Monday, December 24, 2012

The First Fan

Few days ago, a guy called "Mahmoud Radi" posted a note on facebook in Arabic. The note summarizes everything we did or thought of while making this film in the past two years. It's like Mahmoud was with us in every step. We are really happy for all this effort Mahmoud has put in writing this note. For the first time we feel that we have a fan for the film. This is why we would like to thank Mahmoud Radi; the film's first fad and thank him for his effort, time and devotion. We all hope he likes the film when he watches it eventually.

Mahmoud Radi's note on facebook

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Trailer

FINALLLLLLLLY we have a trailer :) Please check it and tell us what you think.

Friday, December 14, 2012


Since the beginning we've decided to make this film ourselves and to finish it no matter what happens and since it's our first feature film, we knew it was hard to find production in the early stages so we went through development, pre-production and production with almost a zero budget and a lot of people really helped us to be where we are right now. When we finished shooting and having a rough cut, we thought we should apply for post-production funds or grants for so many reasons. First to finish the film the way we want it with the quality we want but can't afford. Second to finish it on time without having as a problem. Last but not least to learn more about writing proposals and applications, making budgets, pitching, ... etc. We've learned a lot making this film. The 6 of us had a filmmaking workshop but we learned almost everything in this film not in the workshop so it was important to have this experience part of the learning process. 

Since June we've been applying to all the possible grants and finishing funds like Cinereach, Doha, Hubert Bals, San Sebastian & AFAC film grants. Today we've just known the results of AFAC film grant and that the project was not accepted. It was our last hope after being rejected in all the previous grants. We really thought that applying for a finishing or post-production fund was easy but apparently we were so wrong. Today we all met and everybody was disappointed but Nermeen for sure :) so we decided not to waste more time or effort applying or waiting for other grants and that we should have a final cut by January 12th and then we'll work on color correction, audio mixing, music ... etc

A screen shot for the e-mail of rejection from Cinereach 2012

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


On October 16th, 2012 Mayye has received an e-mail saying that the film is accepted in the Producers' Network in Carthage Film Festival. She was very excited but she was not in Egypt at that time so the best way to tell the good news was to have a conference call on skype :) We were very happy as we've been sending the project to different places and always get rejected. This was the first time to be accepted so you can imagine how happy we were :)

All of us in a conference call on skype

Someone from us had to travel so Mayye was chosen BUT this meant that we have to pitch the project. No one of us has ever pitched any project and some of us never even heard of the word "pitching" but we thought it's a good opportunity for us and the film. It's part of the learning process we started by making this film. Mohamad El Hadidi and Ahmed Magdy were busy in finishing Hadidi's short film to screen in it on November 11th. 

Due to many things a week before the festival, Mayye wasn't able to travel so we had to ask the festival if it's possible to let someone else to travel but unfortunately it was too late. Mayye had to travel because the worst pitching she'll ever give will be better than none. In 4 days we had to figure out what to say, make a handmade book, burn many many dvds and print a lot of documents and of course you know that printers and dvd writers don't like this so they of course they have carshed !!

Mohamad El-Hadidi had to translate some documents to French so the film's title became "La Chambre des Souris" which sounds very funny. Anyway FINALLY I made it to Tunisia and it was such a great feeling to find The Mice Room in the festival's catalogue.

The project's description in the festival's catalogue

Right now I'm waiting for my turn to pitch the project so I thought I should kill the time by writing this post :)

My POV in the pitching room

Monday, November 19, 2012


Since the beginning of this project Ahmed Magdy was the most devoted as well as his car "Golfedan". We all have been using it during the different phases of this film and by looking at the different pictures in the past 3 or 4 years we can see it got older and older just like us. This is why we are very thankful Golfedan.. Thank you Ahmed Magdy so much.. Thank you Golfedan so much :)

Before getting the car mount we were using Golfedan in shooting shots just as much as after getting it. We used it in shooting, giving some cast and crew rides, delivering production stuff,... etc. Not to mention that Golfedan is also starring in the movie and it's one of Mohamad El Hadidi's favorite places to sleep in.

Golfedan looking good in a shot in the movie

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Hadidi's Dream

Last week Mohamad El Hadidi gathered us all to tell us about a dream he had about the film. Since we know that maybe a year later we'll check to this blog, read all these memories about the film and just laugh, I thought I should write this one fine dream down here and share it with you :) The dream starts with the 6 of us wearing the prison uniform. Not the black and white striped uniform but the Egyptian blue one. There were lots of people around us doing nothing but hitting and beating us. And among them there was the film's producer Mark Lotfy, asking them to beat us even more. Despite we were all defenseless and really in pain, Nermeen Salem was just laughing as usual while Mohamed Zidan was all in tears. As we say in Egypt, next time Hadidi please make sure to be covered well before going to bed or in other words sleep tight !!

Ahmed Ragab is posing to take a picture with Mohamad El Hadidi

Mohamed Zidan decided to sleep as well

A priceless picture with Mohamad El Hadidi

These photos are taken from a video where Mohamad El Hadidi is sleeping while we were shooting Hend Bakr's segment "The Girl" last year in June 2011. We were inside a mosque trying to be as quiet as possible when suddenly we heard someone snoring and there was Hadidi in the middle of the mosque falling asleep and making all this music.

Making The Dolly

Ahmed Zayan, Islam El Tayeb, Kirllos Yousif, Mahmoud Fawzy & Sameh Nabil THANK YOU

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Anna Drubich: Our Music Composer

Since we are in post production now we had to think about music. We believe it is the most important thing to put everything right together and create a certain mood for the whole film. We started looking for music composers in Alexandria first but we couldn't find someone that we all like or someone who is interested in working on more than one segment or two. Then we decided to look for a music composer through the internet. Everybody thought that we have no chance but I believed that we should give it a try. We checked the USC scoring for motion pictures and television program, listened to some great work and totally fell in love with Anna Drubich's work. Anna is a Russian music composer who studied in the US and won several awards in major festivals in Russia. She was our first choice and we were really really lucky when she accepted working with us. We were even more lucky to know that she is volunteering like the rest of us and the whole crew and cast. We sent her the rough cut and now we are working together on the music. It's another dream coming true. Of course we can't find a better way to communicate than Skype and today we had our first video call. God bless the internet, Google and Skype :)

Talking about the film's music in a video call with Anna Drubich

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Editing Workshop

Trying to edit on paper first

Since I came back from the US, we've been editing, editing and editing. Islam Kamal is the main editor but we are all having what you can call an editing workshop. We wrote and directed this film as well as working in each other's segments as DOPs, ADs, Production managers, ... etc, you name it. This film was, is and will always be the most important learning process we've ever had. It's not only a film we are making but a workshop for all aspects of filmmaking we need to learn more about. This is why we decided to have an editing workshop before letting Islam Kamal start his job. Since June 7th, we've been meeting every Monday and Friday at 12 p.m.

Everybody is pretending to be serious infront of the camera

Ahmed Magdy is always ready with his small notebook, tissues and a bottle of water

The film has changed a lot since 2010 when we started writing it and we've changed a lot ourselves as well so editing it the 6 of us together is not an easy task. We finished the rough cut and now we are working on the final edit, the sound design and the music. Then Islam Kamal will take over and put everything right together. What we are really afraid of is that when people watch this film, they feel they are watching 6 short films not one film having 6 segments !!

Hend Bakr is discussing with us the new ideas she has for the film

Friday, May 18, 2012


Only when there are 10 days left till I go back to Egypt, I find out that we are almost done with editing the whole film. I was so excited that I decided to share with you some pictures of the timeline :)

Friday, March 16, 2012

There was a MOUSE in the ROOM

Today we all met to discuss what are we going to do next in our film. Because I "Mayye" am in the US right now we had to have the meeting through skype. We did a lot of progress in editing as we are very close of having a rough cut for the whole film. Unfortunately the hard drive where the footage of "Dahlia" and "Rawya" are has some problems. And since we ran out of money as usual we can't even afford buying a new one.  Anyway we decided that it's time to apply for a fund to help us finish the movie but to apply for a fund we have to have a trailer and to write down some documents in both Arabic and English. We all agreed to the following schedule to work on that.

March 21st: Mohamad El Hadidi and Mohamed Zidan will start making the trailer.
March 23rd: Ahmed Magdy will shoot some remaining shots in "Amr".
March 27th: The trailer will be finished.
March 30th: Mohamed Zidan will shoot some remaining shots in "Rawya".
March 31st: Hend Bakr will finish writing all the needed documents.
April 3rd: Mohamad El Hadidi and Mohamed Zidan will make the budget.

Nermeen Salem, Ahmed Ragab, Mohamad El Hadidi, Ahmed Magdy, Mohamed Zidan in a video call with Mayye Zayed

Hend Bakr was a bit late but she joined us later and right before she arrived a mouse came inside the room. Ofcourse everybody was afraid and ran outside leaving Mohamed Zidan and Ahmed Magdy to take care of it. I was watching the whole thing through skype and it was really funny to see both of them trying to find the little poor mouse. So yeah there was a mouse in the room literally !! We don't know if it's a good or a bad sign and we are wondering if we should keep the name or change it. Some of us like Nermeen Salem really hates the name "The Mice Room".

Monday, February 20, 2012


In January 2012 we started editing FINALLY and 2 days ago we finished the first rough cut of Ahmed Magdy's segment "Amr". At the beginning we were planning to edit the film or the different segments ourselves but then we realized that it would be much better for the film to be edited by someone with fresh eyes; someone who hasn't been there since the beginning during screenwriting or preparation or shooting. We wanted to have only one person to edit the film but it was hard to find someone who is available all that long time. This is why we decided to have more than one editor working together. Right now Islam Kamal is working on 2 segments "Rawya" and then later "Maha", Nada Riyadh is working on 2 segments as well "Amr" and "Moussa" while Mark Lotfy is only editing "The Girl" so as Mohamed Zidan and "Dahlia". On February 7th, 2012 Nada finished the first rough cut for "Amr" so now she's working on "Moussa". 

Mohamed Zidan while editing Mayye's segment "Dahlia"

We are not 7 anymore !!

Unfortunately in January 2012 we had to take a hard decision which is to start the process of editing without "Hassan"; the segment written and directed by Mahmoud. Mahmoud was the 2nd one to shoot his segment in November 2010 but due to many obstacles he couldn't finish shooting it. We were planning to be done with shooting and start with editing or post production in general in July 2011 but due to the revolution and financial issues we were delayed to January 2012 so we decided that it's best for the film to start editing without Mahmoud even though we were sad to do so.

Friday, January 6, 2012

End of Shooting

On January 3rd, 2012 we finally finished shooting our film "The Mice Room" after 1 year, 4 months and 18 days and now we are working in post production. We really would like to thank all the people who helped us all the way. Without you we couldn't make it so THANK YOU :)

The 6th Segment "Amr"

On Friday, December 23rd, 2011 we started shooting the last segment "AMR" starring Zeyad Salem as Amr. Ahmed El Shazly was the Assistant Director but since he got a new job in Cairo he couldn't be available all the time of shooting so Ahmed Nabil became the Assistant Director. Mayye Zayed is still abroad. yet, she offered to work on this segment via Skype but no one believed that could work. All of us except Mayye for sure were there to help and this unfortunately costed Hend her new laptop. Someone came in to the hospital where they were shooting, took the laptop in front of everybody and just left. The people in the hospital thought he was one of the film's crew and whoever was there from the film's crew thought he was someone from the hospital !!

Sameh Nabil is enjoying what he's listening to

Sameh Nabil is wishing everybody a Merry Christmas

Finally there is a lady on set

Zeyad Salem is no longer Amr

The 5th Segment "Rawya"

Mohamed Zedan and Islam Kamal trying to find the perfect frame

The 5th segment was shot in August 2011. The great Hanan Youssef has agreed to play the main character "Rawya" in it. Hanan has met the 6 filmmakers in the independent filmmaking workshop in the Jesuits Centre and on location in Ibrahim's El Batout's feature "Hawi". One of the film's main rules was to have the main crew members like the DP, assistant director, .. etc from the 6 filmmakers themselves, in order to increase their chance of learning. However this rule was broken when Mayye Zayed has travelled abroad to study. She was supposed to be the DP for this segment as planned, but since she won't make it, Islam Kamal was chosen to do it.

Nada Riyadh is praying Islam Kamal won't fall

Sameh Nabil finds his perfect spot to record sound

The house where "Rawya" takes place is a very old house. Since the floor is really old and not stable enough for the dolly we have, we had to build a stable wooden floor ourselves for the dolly's rubber tracks. It was either this solution or buying a new dolly with steel tracks, not to mention we are borrowing this dolly from Ibrahim El Batout :) We also wanted to have a shot from outside the kitchen so we had to build another wooden thing for the camera to be fixed on. Ahmad Zayan and Islam El Tayeb were the great guys who did these two jobs, building the wooden tracks and the camera's stand from scratch. Thank you guys :)

Mohamed Zedan and Islam Kamal testing the new dolly tracks

The wooden camera's stand

You can check the video here :)
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