Egyptian films about design, craftsmanship and artistry are the centrepiece of an online summer programme launched by Cinema Akil and Warehouse421.
The event, running until September 16, is being held in collaboration with Cairo design film festival Film My Design. It comprises screenings, talks, Q&As and essays. Pre-recorded conversations with filmmakers and directors will also be shown.
The programme can be accessed through the Warehouse421 website. Film screenings are only available to viewers in the GCC. All other content is available worldwide.
Here are the design-centric films being shown during the six-week summer program:
‘Beyond the Factory’ (2017)
Initially released as a 20-part docuseries, produced by online Egyptian newspaper Mada Masr, this feature-length documentary delves into the world of designers, craftspeople, creators and artisans – many of whom are the last remaining in their trade in Egypt. Beyond the Factory is an homage to the art of craft and the people who dedicate their lives to its perfection, from weavers to zincographers, saddlers to tarboush-makers.
‘Patterns from the Sun’ (2019)
This is a documentary by Muhammad Taymour that follows Noha and Nayera, two designers from Cairo who are developing a new cloth-printing technique called Cyanotype. The co-founders of the Blue++ Studio embark on a challenging journey across the Sinai as part of their process. The two rely on the sunlight of the Sinai to create unique, naturally printed patterns. The film, experimental in form, documents a creative trek across the breathtaking Sinai Trail.
‘Where did Ramses Go?’ (2019)
Filmmaker Amr Bayoumi recalls documenting, with his personal camera in 2006, the journey of the statue of Ramses II as it travelled from Ramses Square to its new home in the Grand Egyptian Museum. The move took more than 12 hours and was the largest transfer process the citizens of Cairo had witnessed. Inspired by this journey, Bayoumi tells his life story with the event as the backdrop, as he explores his relationship with his father.
‘The White Hell’ (2019)
This 15-minute documentary explores the abysmal working conditions in a 300-square-kilometre limestone quarry in Egypt. More than 35,000 workers navigate clouds of smothering white dust all day, suffering through inhumane working conditions for a daily salary of $3 to $4. The White Hell was nominated for the International Prize for Mediterranean Documentary and Reportage (PriMed) last year.
A four-chapter documentary produced by Cairopolitan – a design concept store and art gallery – the series explores the practical details of contemporary life in Cairo, taking a look into four everyday objects that carry the spirit of the city. Directed by Aly Soliman, the documentary aims to show that the spirit of the city is not only in its pharaonic history, but also the multifarious subcultures that have made their home in Cairo.
More information is available at warehouse421.ae