Alexandria Film Festival sheds light on illegal immigration



Tue, 10 Oct 2017 - 04:47 GMT


Tue, 10 Oct 2017 - 04:47 GMT

Illegal Immigration seminar (Photo by Ossama Fatim)

Illegal Immigration seminar (Photo by Ossama Fatim)

CAIRO – 10 October 2017: Marking the theme of the 33rd Alexandria Film Festival, illegal immigration was discussed in a seminar led by Palestinian director Fayez Garada and Egyptian scriptwriter Nasser Abdel Rahman on Monday.

Garada shed light on a movie that came out in 2017 directed by Iyad Abou Rook called “The Boat of Death,” which tells the story of a group of Palestinians who traveled to Egypt through tunnels then arrived to Alexandria to take a boat to Greece.

The boat, which was called 6/9, capsized with all 200 passengers on board. Occurring in 2015, the event was deemed a tragic accident and was highlighted in European media outlets for months.

“The immigrants try to reach Europe, thinking it is Utopia while reality says otherwise. They face difficulties and harsh life there as well,” Garada stated. He also mentioned that the uncomfortable circumstances many Arab countries have been enduring in the past few years represent another important factor contributing to the spread of this relatively new phenomenon.

Nasser Abd el-Rahman spoke about his 1999 film, “Al-Medina,” which was directed by Yusri Nasrallah and tackled illegal immigration.

“I know real people who made these [near] impossible trips and they provide[d] me with life testimony and stories,” he said. Writing about the same issue now will carry a totally different point of view.

“Al-Medina” received several prizes in various festivals, but was a financial disaster, and was not a success among the audience.

The reason for that, from his point of view, was because the main character returned to Egypt after a failed experience. “The audience need some sort of hope even if it is a false one, reality is harsh and pointing that out increases the negativity,” he mentioned during the seminar.

From the audience, director Mohamed Fadel spoke and blamed the media for not putting the issue as a priority, and that dealing with such issues in seminars or studies simply means that we are talking to each other. It is insufficient to hold seminars on the matter because they do not guide society or fix its problems; and that is the only way to solve the problem of illegal immigration.

Actor Sameh al-Serity stated that a movie discussing an issue, screened at the right time, might have a great effect such as “Orid Halan” (I Need a Solution), which played a role in altering the regulations for female divorcees in Egypt after it was played in theaters.

He recommended that we cannot solve the issue with quantity but with quality. “We should first think about the reasons for illegal immigration, then see how [best[ to face the problem,” al-Serity said.



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