The Sundance film Festival
Cairo - Marwa Yehia
The Sundance film Festival is just around the corner, taking off from January 19-29 2012. "½ Revolution", the Egyptian cocumentary and an Egyptian – Danish production is determined to participate
in the documentary category of the festival.
"½ Revolution" is a joint venture between Danish Globus Film and Prophecy Film to be the first Egyptian film to officially participate in the festival since it was launched and the first Arab documentary since the Jordanian director Mahmoud El Massad entered his film "Recycle".
The film was directed by the Palestinian – Danish director Omar Sharqawy with the US- Egyptian director of photography (DOP) Karim El Hakim.
"½ Revolution" is a personal, intimate story from the Arab Spring: a group of friends living in downtown Cairo struggle to stay together during the initial chaotic days of the Egyptian Revolution. As waves of protests escalate in their neighborhood next to Tahrir Square, directors Omar Sharqawi and Karim El Hakim take to the streets to capture the historical events unfolding around them. But as the violence and uncertainty builds, Karim and his young family’s apartment becomes an epicentre of activity as worried friends and neighbors flock together in a bid to survive the counter punches thrown by police and the armed gangs of pro-Mubarak thugs swarming the streets under their balcony.
The result is a compelling human story told from inside the revolution through a handheld camera, a spontaneous string of stolen moments that make the viewer feel they too are on the ride of a lifetime.
Omar Sharqawi considers "½ Revolution" “an extremely rich personal experience that has changed a lot in me on the human, personal and professional level. When it came to '½ Revolution' we had to record what was happening despite the dangers we faced on a daily basis. Egypt is a country that I identify with, that’s why I established a production company in it, and I’m planning on directing another film in Cairo.”
The Middle East premiere of "½ Revolution" is planned to take place during the 8th Dubai International Film Festival, as it is being screened in the Muhr Arab Documentary competition. This is Omar Sharqawi’s second participation in DIFF after his entry in last year’s festival, the documentary My Father from Haifa, won the Muhr Arab Special Jury Prize for documentaries and the audience prize before it started its worldwide tour.
Omar directed his first film in 2008, the feature film Go with Peace Jamil, which among many awards won the Tiger award at the Rotterdam Film festival in 2008 and was quite successful in Danish theatres, recast as one of the most innovative films in recent Danish history. Currently, Omar is working on his second feature film, which he is going to shoot in the first half of 2012.
Karim El Hakim dealt with "½ Revolution" as if “It really became something of a duty. I am a very privileged Egyptian. I have an education, I know how to handle a camera well, I speak a few languages. It became something we had to do, even though it was dangerous. And in a way it was also the adrenaline rush of being in this kind of protest and uprising.”
Karim is a renowned DOP and director Arab world and internationally. He has contributed to numerous award-winning political documentaries about the Middle East including My Trip To Al Qaeda (2010), Giran (2009), and Egypt We are Watching You (2008). He was also a contributing editor in Control Room (2004). In addition to his documentary work, Karim was the DOP of Al Jama3a (The University), a groundbreaking 15 part Arabic drama series first shown on MBC4.
Karim is active in the Cairo independent film community and has shot a handful of award-winning Egyptian short films, including Ein Semeka (Fisheye), Miraculum, and Beit Min Lahm (House of Flesh), which earned him the Egyptian State Prize for Best Cinematography in 2006.
"½ Revolution" is the first film that considers the January 25 revolution an incomplete revolution, which has been proven by the latest events in Egypt. The film’s name was decided from the first days of its shooting, where Omar and Karim considered that the title reflected what happened during the Egyptian revolution. The film’s team is currently working on the film’s website which is going to be the first of its kind for a documentary film about the revolution.
"½ Revolution" was made with the support of the Danish Film Institute, produced by Carsten Holst from Globus and Level K as the international sales agent. Prophecy Films is currently working with Cairo based MAD Solutions on a new venture, focusing on building bridges between European and Arab cinema.