Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Cairo’s landmark first annual refugee film festival will be accompanied by three art-based workshops. Participating in these workshops will be a mix of Egyptian, Palestinian, Iraqi, and Sudanese youth. The aim of these workshops is three fold:

1) to cultivate a sustainable relationship among these youth by having them collaborate during these activities and exchange their individual perspectives on art influenced by their life experiences

2) To offer these youth an outlet for self-expression through various artistic mediums. The chance to work with cameras, flim, and theater is a unique and valuable opportunity for many of the participants

3) To give attendees at the Refugee Film Festival an insight into the lives of these youth by observing their art.

The workshops will precede the actual film festival and the art produced during them will be displayed at the festival, with the artists’ permission.

There are three anticipated workshops

1) The Photo Workshop May 29-June 5

The Photo Workshop will take place in three sessions. There will be about 12 participants who will be between the ages of 9 and 13. The first session will be held at the Nahla Center, where the participants will be introduced to the basics of photography by an established Egyptian photographer. Along with learning about the basics of photography, the participants will also be encouraged to share stories from their personal lives and how they might be able to tell these same stories using images. After the first session is finished we will distribute disposable cameras among the participants. They will be asked to follow certain guidelines, with the final result to put together a photo story that represents a particular experience they’d like to share. We will collect the cameras at the end of the day A week later, the students will reconvene at the Nahla Center. The photos will have been developed, and they will have the opportunity to physically put their photo story together and share it with their peers.

2) The Puppet Theater Workshop (TBA)

The puppet theater workshop is aimed at allowing 12-14 participants the opportunity to experiment with various artistic methods. The students will come together initially at the Nahla Center, and will have to decide on a story to tell in puppet form. After deciding on the story, the participants will be divided into three different groups. The first group will be responsible for writing the story, with characters and dialogue. The second will work with a music therapist to create a soundtrack to the play. The third will be involved with making the setting and background for the play. After these three groups are done with their preparations, all participants will need to design their own puppets to use in the theater. The final result will be a performance, of which will be taped and displayed in clips and photos during the film festival.

3) The Film Workshop June 5-10

This 5-day workshop will involve 10-15 university going Egyptian and Refugee students. They will get the opportunity to learn camera techniques and produce their own short films. The first day they will gather to learn camera techniques and brainstorm ideas. The following two days they will take on different roles in producing films, in order to understand all the various and important roles (director, cinematographer, sound) involved in film making. After this session, they will be equipped with a camera and instructed to shoot a short story or documentary. The last day they will return, and learn editing techniques. The final produce will be a 1-3 minute clip that they have produced completely on their own, which will be displayed at the film festival.

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