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Interview: Director Jehane Noujaim Faces Chaos in Cairo to Film ‘The Square’

Jehane Noujaim, director of "The Square"

Jehane Noujaim, director of The Square

UPDATE 8/17/14: Jehane Noujaim wins two Emmys for her documentary The Square, which won 3 Awards at the Creative Arts Emmys 2014! Jehane won the Emmy for Outstanding Directing for Nonfiction Programming. Noujaim was awarded a second Emmy Award for Cinematography for Nonfiction Programming along with her other three Directors of Photography: Muhammed Hamdy, Ahmed Hassan and Cressida Trew. The editing team for The Square—Pedro Kos, Christopher de la Torre and Mohamed El Manasterly—were awarded an Emmy for Outstanding Picture Editing for Nonfiction Programming. Congratulations, Jehane and The Square team!

UDPATE 1/25/14: Jehane Noujaim wins Directors Guild of America award for The Square.

UPDATE 1/16/14: Netflix ‘original’ documentary The Square lands Oscar nomination.

By Patricia Caso/January 10, 2014
Photo Credit: Noujaim Films

Jehane Noujaim is an Egyptian-American director currently on the Oscar shortlist for The Square, her fifth feature-length documentary. For two years, danger and chaos were part and parcel of  her quest to chronicle Egypt’s 2011 uprising in Tahrir Square. Undaunted, Jehane (@JehaneNoujaim) and her team followed the emotional stories of activists Ahmed, Aida, Khalid, Magdy, Ragia and Ramy.

“If audiences can feel like they experienced a revolution live, experience being in Tahrir Square, and what it felt like to be in the shoes of Ahmed, we will feel like we would have accomplished something.”  Jehane Noujaim

After seeing this film, I was taken by the courage it took for Jehane to so personally depict what she calls “the civil rights movement of our time.” I grabbed some time with her by phone to learn more about her direction and vision for this thought-provoking  film…  [Read more…]

TOP 10: Amazing Human Shield Forms Around Female Protesters in Tahrir Square

Egyptian men surround women protesters/buzzfeed.com

Amazing Human Shield Forms Around Female Protesters in Tahrir Square: Ellie Hall–buzzfeed.com–7/3/13

TOP 10: Syrian Mother Fighting on the Front Lines

Syrian Mother Fighting on the Front Lines/abcnews.go.com

Syrian Mother Fighting on the Front Lines: Lama Hasan–abcnews.go.com–2/6/13

TOP 10: The Land of Invisible Women

The Invisible Women of Yemen/Photo: Abbie Trayler-Smith/Panos

The Land of Invisible Women: Janine di Giovanni–dailybeast.com–12/13/12–Photo: Abbie Trayler-Smith/Panos

TOP 10: After the Arab Spring

Robin Wright, author and journalist

After the Arab Spring: Robin Wright–latimes.com–12/12/12

Top 10: Egyptian Women Continue to Call for Real Change

Egyptian Women Call for Real Change

Egyptian Women Continue to Call for Real Change: unwomen.org–2/12/12


“Egyptian Journalist Told CNN: It’s an Uprising not Chaos”–1/30/11

Mona Eltahawy

UPDATE:  1/20/12–Women Leaders Swap Experiences at Yahoo “Change Your World Day” in Cairo

UPDATE: 11/25/11–Mona Eltahawy On Being Detained

UPDATE: 11/24/11–Mona Eltahawy Alleges Sexual Assault in Egypt Detention

Mona on Twitter 2/11/11:A million thanks for millions of kind thanks from all over! So happy entire world is celebrating with us! Wonderful global moment! #Jan25

Mona Eltahawy has been blogging, tweeting, and writing about conditions in Egypt from America as events have been unfolding. You may have seen her on CNN, the BBC, MSNBC, and many media outlets giving her thoughts about the situation in her homeland. When CNN referred to the rioting in Egypt this week as chaos and unrest, she was the first to insist that they call it an uprising or a revolution. (see video below).

Mona Eltahawy: Photo from Leil-Zahra Mortada

Women of Egypt by Leil-Zahra Mortada/Facebook

Mona emphatically states that her people want freedom and that this is an historic moment. The Tunisians’ quest for liberty unleashed Arab imagination and made them see that they could do it. She says that this is the best time in her life and to be mindful of the positive.

Take a look at what Mona had to say to CNN and follow her reports for a passionate Egyptian’s view on conditions in her country and her hopes for the future.

On MSNBC’s Dylan Ratigan Show Mona declared that it’s too late for President Mubarak. She called the revolt “Egypt’s Berlin Wall.” Her people want dignity and moral support, she says, and are asking not to be rescued. The huge gathering for the “March of Millions”, the biggest crowd in Egyptian history, is an indication of how much the people want new leadership.

UPDATE 2/2/11–Mona on Twitter: ” Felt bad at short notice but this is historic time. They terminated my visiting prof contract. I choose #Egypt revolution.”

UPDATE 2/4/11–Mona gave an interview to NPR today on Women’s Vital Role in Egypt

After the week of protests in Egypt, Mona continued her television appearances on Real Time with Bill Maher Friday. At 43, she reiterates that she’s the happiest she’s ever been. She believes that freedom fever will spread, that their “Berlin Wall” which she equates to the Mubarak regime, will fall.

UPDATE–2/11/11–Mona is interviewed on the Dylan Ratigan Show after Mubarak resigns; she says that today is their “Berlin Wall.” They want to look over that wall now. The beautiful, peaceful revolution makes it clear that they want civilian rule. Now is the time for regular Egyptian people to be in charge. They’ve been under the military since 1952. She’s confident that her sisters and brothers will free themselves from military rule.

UPDATE–2/11/11–Mona appears on the Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC and reacts emotionally to the resignation of Mubarak and talks about how she feels on this historic day.

There are more amazing photos on Facebook of Women of Egypt and sawtalniswa.com like the one under Mona’s picture that are being collected and shared by Leil-Zahra Mortada. Read the Atlantic’s editorial on “Why the Kiss Picture is So Radical” and see the incredible photo of an Egyptian woman kissing a riot police officer.

Here are more pictures of Egyptian Women protesting: amazingwomenrock.com. Time.com has a terrific slideshow of photos: Islam’s Soft Revolution Led By Cairo Women.

To give you an idea of the level of revolt in Egypt and the tremendous zeal of its people, take a look at this video that’s been circulating in huge numbers on youtube. It’s by Tamer Shaaban and is called “Egypt January 25.”

The Los Angeles Times on 2/10/11 includes an amazing video of a crowd singing which is captioned “the National Anthem like you’ve never seen it sung before.” It’s included in a story about the new wave of citizen journalists who have been chronicling the unrest.

Here’s a video two hours after Mubarak’s resignation. It’s called “The Revolution Victorious.”