Welcome to the Kickstarter page for Enjoy the Revolution!
Enjoy the Revolution is the working title for my feature-length documentary: the intimate story of a remarkable Egyptian woman struggling to recreate herself and her country during the messy aftermath of the Arab Spring.
What's it about?
Reda Ahmed is a working class, 37 year-old mother of three. Like a large part of Egyptians she is uneducated, religious, and was—until very recently— politically unaware.
Reda's awakening began in the early days of the 2011 revolution when she heard that young people had been killed in Tahrir Square. Finding courage she never knew she had, she boarded a minibus in her Giza neighborhood to join the protests. The other passengers threatened to beat her up for supporting the revolution, but she moved forward, motivated by thoughts of her brothers who had been brutalized by the police and her newfound dream of a better Egypt.
It took the protesters only 18 days to topple Hosni Mubarak, the dictator who had ruled Egypt for 30 years.
My film begins one month after Mubarak's dramatic departure; Reda's life is both the same and forever changed. She still cares for her children, and travels to Alexandria to visit her 12 brothers and sisters. There she passes Thursday nights crouched by the hot ovens of her mother's bakery, and Friday mornings in the mosque. But her routine is broken by emotional occasions, like visiting her neighbor whose 23 year-old son was killed during revolution, and the joyous event of voting for the first time in her life.
Before the revolution Reda never thought that she could do anything about the problems facing Egypt, nor the difficulties endured by women like her in its male-centered society. But her participation in the revolution gives her enough strength to move away from her husband, and rise up to the challenges that lie ahead as she rebuilds her life.
Why me? Why Egypt? Why now?
How did I end up in Cairo to shoot a documentary about post-revolution Egypt? The short answer is I couldn't NOT be there. Traditional media outlets were not telling me the behind-the-scenes story in any meaningful way, and I was both hopeful and anxious about what would happen after the high drama had faded from the network news. Above all, my dad is from Egypt and I feel the country in my blood, soul and heart.
For the first part of my film I borrowed equipment from some wonderful friends. I was able to capture amazing historical moments and forge a strong bond with Reda, who generously welcomed me into her life.
But the Egyptian revolution is far from over, and my film is not yet complete. The country is now facing a difficult period of transition. News breaks daily about the political, economic and social struggles the country is now confronting, and vital elections are coming up this fall that could make the lives of millions of women like Reda far better or far worse.
It is crucial that I return to Egypt soon to capture this important moment in history and in Reda's life.
Why should you support this film?
Egypt's revolution— and it's young, tech-savvy revolutionaries— dominated the news earlier this year. Although young people were the main "face" of the change, the revolution was driven by all kinds of people from all walks of life. However, certain points of view have been neglected.
The more time I spent with Reda, the more I realized that she comes from a part of Egyptian society that is largely ignored, misjudged and underestimated. Simply put, if I didn't ask Reda about her experience during the revolution and the months that followed, I think no one would have. And I felt in my gut from the day I met her that that missing her perspective would be a great loss. Through this film we can get to know Reda. We can also better understand this pivotal time in Egypt and the challenges of building a functional democracy from scratch.
This project means everything to me and I have and will continue to devote my time, savings and resources to it. My immediate goal is to return to Egypt and follow up with Reda in time for the fall's critical parliamentary and presidential elections, for which I will need new equipment, a plane ticket, and basic living expenses at a total cost of about $8000.
Anything you can pledge to help me share this story is deeply appreciated. Please click “Back this Project” in the top right corner to pledge, and please share the link to this site with your friends. I will be posting updates often.
I am so grateful for your support.
- (30 days)