Egypt to doc cinematic heritage

The National Center for Cinema is about to digitize the archives, information and paperwork of employees within the Egyptian movie business.

The mission goals to digitize the information of 800 main movie stars and artists, together with Faten Hamama, Shoukry Sarhan, Adel Imam, Ahmed Zaki, Mahmoud Abdel Azizi, Mahmoud Yassin, Soad Hosny, Gamil Ratib, Shwikar, Laila Elwi, Nabila Ebeid and lots of extra.

It is being finished via theCinematic Culture Center and beneath the supervision of Egyptian screenwriter and movie critic Magdy al-Shahry.

The mission additionally contains the information and paperwork of those that have performed a serious a part of the Egyptian movie business, most notably administrators Youssef Chahine, Hassan al-Imam, Henry Barakat, Atef el-Tayeb, Mohamed Khan, Ali Badrakhan, Mohamed Karim, Kamal el-Sheikh, Shadi Abdel Salam, Ashraf Fahmy, Mohamed Fadel, Yahya al-Alami, Houssam El-Din Mustafa and others.

The mission additionally contains the names of outstanding screenwriters, notably the world-renowned author Naguib Mahfouz, Abdel-Hay Adib, Mahfouz Abdel Rahman, Mohamed al-Basousy, Wahid Hamed, Lenin al-Ramly, Mostafa Moharam and others. The names of cinematographers additionally determine within the documentation mission, notably Wahid Farid, Mohsen Nasr, Abdel Aziz Fahmy, Ramses Marzouk, Mohsen Ahmed, Abdel Halim Nasr, Saeed Shaimi and Sameh Selim, amongst others.

As for the names of set and manufacturing designers in Egyptian cinema, the mission contains Shadi Abdel Salam, Onsi Abou Seif, Salah Marei, Nohad Bahgat and others.

In a assertion launched on the National Center for Cinema’s Facebook web page July 8, Shahry, who can be the director basic of the Cinematic Culture Center, mentioned the mission comes inside the framework of the Ministry of Culture’s efforts to protect the historical past of the Egyptian film business. The cinematic archive has over 1,400 information and paperwork of artists and employees within the sector, which will likely be digitized and preserved on CDs, he added.

Mohammed Youssef al-Sharif, a movie critic and chairman of the board of the Egyptian Association of Film Writers and Critics, praised the mission, contemplating it a serious step that ought to have been taken a few years in the past.

“Over 10 years ago, there were consultations and studies to establish a cinematheque that would be supervised by the National Center for Cinema. The cinematheque would have included all copies of Egyptian films that were produced over the past 125 years,” Sharif instructed Al-Monitor.

“We also wanted to preserve the machines that were used in filming, in addition to the old film posters and photographic films and everything related to the cinema industry, as well as television and radio production. But so far, nothing has materialized on the ground,” he added.

Sharif continued, “Two years ago, there was a meeting among senior and young film officials, some of whom were part of the lost history of Egyptian cinema and still have tangible memories from this history. When I asked them to share these memories and the documents they had — which are of great interest for filmmakers around the world and not just in Egypt — I was surprised to learn that they no longer had them. This is because when they present their products to the public at any festival at home or abroad, the National Center for Cinema has the right to use these materials without returning them to their owners.”

“If owners wish to present their works they need permission from the center, which has sadly brushed aside the bulk of the old Egyptian cinema history over the years and did not lift a finger when two Arab companies bought the assets of the most important historical films, despite the fact that they constitute a large part of Egyptian cinema history,” he added.

An Egyptian movie producer who spoke on situation of anonymity had harsh phrases for the National Center for Cinema’s practices. He instructed Al-Monitor by way of cellphone, “How could the National Center for Cinema have the right to document and register content in its name without this being a violation of copyrights of heritage owners? How could it use content for public and cultural purposes without referring to their owner first, and why would artistic works be registered in the center’s name? How could the center have the right to digitize cinema contents and use it for cultural purposes without the permission of the owners?”


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