Guitar, Guitar, Wherever You Are!

CV Gfst 18The guitar’s everywhere. Guitars have found a way into every style from pop to rap to classical. Which is the reason why the American University in Cairo is having a Guitar Festival. It’s a festival to celebrate an instrument that everybody loves. It’s a festival to celebrate the guitar.

The two-week guitar festival, which will take place both in the AUC New Cairo campus and the Tahrir camps, will start on Nov. 1 and end on Nov. 13.

The festival will be made up of three components; A series of concerts, Guitar workshops, and a Composing Competition.

The series of concerts will be made up of four concerts. The concerts will feature all of AUC guitar faculty including Nathan Fisher, who plays classical Latin and Spanish, Emad Hamdy, who also plays Classical Latin and Spanish style, Dave Tawfik, who plays Electric Guitar, and Bill Evenhouse, who plays the Steel String. There will also be a guest Guitarist coming in from Budapest, Hungary, David Pavlovits, and who will also give a concert. Concerts are open to everyone, AUC students and non-AUC students, and admission is free.

The second aspect of the festival will be a series of Guitar Workshops. Workshops are limited to AUC students. All students are welcome to attend. There will be other advance classes called Master Classes, where students get to be tutored by a foreign guitar celebrity as a privilege, however these classes are restricted to students who are taking applied private guitar instruction at AUC.

The third, and most exciting part of the festival is the Composing Competition. Any Egyptian who writes music for the guitar in Egyptian national style, doesn’t matter if they’re living in the country or abroad, can compete. The competition is aiming at increasing the repertory for the guitar here in Egypt. A reward of a 1000 Egyptian pounds will be given to the First Prize Winner, 500 Egyptian pounds for the Second Prize Winner, and 250 Egyptian Pounds for the Third Prize Winner.

“It’s very important to keep a festival atmosphere festive,” Said Music Professor Nathan Fisher, “and in order to do that you have to include people from the outside [both performers and spectators], and that gets people from the outside excited about AUC and what’s going on here plus they get to see the new campus and they get to learn more about what’s going on here seeing that we have really high quality programs and teachers.”

 “It’s the first year an event of that sort takes place in AUC and It will hopefully be foreshadowing other new festivals that  come to AUC including an Arabic music festival that we’re hoping will happen next semester,” Fisher added.

So lookout for posters and lookout for publicity. Maybe you could take your friends, and your boyfriends or girlfriends to a cool guitar concert instead of the same old café outings. If you have a guitar, or if you can borrow one from a friend, make use of your free time and join the workshops. And if you write music, or if you’re interested in writing music, for the guitar, maybe this is your chance to be recognized, and who knows, you might end up with a thousand pounds on your hands.

-By Nouran Khalil

Designer Face Masks… The New Accessory?

CV mask 05Wearing a facemask in public to help protect yourself from swine flu is mainly considered an embarrassment; but will trendy designer facemasks become the new accessory?

It has been advised by doctors and officials to try to take the fullest measures in protecting ourselves against swine flu, ranging from constant care about personal hygiene, to avoiding crowded place and public areas. However, one of the most advisable tips for protection against the swine flu is wearing protectivefacemasks whenever in public.

Facemasks are designed to stop droplets from exiting and entering the person wearing the mask, thus contaminating him or others with the virus.

So to promote the usage of facemasks and lessen the embarrassment, a solution was created: the designer facemask. It’s the ultimate way to merge safety and health with style and fashion.

Designer brands like Donna Karan and Calvin Klein are offering face masks that come in black cotton and denim. Louis Vuitton is also offering facemasks that come in Italien leather, Kentucky charcoal, and Egyptian cotton, with it’s trademark LV printed on it. Prada also has a spring line of facemasks.

What’s truly flashy about the facemasks as well is the fact that they have small essence compartments that make the world smell like roses, cinnamon buns, frankincense and musk.

“That’s strickly extravagance,” said Political Science Freshman Dalia Abbas, “it’s completely ridiculous.”

“I definitely don’t think they will be the new trend in AUC,” said Senior Injy Ibrahim, “because I don’t think they’re actually going to go that far with the brand facemasks. We still haven’t reached that point where people actually wear designer facemasks. I think they might try to re-decorate them in some sort, but not to the extent of buying a Louis Vuitton facemask.”

“We haven’t seen them yet, but obviously yes. No one knows about these designer masks yet, but when they do know, I think they definitely will be in AUC.” said Farah Marwan, a Freshman.

“I think that’s ridiculous and frankly I think the whole fascination with material, designer objects is ridiculous,” said Abbas, “and there so much better things that you could be spending your money on. I don’t think AUCians are that superficial.”

According to Dr. Mohamed Amin, Director of the Department of Medical Services at AUC, there is no recommendation whatsoever obliging students to wear face masks until now from the WHO. Dr. Amin said that in an H1N1 conference at the World Health Organization protocol for wearing facemasks is for positive H1N1 patients, physicians and nurses treating them, and the workers responsible for food and hygiene, but students are not obliged to wear facemasks yet. Recommendation to follow the etiquette of sneezing, coughing and personal hygiene is what’s necessary .

An H1N1 educational session will be held next Sunday, October 11, hosting guest speaker Dr. Awad Tag el Din, former Egyptian minister of Health, who’s originally a physician specialized in respiratory system diseases.

Upcoming episodes of The Hills will also feature these designer facemasks. So will AUC protect itself from swine flu in style?

According to Abbas, “Sooner or later designer facemasks will show up in AUC. Sooner or Later.”

-By Nouran Khalil

Flute, Viola, and Piano Trio Perform Magic

DSC02258A Trio recital of Flute, Viola, and Piano took place on Wednesday, at the Malak Gabr Arts Theatre in the American University in Cairo.

The Recital was a classical music recital which featured Ranya Yehya on the flute, her younger sister Rasha Yehya on the Viola, along with renowned pianist Elena Dzamashvili. The concert was sponsored by the Music department at the American university in Cairo.

A selection of pieces ranging from the Classical Era all the way to the Modern Era were performed starting by a beautiful piece, Trio No. 7, composed by Mozart, the composer who’s known to have written some of the most beautiful music in history. The sonata-Allegro form piece is made up of three movements, an Andante, a Minuetto, and an Allegretto. Following the piece by Mozart was the piece
 S Kytici v ruce by Czech composer and violinist Josef Suk. Then the performers performed a piece by Georg Büchner, Ungarischer Tanz, which had a beautiful Spanish/Latin flavor to it.

After that Marchchenerzahlungen Opus 132 by Robert Schumann was performed. The piece is a large scale piece consisting of four movements; an Alegretto, a Vivace e ben marcato, an Andante espresso con tenrezza, and ending with an Allegro marcato. And finally, the finale of the recital was an amazingly beautiful Nocturne by Vaja Azarashvili. The piece was the most stunning piece of the whole recital; it was a picturesque flowing legato.

Ranya Yehya and Rasha Yehya are sisters. They have both been playing their instruments for 20 years. Ranya plays the Flute, while Rasha plays the Viola. They both graduated from the Cairo Conservatory. They performed in AUC several times before, especially in Ewart Memorial Hall down in Tahrir Campus. They’re very passionate about their instruments and they play together quite often. They perform regularly at the Cairo Opera House and the French Institute.  Ranya performs with the Cairo Opera Orchestra, and Rasha performs with the Cairo Orchestra Symphony. They’ve also performed abroad several times in Switzerland, France, Lebanon, Austria, Russia, Germany, and Italy.

Elena Dzamashvili is a well recognized, prominent Pianist. She graduated with distinction from the Conservatory of Tbilisi in Georgia. Dzamashvili performed as a soloist, and accompanist, and taught piano at the Georgia Conservatory. She recorded many works for the Radio and the Television of Georgia. She has an active role in piano teaching, and she also teaches at AUC, along with the Cairo Conservatory and the English School. Her students have won many national and international awards.

At the beginning of the concert, Dr. Ashraf Fouad, professor of music at the AUC music department, introduced the performance and performers and greeted the audience. The audience was not a very large audience.

The Yehya sisters along with Ms. Dzamashvili are scheduled to perform again in Ewart Memorial Hall on October 14th, with an even richer program.

According to Dr. John Baboukis, Director of the music program at AUC, this was the first of a series of concerts that are all going to take place on Wednesdays, at assembly hour, in either the Malak Gabr Arts Theatre or the Shrjah Art Gallery, both located in the department of Performing and Visual Arts.

-By Nouran Khalil

Egypt’s Jazzy Santa

DSC02175Yehya Khalil is the most prominent Jazz musician in Egypt, who’s unique style have been recognized all over the world for its attractiveness.

What’s striking about Khalil’s style of music is the cohesive way he mixes Western Jazz music with an Eastern flavor. He does so by incorporating Eastern musical instruments into his Jazz band.

Khalil is a percussionist in his band. He’s the lead drummer. In his band, there are Western Instruments such as the his drum set, which is placed on stage front and center, a Piano, an electric base, and an electric violin, which is played by the very young, talented violinist, Mohamed Ali.

Khalil also has Eastern instruments in his band such as the table, which is an eastern form of a drum, a Riq, which basically is the tambourine, a nay, which is an old-fashioned Egyptian form of the flute, and it is played by Jordanian musician Nayf Solayman, and the accordion, played by Wael El Naggar.

Khalil formed the first Jazz band in Egypt at the age of thirteen, called “Cairo Jazz Quartet”. He studied and played drumming for fifteen years in the United States of America. In 1979, he came back to Egypt and rummaged around for the country’s best talents and formed his Jazz Band. Khalil has been performing professionally  for over 40 years.

Khalil performed in more than 20 countries and 100 cities all over the world. He recently released his first Jazz album “Rhythm of the Soul”. Some of his top rated tracks include Dunya, Caravan, and Aziza.

Khalil has his own TV program “World of Jazz” which airs Every Friday at Midnight, on the local Egyptian Television, Channel 2.

Khalil performs regularly at the Opera House. He has an upcoming concert in November at The Sawy Culture Wheel in Zamalek, and another concert in December at the Cairo Opera House, also in Zamalek.

-By Nouran Khalil

Pinter Resurrected

CV pintThe Alumni Community Theatre (ACT) is having its first production of Harold Pinter’s plays Celebration and Party Time at the Gerhart theatre, in the AUC New Cairo campus.

The alumni cast of celebration and party time included Luke Lehner, Amina Khalil, Hani Eskander, Reem Kadry, Adham Zidan, Lama El Hatow, Tamer Guirgis, Leila Saad, Ali Nassar, and Hani Sami.

The production was directed by theatre major graduate Hani Sami. Sami did a wonderful job with the production. He used the tight space of the black box theatre very creatively, and did a great job with the alternating of scenes and the blocking.

The theatrical production of Celebration and Party Time takes place in the black box theatre of AUC. The experience of a black box theatre is very different from that of other types of theatres. In a black box theatre, the audience is part of the action taking place. The actors move between the audiences. The set is placed all around the audience. It’s not like the traditional proscenium theatre where the audience is on one side and the action on the other, but they’re somewhat merged into a little space all together, which makes it more intimate for the audience, and makes the audience feel closer to the actors.

Harold Pinter is playwright, director, actor, poet, and political activist from London, England. He wrote 29 plays, 21 screenplays, and directed 27 theatrical productions.  He was awarded with dozens of awards and honorary degrees; the most prominent of them is the Nobel Prize for Literature which he won in 2005. Pinter always spoke out vigorously about the abuse of power. He is known for his constant use of profanities and strong language in getting the message across to the audience, Pinter died at the age of 78, in 2008.

Celebration and Party Time are two one act plays. Celebration is a social satire which revolves around three couples dining in an elegant restaurant celebrating the wedding anniversary of Lambert and Julie. The dialogue then develops into a complex weaving of more sinister themes, including undercurrents of love and hate relationships and incest. The play ends with a mysterious speech from the waiter, which hints at a possible way to escape the pain of everyday life.

Party Time is a set up as a typical upper class gala where partygoers are shown as high-ups in a barbaric regime. Pinter injects small bits of dialogue that suggest that not all is well in the society around them.

The set of Celebration was that the expensive restaurant in town. The set if Party Time was of a Gala at Gavin’s (one of the characters) house. The best part of the set that most of the audience commented on was the bathroom of the restaurant in celebration, where the waiter usually was when off duty. The bathroom was done very simply, yet very creatively. The imitation of a bathroom was of a sector of a ceramic-tile wall with a chair, and a neon light bulb hanging from the ceiling. The set designer was graduating senior Nermine Amer.

The costumes were elegant evening gowns and suits, however there were fine touches that gave character to the actors, like the little hair piece that was worn by the younger sister in Celebration, which kind of made her seem like the younger evil sister in Cinderella, and the red and white polka-dotted tie, scarf and bow which were worn by the restaurant manager, the maitresse d’ and the waiter. Costumes were designed by AUC student Dina Abdel Aziz, who has contributed to the costume designing of many previous productions that took place in AUC. The lighting added a great deal to the effect that the director wanted to convey to the audience. The lighting was designed by AUC graduate Ahmed Omar.

The play opened on Thursday, Oct. 8. The remaining performances are scheduled to take place on Oct. 12, 14, and 15. Tickets are available at the PVA box office.

 -By Nouran Khalil

El Liss appears in AUC

Oil Painting of Tawfik el HakimEl Liss (The Burglar) will be the next main stage production to take place at the American University in Cairo, opening in November.

El Liss is a play about innocence betrayed. It’s about young people that are struggling in a world that is corrupt and corrupting. It’s about all the horrifying things that business classes do in Egypt; how they harm the people and help them to become worse, and the prosperities they bring. It’s about the dishonesty of the business class. It takes place in the 1940’s.

El Liss is an Arabic play, written by Tawfik El Hakeem. The play is directed by AUC theatre professor Dr. Mahmoud El Lozy.

Tawfik El Hakeem is one of the major pioneer figures in modern Arabic literature. In the particular realm of theatre, he fulfils an overarching role as the sole founder of an entire literary tradition. Hakeem was viewed as a person who hated women, as he wrote a few misogynistic articles and remained a bachelor for an unusually long period.

 “I’ve been doing theatre, teaching, writing plays, had some of my plays performed”, said Mahmoud El Lozy, director of El Liss. “I’ve Directed plays, acted in theatre, on cinema, in television. I’ve directed a lot of Arabic plays by mostly by Tawfik El Hakeem, and Saad El Din Wahaba. I’ve directed plays in English, I did Ghosts, Traveller without Luggage, and I’ve also directed plays in French.”

“I’ve acted in many plays,” continued El Lozy, “most recently The School For Wives, by Moliere, which was the previous main stage production at the American University in Cairo, showed last spring. I’ve acted in Arabic films and American films, such as Mohamed Khan’s film, Fares el Madina (Knight of the city), Youssef Shahine’s Alexandria New York, and Khaled Hagar’s Kobolat Masrooka (stolen kisses). I have two films coming out soon; they’re currently showing in a movie festival in Abu Dhabi, one’s Heliopolis, the other is Bel Alwan Al Tabeeia (with the natural colors). I also did a TV series last Ramadan called Khas Geedan (Very Private).”

 El Lozy also wrote three plays, a trilogy, called We that are Young, the first play of the trilogy was produced in New York in 2002.

“Dr. El Lozy is a lot of fun to be around,” props master Marwan Kandeel said. “I’m having a blast with him, we all are. He’s a great person and an excellent director.”

There are 16 cast members, two of which are alumni, Alaa shalabi, and Waleed Hamad. The rest of the cast are theatre major students, and students from other departments as well. There are no faculty members involved in the cast. Rehearsals take place twice weekly.

“The actors are very lively and very friendly,” added kandeel. “They absorb you into their little world. It’s the first time for me to act and I’m really enjoying it.

The production team of El Liss consists of technical director David Wlodarski, set and light designer Stancil Campbell,  costume designer undergraduate Nermine Said, and props master undergraduate Marwan Kandeel.

According to kandeel, “El Lozy has a very interesting design for the set, the props, and the costumes, that’s all I’m giving away”

“The props are a lot of work, to find them, to get them, to make them work,” said Kandeel, “I might have to build stuff with my own hands.”

“It’s crazy, it’s tiring, but it’s a hell lot of fun,” concluded Kandeel.

“I’m doing a project with a certain group of students who are interested in doing it,” said El Lozy. “And I hope they learn something. I enjoy working on the play, and that all that matters to me.”

-By Nouran Khalil

Magic Grows into Reality in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

potterartThe magic of the wizarding world of Harry Potter has been brought to life in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Universal Orlando Resort in corporation with Warner Brothers Consumer Products have been inspired by J.K Rowling’s compelling stories and characters and the visual muse and landscapes of the film to create the first Harry Potter theme park at Universals Islands of Adventure in Orlando, Florida.

The land will grant Harry Potter fans the chance of experiencing the real world of Harry Potter.

Universal Orlando Resort is in full collaboration with J.K Rowling, Warner Brothers Consumer Products and the Warner Brothers Harry Potter Brand Team to guarantee that Harry Potter fans get the chance to experience the world of Harry Potter first-hand.

Leading the production team are the Harry Potter films’ production designer, Stuart Craig, Art Director, Alan Gilmore, and Corps of Artisans from Universal Creative.

According to Tom Williams, Chairman and CEO of Universal Parks and Resorts, “All of the action and adventure of Harry Potter’s world will come to life.”

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter will feature locations like the town of Hogsmeade, the Hogsmeade train station where the Hogwarts Express will be scheduled to arrive; Zonko’s jokes shop, where visitors can buy all sorts of tricks and jokes from Extendable Ears, to Sneakscopes; Honeydukes, the sweets shop, where they have chocolate frogs and Bertie Bott’s Every-Flavor Beans.

The park will also host the Three Broomsticks and the Hog’s Head, the Hogsmeade pubs where visitors can drink actual Butter Beer and Pumpkin Juice. There’s an owelry, where owls await their next delivery. There’s also the Owl Post, which sells official Wizarding World of Harry Potter stamps, and sends letters with certified Hogsmeade postmarks.

Probably one of the most anticipated locations present in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is Ollivander’s wand shop, where visitors will have the incredible experience of the wand choosing its wizard. There’s also Dervish and Banges, the shop that sells wizarding equipment and instruments, which will sell magical instruments from Quidditch to Triwizard equipment, including remote control Golden Snitches.

The park features rides such as the Dragon Challenge, two twin high speed roller coasters, which is adapted from the dragon Challenge of the Triwizard Tournament which took place in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. There’s also the Flight of the Hippogriff, which is a family rollercoaster that takes flight over the grounds of Hogwarts.

The whole of Hogwarts Castle has been built with special adventures inside like the thrilling Forbidden Journey, and Filch’s Emporium of Confiscated Goods.

The series of Harry Potter books by J.K Rowling, which have been translated into 67 languages, along with the wondrous movies produced by Warner Brothers have inspired millions and continue to be global phenomena.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is scheduled to open in Spring 2010.

-By Nouran Khalil

Night of Counting the Years to Raise Egyptian Nationalism at AUC

2pu0a36An opportunity to remind Egyptians that they also have films that are worthy of their appreciation was the showing of the movie Night of Counting the Years, on Tuesday, in the Malak Gabr Arts Theatre at the AUC New Cairo campus.

The film is a brilliant film produced in 1969, exactly 40 years ago, by the Egyptian Ministry of Culture. However, it was released in Egypt seven years later. Shadi Abd El Salam was the director and screenwriter of the film.

There have been many national and international activities to commemorate the movie, including Martin Scorsese’s institution’s project to create a new restored copy of the movie which was shown at a brilliant reception at the Cannes Film Festival this year.

According to Dr. Malek Khoury, director of the Film Department at AUC, “The film Is a brilliant film when it comes to its cinematography, it’s emphasis on the notion of identity, who are Egyptians, how to deal with the issue of whether pharonic culture is part of this culture or not, and how we can build on it as part of the continuity of Egyptian Culture.”

The movie mainly revolves around how during a certain period of time, particularly in the late 19th Century, Westerners were beginning to be interested in Egyptian artifacts and ancient Egyptian history. During that point many people were living off of their ownership of certain artifacts and their private generation to generation knowledge of where the mummies were, and where the major archeological areas were.

The plot of the movie revolves around a family which traditionally has always been in control of the artifacts of a specific site in Egypt, and how the authorities mainly some British archeologists, also became involved in knowing what is happening to those sites and how one member of the family becomes a traitor to his family and tells the authorities of what’s happening there.

This was Shadi Abd el Salam’s only major feature film. His exceptional interest in Egyptian history and the years of the pharos is very unique in Egyptian film history. A very good copy of the movie was provided to the film department by a very close friend of Shadi Abd el Salam.

“The story itself is an interesting story,” said Khoury, “but more interesting is how Shadi abd el Salam presents an image of Egypt during that period of time and an image of upper Egypt as well, which is a very poetic, dreamy-like image and in many ways complements this continuity that Egypt has experienced throughout its history, and culture.”

The movie being in classical Arabic adds to the dream-like effect of the film.

The aim of such an event, according to Khoury, is to be able to connect many people in Egypt who haven’t seen the film with an important milestone in Egyptian film history and to bring expatriates to close proximity to Egyptian cinema and to how much it offers in terms of intellect as well as cinematography.

“It’s not a coincidence that we’re praising a film that only recently has been recognized in the United States as a major world event,” Said Khoury. “This interaction between what AUC is doing as an American University and what it’s trying to achieve in terms of complimenting what’s happening in Egyptian popular culture is the reason why we’re showing this movie in particular.”

“Part of why I chose this movie in particular is that it’s a world recognized Egyptian film, and most Egyptians haven’t even seen it,” added Khoury.

“Our humble contribution in making more Egyptians aware of a very important milestone in Egyptian history, is to show them the film in a good copy,” said Khoury.

-By Nouran Khalil

The Traveller Opens Middle East Film Festivle

the travellerOnce again Egyptian movies get leading screenings in international movie festivals this year. The Egyptian movie ‘The Traveller’ (El Mosafer) has been the main film screening in the opening of the Middle East International Film Festival (MEIFF) in its third round in Abu Dhabi, yesterday.  

The Traveller is starring the international movie star Omar el Sherif, Khaled el Nabawy, Bassma, and Ceryine Abdelnour has given the festival a big star it being the Opening Night Gala Premiere. It is directed by Ahmed Maher, who has not worked on any long movies before this one. 

The movie is a very important project for the Egyptian cinema industry as it is a return project for Omar el Sherif who has not participated in any Egyptian movie for some 14 years and it is produced by the Egyptian Ministry of Education with a huge budget of 20 million Egyptian pounds.    

The movie is the story of a man who travels on a journey where he returns nostalgically  to the memories of his homeland. The film is in the form of narrative told by El Sherif’s voice during the movie. 

 It shows the personality of the of the hero in three sages of life, the youth and adulthood played by Khaled el Nabawy and the old age played by El Sherif, appearing in the last third section of the movie.  

The movie tried to embody the competition between the different timings and changes in peoples’ personalities by showing the journey of Hassan (el Nabawy) through three specific timings, marking important events in the history of Egypt and the Arab world.  

‘El Mosafer’ begins with the arrival of Hassan (el Nabawy) to Port Said on a ship coming from Europe in 1948, where he meets a young woman, Nora and is attracted to her. The movie then proceeds to the year 1973, at the time of Yom Kippur War, in Alexandria when Hassan meets Nadia, Nora’s daughter, who he thinks is his own child. Later the movie takes place during the year 2001, after the September 11 attacks in New York and Washington, where Hassan(El Sherif) meets Ali, Nadia’s son when again he thinks he is his grandchild but denies it because of feature differences specially Ali’s nose. 

The movie has risen a lot of controversies evident in the script, where Egyptian journalists and movie critics have described the movie as a catastrophe for the Egyptian

cinema. They saw in the movie specially through the rape scene at the beginning of the movie by Hassan to Nora to show that he loves her, as a way of cementing the West’s ideas of the Eastern man of badly treating women and regarding them as second class citizens who do not have rights.  

Others have criticized the fact that the movie had emphasized the events through three specific dates but there was no evident relationship between them or an understandable series of events, making the movie hard to understand for the viewers.

Despite this criticism of the movie other journalists have found that the movie rearranged personal understandings of life, death, love, lust, and bravery and that it created a state of inner peace felt by the audience through the main characters for not to regret what had happened during the journey of life.  

‘The Traveller’ is competing in the ( MEIFF)  for the black pearl prize along with 18 other movies from Egypt, Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Tunisia, USA, Canada, Mexico, Iran, Australia, Palestine, and China.  

The festival will last until the 17th of October.  

-By Mennatallah Fouad Youssef 

Between Culture and Artistic Dreams

aspak invation 1Many of us dream of becoming a famous actor or actress. Most of us wish they would be the next Brad Pitt or Angelina, or Al Pacino.

Some others follow the works of famous directors like James Cameron, Steven Spielberg, or Woody Allen, eagerly. They too dream of making a great movie that would win them an Oscar.

A few follow their dreams and go to Hollywood, hoping of being part of the cinema industry. However, they end up struggling for years between the hard work in cafes and restaurants; and the dream of turning those small parts into having a lead role, thus becoming the next super star.

In Egypt, where Egyptian youth has the same dreams of acting or directing, it is harder for them to study or work in the field due to cultural restrictions.

Most of Egyptian society does not accept the arts as a field of study or as a career; thus most of the graduates are enrolled in other majors such medicine, commerce or engineering.

They nurture their passion for directing or acting by doing small or personal projects.

Recently, El Sawy Cultural Wheel, opened in 2003, became a well known arts venue in Cairo. The cultural wheel, is a place where locals and foreigners hang out, and visit for the diverse art shows put on in this centre.

The Sawy Cultural Wheel is an important platform for well known actors, intellectuals and musicians, and new beginners and students alike.

Many students have benefited from this centre where they were able to join seminars and workshops that built their experience in the arts. Later they were able to produce their own projects and find a stage to perform on.

One of these students is a Mechanical Engineering Senior, in the American University In Cairo(AUC).  Amr Kilany has been studying engineering in (AUC) for the past 4 years and is expecting to be graduated this year.

Amr is interested in making movies and directing. He began this four years ago when he made a 10 second shots  with a very bad camera as he says and edited on unprofessional programs.

“I made a 1:30 minute movie, about a policeman and a criminal. There was actually no sound, but people saw it on my computer.” Kilany said.

Kilany explains that later he made a series of science fiction movies called “House of Death”.

“Its about a character that finds himself in a computer game and has to fight, I have already made House of Death 2, and have applied graphics in it.” Kilany said. “I learned how to apply graphics to the movie and used it.”

He explained that the use of graphics lacks in the Egyptian cinema industry due to its difficulty and the need of professional new technology, and that is why there are no science  fiction in Egypt.

Kilany is working now on the final part of the “House of Death” series, about alien invasion that is taking over humans minds.

“The movie will last for 12 minutes and by three of my friends and cousins. I have done the directing and editing on five different professional editing programs.” He explained.

“ I’m also planning to show the movie in the Sawy Cultural Wheel, in October in a two day festival.” Kilany added.

Kilany hopes that his small budget movie would later be shown in a festival for short movies in Cairo in December.

-By Mennatallah Fouad Youssef

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