Salma El-Tarzi’s feature documentary on the world of Mahraganat (an emerging style of local music) follows some of the scene’s biggest stars, catching them at tipping point when their lives begin to transform as their fame explodes.
Born in lower-income neighbourhoods of Egypt, Mahragant music transformed the local music scene by recreating and fusing sound in the most unlikely ways.
The genre has not only spread outside of the neighbourhoods from which it came, but has gained a new fan base that includes Egypt’s upper and middle class youth along with an international audience.
El-Tarzi’s documentary tells the tale of one of the most successful Mahraganat groups, the 8%, whose members — Okka, Ortega, Wezza, Sosta and others — hail from the over-populated and underdeveloped Cairene neighbourhood of Matareya.
In the film, the audience is taken on a journey into the daily lives and struggles of the group who have had to deal with unexpected fame, a backlash and rejection from official media, and intra-cultural experiences that would not have been possible had it not been for the music.
The film only received funding midway through production, which also offers the audience another layer of experience as filming switches between a flip-camera to more hi-tech equipment.
Released locally at last year’s D-CAF (Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival) and winner of the Muhr Arab Award for Best Director at the Dubai International Film Festival, the film will finally be shown in local cinemas for one week only, 22-28 April 2015.