Middle East

The Struggle for Survival

'The Struggle for Survival' presents two short documentaries and one short film, each from Egypt, focusing on individual's perseverance in adverse situations.

Screenings will be introduced by the directors and followed with a panel discussion and Q&A

Panel Chair: Marc Perkins, BBC Arabic Head of Documentaries

Panel: Naji Ismael, director of Om Amira; Abdel Fatah Farag, director of Patience; Reem Morsi, director of Their Feast

Om Amira, documentary

Image copyright Naji Ismail
Image caption Om Amira, also known as the 'Potato Lady', sells sandwiches through the night to make ends meet for her family and ill daughter. Directed by Naji Ismael
Image copyright Naji Ismail
Image caption Naji Ismail

Om Amira (Amira's Mother) lives on a Cairo rooftop with her husband Gamal and her two daughters. One of her daughters suffers from heart disease. With her husband unable to work, Om Amira is left with no option but to be the sole family breadwinner. This she does by selling homemade fried potato sandwiches on her local street which has earned her the nickname - the 'Potato Lady'. Every night, from dusk through to dawn, Om Amira prepares, cooks and sells her famous sandwiches. Filmmaker Naji Ismail relays her story of strength and faith through a realistic yet heart-warming lens.

Director: Naji Ismail is a filmmaker from north Egypt. He graduated from the High Cinema Institute, Giza, Egypt in 2005 with a degree in directing. Since then he has taken part in a number of writing, producing and documentary workshops. In December 2012, Naji founded and launched his own production company Rahala.

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Media captionOm Amira, also known as the "Potato Lady", sells sandwiches through the night to make ends meet for her family and ill daughter.

Patience, citizen journalism

Image copyright Abdel Fatah Farag
Image caption 'Patience' documents the day to day life of Saber, an Egyptian citizen, who is one of Cairo's growing number of unofficial garbage collectors. Directed by Abdel Fatah Farag.
Image copyright Abdel Fatah Farag
Image caption Abdel Fatah Farag

This film documents the day-to-day life of Saber - an Egyptian citizen who is one of Cairo's unofficial garbage collectors. In central Cairo this growing community collects and delivers garbage for a living. The film follows 56-year-old Saber and his youngest son, who spends his days with his father surrounded by disease-threatening waste. Audiences are given an insight into Saber and his wife Fathia's dreams and accomplishments whilst also highlighting the extreme lack of support offered to them from the government. Besides looking at issues of intense poverty among Cairo society, Patience questions the absence of an adequate educational and medical system and what that means for individuals such as Saber and his family.

Director: Abdel Fatah Farag is a journalist and documentary filmmaker. He has directed numerous documentaries focusing on community and humanitarian issues. His films have been shown at many documentary festivals around Egypt. He is a graduate of the Faculty of Media at Al-Azhar University, Cairo where he trained in the field of investigative journalism.

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Media caption'Patience' documents the day-to-day life of Saber, an Egyptian citizen, who is among the population of unofficial garbage collectors.

Their Feast, short film

Image copyright Reem Morsi
Image caption 'Their Feast' tells the story of a prisoner's return home, asking whether the Egyptian revolution came too late. Directed by Reem Morsi.
Image copyright Reem Morsi
Image caption Reem Morsi

During Egypt's 2011 revolution, many prisoners who had been taken to jail with no charges, were suddenly released. Their Feast tells the story of one such prisoner's return home and the immediate response of his family. Worn down by poverty and raising three young children, Amaal is elated by the news that her eldest son Ahmed has been freed. Attempting to put together the perfect meal for his homecoming, she faces exploitation by her employer while her young son steals a pigeon to appease her. Their Feast reflects a new, post-revolution Egypt which asks whether the revolution came too late. Although the film reflects a dim past, the future is yet to be seen.

Director: Reem Morsi is a filmmaker based in Vancouver, Canada. She holds an MA in Filmmaking from the London Film School. In 2011, she received an award at the Gene Screen British Columbia Film Competition for her film Birth. Reem also holds a Master's degree in Law and has worked with the UN in Kosovo, Syria, the Sudan, Egypt and Thailand

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Media caption'Their Feast' tells the story of a prisoner's return home, asking whether the Egyptian revolution came too late.

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