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Sunday, August 15, 2010

When it all began

The idea of the film "Seven" is to make a collaborative digital feature film by 7 different filmmakers; Ahmed Magdy, Hend Bakr, Mahmoud El Soghiar (Or Houda as he likes to call himself), Mayye Zayed, Mohamad El Hadidi, Mohamed Zidan and Nermeen Salem, all coming from the Egyptian city Alexandria. We attended the one-year independent filmmaking workshop together in Jesuits Cultural Center in Alexandria in 2009/2010. We were 8 in the workshop but unfortunately Ahmed Abul Nasr couldn't be with us in this project from the beginning but he is a part of the crew. All the filmmakers and the rest of the crew and cast are volunteering and not being paid.
The Jesuits Cultural Center Independent Filmmaking Workshop 2009/2010

Mahmoud El Soghiar and Mohamed Zidan have just graduated this year from Law School while Ahmed Magdy and Mohamad El Hadidi are still students in it. Mohamad El Hadidi is a photographer who worked as a cameraman in "Hawi" feature film for Egyptian director "Ibrahim El Batout" and in other short films. Mohamed Zidan worked in several short films and in "Hawi as well. He worked as a DOP assistant in "Microphone" feature film for Egyptian director "Ahmed Abduallah". Hend Bakr has studied Arabic in El Azhar University and now she works as curator in "ACML" cultural office. She is a poet and a short story writer. Nermeen Salem is a teacher of English who graduated from the Linguistics and Translation Unit in Faculty of Arts. She took part in various theatrical performances before. Mayye Zayed has studied Electronics and Communications Engineering but she never worked as an engineer. She has attended many filmmaking, animation and video art workshops. She was also a part of the crew in "Hawi" feature film. Each one them has made two short films during the Jesuits filmmaking workshop, having the rest of the group as his/her crew. They've worked all together in the documentary film "Life in Alexandria".

The name "Seven" is a temporal namer until we come up with a more creative and better one. The idea is to have a film written, directed, shot and edited by the 7 filmmakers together. The film is divided into 7 segments or stories about 7 different characters connected together in a way or another to give us at the end a feature film called "Seven". Each segment is named after its main character. The film's main theme is fear with all its types but also there are some sub-themes like loneliness, death and family.

Alexandria doesn't have a film industry like Cairo so most of people wanting to be filmmakers just leave it to go to Cairo to start a career and the rest of them who stay in it are only making short films. We wanted to stay here and to even make a feature film with the help of all those film lovers in the city. What encouraged us was the fact that some of us worked in the digital feature film "Hawi" (or the Juggler) for the Egyptian filmmaker "Ibrahim El Batout" with almost a zero budget here in Alexandria. "Hawi" was made by a volunteering non professional crew and cast all from Alexandria only. Not only no money was paid for the cast and the crew but also the shooting locations and the equipments used in the film. The Hubert Bals Fund of the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) has selected "Hawi" among other twenty-nine projects that receive grants for script development, digital production, postproduction, distribution or workshops. "Hawi" recieved the postproduction & final financing fund and it is set to be released January 2011 at the Rotterdam International Film Festival, Netherlands, which is one of the most prestigious and influential international film festivals. So I guess witnessing such experience just gave us hope to make a film ourselves.

Behind the scenes of "Hawi"

You can know more details about "Hawi" in the following link:

We don't want to just make the film "Seven". We as a group are looking for more, as we've been discussing the possibility to have a small production company or a studio of our own. We're looking to invest the equipments we are going to buy to shoot "Seven" with, in this studio to make other future projects.

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