Screening at Wekalet Behna's soft opening in 2013 (Photo: Rowan El Shimi)
This Friday, Gudran for Arts and Development in collaboration with Behna Film Selections heir, Basile Behna, will host the first night of the official opening events of Wekalet Behna, an art space focused on audio-visual arts in Alexandria.
The space was once the office of Behna Films Selections, one of Egypt's largest cinema distribution companies between the 1930s and 1950s, and hosts a substantial archive of Egypt's cinematic history, selections of which will later be exhibited in the space.
Wekalet Behna will also serve as a workshop, production, and exhibition space for independent cinema, video, art, and other visual arts in Egypt's second largest city.
"We will host an informal research center and archive, a space for supporting filmmakers equipped with a small show room with production and post production support, along with an exhibition space for visual arts," Abdalla Daif, Gudran's programme manager told Ahram Online.
The opening will take place throughout several events occurring between 14 March and 9 April.
On Friday 14 March, Wekalet Behna will host three exhibitions by three generations of artists: Ali Ashour will present a painting exhibition featuring never-exhibited works from the start of his career, Amr El Sawah will present experimental photography, and Yara Mekkawi will showcase a video art project.
The first event of the opening will also feature a film screening of 'Onshoudet El-Fouad,' one of the first ever spoken films in the region which was recovered by Behna and his sister, Marie-Claude, through receipts they found in their apartment in 2000.
The 12 room apartment in Mansheya has undergone extreme renovations over the past year and a half, which started with a group of 25 volunteers from various countries who spent three weeks in Alexandria. The end of this volunteer work-camp featured a soft opening of the space in January 2013. The project was organised by Cairo-based international peace education organisation CISV and Gudran.
All events start at 6pm in Wekalet Behna.
1 El Kenisa El-Marounia Street, Orabi Sqaure, El-Mansheya, Alexandia
Every Friday between 14 March and 9 April
film screenings: Villa 69, Jews of Egypt, and Rags and Tatters.
Film screenings: Villa 69, Jews of Egypt, and Rags and Tatters.
Tuesday 18 March
Performance by musicians Mizo and Ahmed Saleh (from telepoetic)
Tuesday 25 March
Performance by guitarist Khaled Kaddal and Aksa El Wasat band.
Tuesday 1 April
Performance by Samir Nabil
Tuesday 8 April
Performance by Mahmoud El Soghayar and Ayman Asfour.
Series of talks: Ibrahim El Dousouky on History of Extras in films, Sami Helmy on Alexandrian Cinematography, Ola Seif on The Collective Visual Archive, and lastly Essam Zakaria will give a critical view on the independent film scene.