Ibrahim El Batout, Egyptian filmmaker

“Young generations will be able to do a lot”


Ibrahim El Batout, Egyptian filmmaker

Born in Cairo in 1963, his most recent film is Hawi (2010).

Did you film the revolution in Egypt?

No, I did not film the revolution in Egypt because I was still in shock, I was totally overwhelmed by what was happening and I wanted to live it, not film it. It is such a precious moment in our history that I wanted to take in every detail.

As a filmmaker, what are you expecting from the new institutions ? In terms of production, conservation and distribution, for example ?

The new institutions do not yet exist. Nothing has changed, nine months after the revolution we are still driven by the same ideas. I think it will take time before the revolution is really accomplished and for its spirit to infiltrate the various institutions which run cinema in Egypt. So I am not expecting a great deal.

What do filmmakers and professionals plan do in order to make the most of this new freedom of expression and of a possible opening up and change in the institutions ?

Before the revolution film people in Egypt were like solitary islands, each working on his own project, not thinking of there being an opportunity to come together and to enrich ourselves through collective work. This hasn’t really changed. But I think that young generations will be able to do a lot, not the old generation which has been ruined throughout the years, at the hands of an oppressive regime which controlled everything, including creativity. So we have to think totally outside the norm, only the young generation can do this.

What do you expect from European film institutions and professionals today?

I think Europe has a lot to offer in the technical field. Technical exchanges could really enrich our way of making cinema and help young generations to gain the cinematographic skills necessary in many different areas ; sound, editing, photography, special effects. We need a great number of training courses which would help young generations to embark on the new path that will lead them to the cinema we are all missing.

(Antonia Naim)

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