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The Tentmakers of Cairo

010_00 / 6 May 2016


The Tentmakers of Cairo, 2015

2 mins 41 secs


Each of the tentmaker's shops opens out onto the street like a cocoon of colour bursting in contradiction to the dust and dirt of the street. The men sit on long benches in the doorway, one foot protruding from underneath a large piece of yellow canvas, a plank of plywood acting as a back rest. Each hunched over, quickly placing accurate stitches into ornate Islamic designs easily found in the mosques and ancient buildings that inhabit the surrounding area.


After 18 days of unrest in early 2011, amidst chants for 'Bread, Freedom and Justice', Hosam, his brother Ekramy, and stitchers Hany and Tarek all find themselves thrown into an unknown and unpredictable world as President Mubarak's 40 year rule is brought to an end. Rejoicing and celebrations for the revolution soon turn to conflict and our small street, a microcosm of Egyptian society, is infiltrated by the propaganda, rumours and paranoia that constantly blares from television sets, radios and mobile phones in each and every shop.


Survival is no longer about the need of the market as a whole, but about each individual. Soon our heroes find themselves pitted against each other, as shops are burnt to the ground, traditions walked away from and poverty becomes more and more real.

About the author

Kim Beamish

Kim Beamish is an award winning Australian filmmaker who has recently spent the last three years living in Cairo, Egypt, documenting the effects of Egypt's revolution and ongoing turmoil on a community of ordinary Egyptians. He studied at the Victorian College of the Arts, Film and Television School after having spent many years volunteering with community television station Channel 31 as well as working with Open Channel and Ska Tv in Melbourne, Australia. In 2006 Kim co-produced the film JUST PUNISHMENT about the fight to save Van Nguyen from execution for drug smuggling in Singapore. Kim is presently researching new projects as well as working as a journalist and running his small production company, Non'D'Script.