The Faces of Egypt in Siwa
The passion of filmmaker and photographer Abdelrahman Gabr takes him to the desert oasis of Siwa in Egypt’s Western desert. Far removed from the din of Cairo or Alexandria, the Siwans lead fascinating lives full of folklore, incredible tradition, and wonderful scenery. It is no surprise that the Siwa oasis is often on the itineraries of foreign travelers to Egypt. For Abdelrahman’s work, Siwa is more than just a backdrop, but a living canvas that is as much full of life and activity as it is full of ancient wonder and serenity. The work serves to attest to the continued existence of a rural way of life that has remained largely unchanged for hundreds of years. It is often at the most remote of places that locals preserve traditions and customs often lost or forgotten in more populated parts of Egypt. Abdelrahman Gabr is half Korean and Half Egyptian, born in Queens, New York. At the time of the filming he and his team at Koree Films were based in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria in Egypt. Abdelrahman is the founder of Qube Productions and Koree Films.
As a filmmaker and photographer, Abdelrahman has inspired thousands with his engaging style, subjects, and work with a range of media. Although his work has a strong commercial side, his artistry is most evident in his features of Egypt, and its ancient, natural, and urban landscapes. His expose of the faces of Egypt is an artistic feat that showcases the country, the people, and the lives they lead.
To film his expose on the faces of Egypt in Siwa, Abdelrahman Gabr used a Leica S system – medium format camera that is both compact and robust. In addition, he employed the 35mm and 70mm Summarit Aspherical lenses. Abdelrahman remarks that the ergonomics of the hand grip are amazing, allowing the photographer to move around easily – especially in poor environmental conditions. A line is often crossed when a production involves so much equipment that it takes away from the authenticity of the moment; Abdelrahman and his team make sure to travel light.
In this film, Abdelrahman chronicles his work on a print photography publication. Titled, the Faces of Egypt, Abdelrahman travels to the far-flung Siwa oasis – one of modern Egypt’s most western desert outposts. The film was shot in several locations in Siwa, the surrounding orchards and the desert. The locations include the Grand Sand Sea, Shali fortress, the Mountain of the Dead, Cleopatra’s pool, and the ruins of the temple of the oracle of the ancient Egyptian god Amun, and many others. The filmmaker wishes to capture in print not only the people of Egypt’s Western desert, but the fantastic landscapes around which they have lived for hundreds of years.
Abdelrahman has becomes especially famous in the film community after the release of Egypt HD, a short 3-minute spot on Egypt’s beautiful settlements, deserts, and ancient sites. His upcoming project, Faces of Egypt means to showcase the incredible people of the country, and who are the heart, the soul, and the custodians of one of the world’s oldest civilization. Abdelrahman’s short films come at a critical time for Egypt which seeks to revive tourism and deal with youth unemployment and an otherwise struggling economy.
Cinematographer, Director & Photographer
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Phone: +20 (122) 221-4063
Filming in a climate such as that of Egypt requires a lot of time, sweat and tears. Abdelrahman and his team had to scout out locations and people in the early mornings, manage their equipment and data, and only long afterwards, process the raw footage into what we see today. The Koree Films equipment for the shoot consisted of medium-format camera and lenses known as the Leica S system, specifically, the Leica Summarit-S 70mm f/2.5 ASPH CS Lens, and the Leica Summarit-S 35mm f/2.5 ASPH Lens.
Some of the light gear used on the shoots included the Profoto Pro-B3 1200 AirS Power Pack, the Profoto Pro-B Plus Flash Head, the Elinchrom 39 Rotalux Deep OctaBox, the Elinchrom Octa Light Bank 74, and the Avenger Turtle Base C-Stand. Any professional filmmaker and photographer knows that lighting is the one factor that can make or break a field expedition. We can all consider ourselves fortunate that Abdelrahman’s experience led to such expert execution of the sights, culture, and daily life in Egypt.
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