Client portrait: How Tarek Mounib is building bridges in FREE TRIP TO EGYPT – and why we all need to listen
In a world that feels ever more divided, many people feel anxious about where things are headed. In the US in particular, as the increasingly volatile presidential election contest has shown, political fall-outs that many people are no longer on speaking terms with their fellow citizens. In response, millions take to Twitter to vent their frustration, others favour the radio phone-in, some invest their time in political activism.
But few concerned citizens of the world follow the path taken by Canadian-Egyptian entrepreneur Tarek Mounib — who decided, in the face of increasing divisiveness and anger directed against ‘the other’ — to offer a reluctant group of right-wing Americans an all-expenses-paid holiday to an Arabic country.
This quest to find out if the simple fact of human connection can overcome complex global divisions is documented in Free Trip to Egypt — a funny, moving, and surprising film about seven Americans learning to live alongside people they had been taught to fear. It’s also a deeply personal film, drawing on Tarek’s roots as the Canadian-born son of Egyptian parents, who was brought up with an Islamic faith that was seldom discussed in public.
“We wanted to reach out to people who were concerned about the ‘Islamic threat’ and say: ‘Hey, is there something we could do for you?’ It’s not about educating or preaching, it’s about human connection,” explains Tarek.
Client portrait: How the people behind Cycling Films Ltd. started audience build-up five years ahead of the premiere of their documentary TIME TRIAL
This week, the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) saw the world premiere of TIME TRIAL, a Scottish documentary following controversial road cyclist David Millar.
Around 1400 people packed into the Royal Theatre Carré for the premiere of TIME TRIAL in Amsterdam
As a subject, Millar would be compelling even to a director who isn’t as passionate about cycling as TIME TRIAL helmer Finlay Pretsell. He cuts a glamorous enough figure to be known as ‘Le Dandy’ to French cycling fans, and at the time of his retirement in 2014 was regarded as one of the best cyclists in the world, having worn the leader's jersey in all three grand tours. He’s also a divisive figure: the last ten years of his career as a cyclist were spent in very public mea culpa, after he was caught using performance-enhancing drugs in 2004, reinvented himself as an anti-doping campaigner after a three-year ban, and traced his fall and rise in a frank autobiography, Racing Through the Dark (2011). Almost every road cycling fan has an opinion about Millar; he’s acquired the sort of celebrity that means his smallest pronouncement causes ripples. Not just a compelling subject, then, but a potential box office draw.
Film & Campaign’s Ben Kempas was involved at various stages of the project – building and running its various websites and experimenting with an early version of 360° video – and we’d like to offer our congratulations to the production team, Cycling Films, and to the Scottish Documentary Institute, who initiated the project.
Competing in the highest-profile competition in the biggest documentary film festival in the world is an outstanding platform for a world premiere and should open up a number of further screening and distribution opportunities for the film in the future. However, an advantage TIME TRIAL may have over the other fourteen films in the competition when it comes to the distribution stage is that there’s already an audience, dedicated, engaged, excited about the project and ready to the spread the word, awaiting this documentary.Read more