of one of my favorite songs, the soundtrack to this film. I tried to edit the images according to the rhythm of the song.
This film is about the Annafest, something like a much smaller version of the Oktoberfest. It takes place every summer for one week in my hometown. The video contains some German language but a lot of it is just images. Basically… I hate this festival, because it is full of drunk, noisy, huge crowds. Only when I looked at everything through the lense of my camera, I did not get terribly annoyed by what was going on around me.
This was the first film I made in 2008. Looking at it now, I find sooo many mistakes in it but that probably always happens when you look back on something you did a longer time ago. However, there are still parts in it that I do like, so just see for yourself.