A conversation with Tamer El Said, director of In The Last Days of the City


IN THE LAST DAYS OF THE CITY is the debut feature of filmmaker Tamer El Said. It tells the fictional story of a filmmaker from downtown Cairo played by Khalid Abdalla (The Kite Runner, The Square) as he struggles to capture the soul of a city on edge while facing loss in his own life. Shot in Cairo, Beirut, Baghdad and Berlin during the two years before the outbreak of revolution in Egypt, the film’s multi-layered stories are a visually rich exploration of friendship, loneliness, loss and life in cities shaped by the shadows of war and adversity.

Below is Cinema Without Borders video interview with Tamer El Said about IN THE LAST DAYS OF THE CITY:

The world premiere of the film was in the 2016 Berlinale, where it received the Caligari Film Prize. Since then, the film has been invited to over 120 festivals around the world, receiving more than 12 international awards from France, Germany, the USA, Poland, Italy, Russia, Argentina and Turkey.

Since its world premiere, IN THE LAST DAYS OF THE CITY has been well received by the international and Arab critics and was included on a number of lists of Best Films of the year. The film won the Critics Award for Best Arab Film in 2016, announced during the Cannes Film Festival. The jury of this award was made up of 24 critics from 15 countries, including Jay Weissberg (Variety) and Deborah Young (The Hollywood Reporter).

The film has found distribution in ten countries, including France, UK, Germany, USA, Poland, Lebanon, Morocco, UAE and Tunisia. Unfortunately, the film was never allowed to be seen in Egypt as the censors refused to issue a permit to screen the film.

Tamer El Said, director of  IN THE LAST DAYS OF THE CITY is a filmmaker living between Berlin and Cairo where he was born in 1972. He studied filmmaking and journalism and went on to make many documentaries and short films that received several international and local awards. He was also teaching at the High Cinema Institute in Cairo between 1999 and 2003. In 2002, he took on the role of Senior Producer and Artistic Consultant for Nile Productions, moving across to Hot Spot Films in Dubai in 2003. His time as Senior Producer at Hot Spot saw the company expanded dramatically, producing

250 documentaries in 58 countries, and winning several international awards. Tamer founded Zero Production in 2007 to produce independent films. He is also a founder of Cimatheque – Alternative Film Centre in Egypt, a multipurpose space that provides facilities, training and programing for the independent filmmaking community. El Said has also run mentoring workshops in many international film and art spaces including, among others, the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) in London, the School of the Art Institute in Chicago (SAIC) and Silent Green in Berlin.


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