Funded! This project was successfully funded on September 30, 2012.

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Tradition, revolution, technology, and the power of collective voice in Cairo.

ALMOST THERE!! We are in the homestretch!! PLEDGE TODAY + watch our trailer: 

Voices and Faces of the Adhan: Cairo is a feature-length documentary film examining the 1,400-year-old oral tradition of the Muslim call to prayer.

  • Adhan: the Muslim call to prayer
  • Muezzin: one who recites the adhan, calling believers to prayer five times daily
  • There are over 30,000 paid and volunteer muezzins in Cairo

The film follows the muezzins of Cairo -- the voices of the city -- as the tradition of the adhan, and Egypt itself, undergo crucial changes.

We believe everyone can connect with the very human stories of our individual muezzins. In this way we see the film as an opportunity for intercultural dialogue between the West and the Middle East, at a time when it's greatly needed.

Help us make the world a smaller place. Help us bridge these gaps between imaginary cultural divides. Help us make magic happen!

How This Began

It started wtih love. Then heartbreak. And now action.

While traveling in 2007, Anna was so captivated by the call to prayer in Cairo -- this rich, thousand-voice aural tapestry rising up above the city -- that she started walking into mosques during the times of the adhan just to listen closely to the muezzins. 

Once back in the states, she couldn't believe there existed no actual documentation of individual muezzins from individual mosques.

Through her research, Anna learned that a new law was being passed to essentially end this ancient oral tradition as we knew it. She vowed to document the individuals who recite the adhan in Cairo before they disappear forever! A wonderful group of creative individuals came together to make sure this important story gets told!


Why We're In This

As we document and share this story, these are our primary goals:

  • To create an ethnographic record of this never-before-documented oral tradition, for other cultures as well as for future generations
  • To tell the stories of several individual muezzins and their relationships to the call to prayer
  • To break down misconceptions about Islam and the Middle East -- through individual human stories, and by showcasing the beauty of an ancient culture's sacred music
  • To report how the Revolution and the changing Egypt have affected how the adhan is recited

The Story We Captured

Islam's first muezzin, Bilal, recited the adhan 1,400 years ago, and to this day muezzins call Muslims to pray using the same words. In 2010, the Ministry of Al-Awqaf, the religious arm of the government began implementing what is known as the Adhan Unification Project: a legislated end to Cairo’s many mosques sounding their unique and individual adhans, in favor of a single muezzin's voice broadcast live from a radio station, transmitted through wireless receivers to each of the city’s 4,000 officially recognized mosques.

This has been a huge change to the daily flavor of Cairo, and an even bigger one in the lives of thousands of individual muezzins whose posts and spiritual futures were suddenly in jeopardy. And then the Revolution happened. We follow five individual muezzins and the Deputy Minister of Al-Awqaf from 2009, before the passing of the new law, through initial installation of the receivers in 2010. We then follow their continued installation up until the Revolution, the fall of the Mubarak regime, and the election of President Mohamed Morsi in 2012. A point in history when the muezzins of Cairo and the people of Egypt found themselves in a state of limbo -- and of new hope. 


A Long Road

We began shooting Voices and Faces of the Adhan: Cairo in late 2008, and principal photography is now finally complete! Our four-year journey has been nothing short of amazing.

Our super talented crew, made up mostly of volunteers, have been working to produce, direct, interpret, shoot, edit, build the website, write the music, organize and market events, hold fundraisers, write grants, and more.

Along the way we have been super fortunate to receive various press in print and radio. Interviews on NPR's Worldview, CBC's As It Happens, Gapers Block, and Reel Chicago, amongst others. Great turnouts at project presentations at universities and museums all over the country. Partnerships with organizations like Past Preservers and University of Cambridge's World Oral Literature Project. As well as support from organizations such as Hartley Film Foundation, National Geographic's All Roads Film Project, and the Lucius & Eva Eastman Fund.

Now that we've captured our movie, it's time to get down and dirty - and this is where you come in! 

Where Your Pledge Money Goes

Movies are expensive! We are getting great deals because everyone involved loves our film. Your contributions will go toward paying for: 

  • Translation of 200+ hours of footage - Jason Lyle Reeder: $1,300
  • Logging and organizing footage: $3,000
  • Editing the film - Scott F. Busch: $10,000
  • HD Color Grading: $4,000
  • HDcam-SR Master: $600
  • HDcam-SR Tape Stock: $300
  • QC HD Master: $100
  • Sound Design/Mix: $3,000
  • Subtitling in English and Arabic: $1,000
  • Kickstarter incentive fulfillment: $2,470

   TOTAL NEEDED:    $25,770 


Pictures of Rewards

Coffee from Cairo (hand models: Anna and Rodion)
Coffee from Cairo (hand models: Anna and Rodion)

Jeremy Johnson's Wedjat: 18 species of wood & 1,500 individually cut pieces of wood veneer (with frame)
Jeremy Johnson's Wedjat: 18 species of wood & 1,500 individually cut pieces of wood veneer (with frame)


Small Figurines Hand Made by Ruby
Small Figurines Hand Made by Ruby

Egyptian Papyrus
Egyptian Papyrus


Pictures from Cairo Taken Over the Last Five Years by On Look Films
Pictures from Cairo Taken Over the Last Five Years by On Look Films


Small Hand Made Tapestry by Hany
Small Hand Made Tapestry by Hany

Larger Basalt Figurine Hand Made by Ruby
Larger Basalt Figurine Hand Made by Ruby

Ruby (left) and Hany (right) in their respective workshops!!! On Look Films is excited that you get to own their works before the film even comes out and you fall in love with them as people!!
Ruby (left) and Hany (right) in their respective workshops!!! On Look Films is excited that you get to own their works before the film even comes out and you fall in love with them as people!!

Medium Tapestry Hand Made by Hany
Medium Tapestry Hand Made by Hany

Medium Sized Tapestry Hand Made by Hany
Medium Sized Tapestry Hand Made by Hany

Super Detailed Hand Made Tapestry by Hany
Super Detailed Hand Made Tapestry by Hany

Largest Tapestry Hand Made by Hany: Tree of Life (Rodion and Anna Not Included in Reward)
Largest Tapestry Hand Made by Hany: Tree of Life (Rodion and Anna Not Included in Reward)


Help us make magic happen by making sure VOICES AND FACES OF THE ADHAN: CAIRO gets completed!

FAQ

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    35 backers

    Facebook & Twitter shout-out + digital download of the VOICES AND FACES OF THE ADHAN: CAIRO poster designed by our own Rodion Galperin + updates on the progress of post-production + our DEEPEST gratitude!

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    Digital download of our PRIVATE 12-minute extended sneak peek (unreleased) + digital download of collected short films in conjunction with VOICE AND FACES OF THE ADHAN: CAIRO + EVERYTHING AT THE $5 LEVEL

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    Signed DVD or digital download (your choice) of VOICES AND FACES OF THE ADHAN: CAIRO upon its release + EVERYTHING AT THE $15 LEVEL

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    250 gram bag of ground coffee Anna brought back from Cairo in August 2012 (pictured on the left) + EVERYTHING AT THE $25 LEVEL

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    A “Special Thanks” credit in the film and on IMDb + a beautiful small figurine (see pictured at left), hand-carved by one of the characters from the film, Ruby, and brought back in August 2012 + private link to raw footage of Ruby creating! + EVERYTHING AT THE $25 LEVEL

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    A “Special Thanks” credit in the film and on IMDb + a hand-made Egyptian papyrus (see pictured at left), brought back in August 2012 + EVERYTHING AT THE $25 LEVEL

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    Original 11”x17” VOICES AND FACES OF THE ADHAN: CAIRO poster designed by Rodion Galperin (signed or not, your choice) + a “Special Thanks” credit in the film and on IMDb + EVERYTHING AT THE $25 LEVEL

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    An original photographic print from our 5 years in Cairo – YOUR CHOICE of picture on our password-protected site (example at left) AND size (4"x6" all the way up to 13"x19") + a CD or digital download (your choice) of 10 Adhan recordings from Cairo – a mix of the citywide soundscape as well as individual muezzins + EVERYTHING AT THE $75 LEVEL

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    A small tapestry (12"x12", see pictured at left), handmade by one of our characters, Hany, and brought back in August 2012 + private link to raw footage of Hany from the film! + EVERYTHING AT THE $100 LEVEL

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    A beautiful larger basalt figurine (see pictured at left), hand-carved by one of the characters from the film, Ruby, and brought back in August 2012 + private link to raw footage of Ruby creating! + EVERYTHING AT THE $100 LEVEL

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    A medium tapestry (18"x18" to 35"x35", see pictured at left), handmade by one of the characters in the film, Hany, and brought back by Anna in August 2012 + private link to raw footage of Hany from the film! + EVERYTHING AT THE $100 LEVEL

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    One of the extra-finely detailed tapestries (25"x20", see pictured at left), hand-sewn by one of the characters from the film, Hany, and brought back in August 2012 + private link to raw footage of Hany from the film! + EVERYTHING AT THE $100 LEVEL

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    Invitation for you and guest to the LA Premiere (transportation not provided) + private afterparty with core team (drinks on us!) + EVERYTHING AT THE $100 LEVEL

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    Edit Cave Sneak Peek!! (LA/Chicago/Cincinnati only) - come over to watch our first rough cut and give us your creative notes (food on us!) + EVERYTHING AT THE $100 LEVEL

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    An hour-long 4-way Skype call with the On Look Films team on the subject of your choice - filmmaking, the Adhan, Egypt, life, anything! + EVERYTHING AT THE $100 LEVEL

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    An “Associate Producer” credit in the film and on IMDb + the FIRST donor at this level gets the largest bird-tapestry (64"x35", see pictured at left), hand-sewn by one of the characters in our film, Hany, and brought back in Aug 2012 + private link to raw footage of Hany from the film! + EVERYTHING AT THE $100 LEVEL

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    Event photography by our own Rodion Galperin at your wedding, engagement, etc. – examples of past work at www.RodionCreative.com and www.etsy.com/shop/RodionCreative + EVERYTHING AT THE $1000 LEVEL (including “Associate Producer” credit)

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    FREE accommodations in a tropical paradise of your choosing, for you and a guest for ONE WEEK in your own personal apartment! Limitations do apply, but we can choose from places like Mexico, Bahamas, and Hawaii + EVERYTHING AT THE $1000 LEVEL (including “Associate Producer” credit)

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    Jeremy Johnson's veneer Wedjat ("eye of Horus") (pictured at left)! The Wedjat is made up of over 1500 individually cut pieces of wood veneer. Featuring 18 different species of wood, from the fairly standard park fare to more exotic burls. All colors are natural, no pieces were stained + the “Executive Producer” credit in the film and on IMDb + EVERYTHING AT THE $100 LEVEL ... Working in veneer gives me an appreciation for the mosaic artists back in the day. To spend so much time on such a small area can be daunting, especially when your neighbor is able to turn out a fresco the size of a 78’ Cadillac in under a week. Those of us who work small mutter to ourselves that size doesn’t matter as we enter the fifth month… and the fifth square foot. For what it's worth, this piece took roughly 3 months of consistent work. Learn more about the Wedjat here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eye_of_Horus

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    An “Executive Producer” credit in the film and on IMDb + Private Screening with two OLF team members in your city (domestic or international - subject to discussion) + EVERYTHING AT THE $100 LEVEL

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    1 backer

    Come to Cairo with On Look Films! One or two of our team members will meet you in Cairo (or if flights permit, fly there with you to), and together we will meet up with some of the muezzins from the film! **NYC-CAI roundtrip flight for 1 included only**, and OLF will help you book accommodations, tours, recommend fantastic things to do while you're there, etc. + We will video-document your trip + give you a copy of the footage after we return to the States + EVERYTHING AT THE SECOND $5000 LEVEL (including “Executive Producer” credit - except, the private screening will happen in CAIRO!!!)

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Funding period

- (39 days)