Bringing film back to Behna

“Am Hamdi observes the rooms he passes as like it is a routine. A thick layer of dust, spider webs and old papers covers them. He puts his head in to some of  the rooms to check them out. When he sees that they are untouched, he smiles.”

These are the first lines of our short fiction film, made in the Behna apartment. Mamoon Azmy and Sherif Sharkawy have been leading a workshop with a couple of the volunteers, trying to find a common perception of the place. Together we have gathered words, pictures, emotions and impresions from the stay, and we all agreed that the tall doors, the endless dust and mystery of the place is what we wanted to keep with us.

After a long process it resulted in a short film about the care-taker of Behna, Am Hamdi, who has been looking after Behna for the past several years, making sure that no one broke in and that the doors and windows kept wind and rain out from the archives. Making a short film about him seems like the perfect way to portray Behna, because he has been following our work from the start, and knows the place better than anyone.

Today nearly the whole group participated in the last scene of the film. We truly brought film back to Behna.

By Liv Mari Mortensen, Norway

IPP Alex Film Behna CISV



And the project begins: Installing & Identifying

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Today is the third day at the campsite in Alex. The first impression of the city is loud, sunny and beige. Not in a bad way, but very beige. The Mediterranean Sea is a powerful view, which we can see from our balconies and windows of the 8th floor apartment. Coming from a snowy, cold and clean Sweden, like me, the difference is huge, but it’s amazing how fast one adjusts to both the environment and the living — even if our living has been mostly inside, making ourselves at home.

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The first night we went for reflection at a local coffee shop, and some of us smoked a shisha, or hookah pipe for the first time.

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We are doing our own cooking, and the food has been simple but tasty.

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The atmosphere in the group is open, curious and a little bit careful.  However, it isn’t hard to speak about delicate subjects, as today’s workshop about identity brought up different points of views and personal stories, and the structure of the group and the project is slowly taking shape.

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By Louise Magnusson, Sweden and Julie Harrison, United States