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First Time Fest (March 1st - 4th, 2013)

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The Best of the Fest (Documentary)


Directed by Fredrik Stanton

      Uprising charts the Egyptian Revolution of 2011 from its inception on January 25 all the way until the brave, enraged Egyptian civilians succeeded in overthrowing dictator Hosni Mubarek and his fascist regime. Director Fredrik Stanton briefly explores the event that became the catalyst for the Egyptian people's anger toward their government that led to the revolution: the police beating to death Khaled Said, an innocent young Egyptian man who merely posted a video of police officers sharing profits in a drug deal. Gruesome images of Said's corpse at the morgue were spread online, and soon many Egyptians became rightfully enraged. As one protestor explains, Said was the camel that broke the camel's back.

      On January 25th, 2011, thousands of Egyptians joined the protest against Mubarak which they found out about through Facebook. They, along with journalists who dared to go against their own government, risked their lives day by day because Mubarak used all the powers of his police state to try to stop the protestors. The police killed and injured many of them, yet the protestors who remained alive continued to march on. One journalist explains how he was arrested and brutally tortured. Protestors describe the violence that went on around them as the police shot civilians and, in one instance, there was even violence between the civilians themselves.

      Uprising unfolds much like a suspense thriller, especially for those who aren't familiar with the details of the Egyptian Revolution. Near the end of the protests, Mubarak shut down Egypt's internet and cell phone service in an attempt to close democracy even further. What happened next was something that the government did not expect: thousands of family members of the protestors traveled to the protests to search for their loved once and, soon enough, joined in their protests, so the revolution grew even larger. Protestors explain the energy, fear and sense of determination that they felt while protesting at Tahrir Square. The footage of the protests that director Fredrik Stanton manages to get ahold of captures the intensity of the revolution. You might find yourself even cheering the Egyptians on and rejoicing when you observe their victory. Stanton's interviews with former and current members of the government (as well as the U.S. government) aren't particularly revealing or surprising; it's the footage and interviews with journalists/activists that most compelling. You'll learn that it's much easier to lose democracy than it is to gain it.

      Uprising could serve as an easy-to-follow guide for American citizens on how to successfully form and implement a revolution to overthrow their government if and when it turns into a dictatorship. History repeats itself if no one learns from it, so hopefully Uprising will be able to help Americans learn from that crucial part of Egyptian history. Otherwise, Americans might become just as complacent as the "good Germans" were during the Nazi regime.

Number of times I checked my watch: 1
Released by Rebellion Films.

The Best of the Fest (Narrative)
      The Israeli drama Urban Tale by writer/director Eliav Lilti takes the cake for the most bold, shocking and provocative film of the festive. It centers around a brother (Barak Friedman) and sister (Noa Friedman) who search for their father who abandoned them when they were very young. Sex, alienation, human connection, loneliness and happiness are among the many themes that the film explores very frankly. Lilti includes so much nudity, emotion and honesty in his narrative feature film debut that you'll think you were watching a French movie. By the time the end credits roll, you won't be able to forget Urban Tale.

    Kudos to director Diego Roguie's film Sal for winning the Grand Prize which includes theatrical distribution by Cinema Libre in LA and/or NYC.

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