A Documentary project in Cairo, Egypt by Lillie Paquette: Months before the momentous uprising in Egypt, many talked of a revolution – but no one knew when that day would come.
What we see in the 75 minute film are the highs and lows of the passionate leaders who toiled for years before seeing success from their sacrifice. It is an account of their struggle against extraordinary odds to remove an uncompromising authoritarian regime determined to stay in power.
“We Are Egypt” is the story behind the story of the Arab Spring.
This documentary goes beyond the headlines and highlights years of mounting political resentment against the ruling regime. The film follows the efforts of democracy activists and the political opposition as they used Facebook and Twitter to organize and express themselves in increasingly outspoken ways, even at great personal risk.
RESPONSE TO THE FILM
When Mubarak was ousted in early 2010, filmmaker Lillie Paquette began receiving invitations from universities across the US to screen a draft of the film, which has gained wide acclaim as the “backstory” to the Egyptian Revolution.
“To most of the world, the protests in Egypt looked like a spontaneous uprising. But according to filmmaker Lillie Paquette, it was actually the culmination of years of methodical organizing. We meet her and get a behind-the-scenes view of the buildup to a revolution.” — The Current, CBC
The film has been screened, in some cases multiple times at various universities including: George Washington, NYU, Columbia, Harvard, Northeastern, Tufts, Yale, Stanford, Virginia Tech, UMASS Lowell, and Georgetown. It has also been screened at various community centers and at the 2011 Boston Palestine Film Festival.
Audience response and participation has been outstanding, and Paquette has reworked the draft to include valuable suggestions for improvement and understanding by students, professors, filmmakers, authors, activists, journalists, and policy-makers.
“Not only has Paquette interviewed practically everybody who matters (no small feat), she does so in a way that communicates their personalities, their hopes, and their not insignificant senses of humor. … ‘We Are Egypt’ is not just a film about the raw materials of revolution, it is a film about the soul of a long suffering country yearning to throw off the yoke of an aging autocrat and take its place among democratic nations.” — Professor Tarek Masoud, Harvard University
A CALL FOR FUNDING
Paquette is now seeking financial contributions for post-production and distribution from individuals who have watched and shared their suggestions, as well as from others who look forward to seeing this film out there for a wider audience.
The plan is to make “We are Egypt” ready for global distribution by mid-January 2012 in order to help mark the one-year anniversary since the Egyptian Revolution, which began on January 25, 2011.
The timing of this film’s release is important for Egyptians and global communities alike.
For Egyptian citizens striving to rebuild their country and keep the Revolution alive, “We are Egypt” will help remind them of the steps that brought them to where they are now, which may serve as an encouragement to keep forging ahead in facing and overcoming new challenges on their path to democratic reform in Egypt.
The film will also be valuable for global communities who watched the Egyptian Revolution unfold in the news with bated breath. It will show how the events in January and February 2011 came as a result of years of activism and struggle against the regime.
The story also explores the history of U.S.-Egypt relations and why the U.S. has provided more than 30 years of political, economic, and military support to the dictatorship. It examines the more recent U.S. democracy promotion agenda for the Middle East, and addresses what the implications for the undergoing political changes in Egypt are for U.S. strategic interests in the Middle East region.
“We are Egypt” is a valuable history piece, and will be especially significant as communities worldwide join Egyptian citizens in celebrating the first anniversary since the toppling of their dictator and the ensuing “Arab Spring.”
This film is a reminder of the immense struggle that led to these moments in history. It is a reminder of the challenges still facing Egyptian people today.