Zabaleen, the movie

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A new documentary on the trash picking  Zabaleen community of Cairo may peak the horizon. REORIENT, an online magazine featuring Middle Eastern arts and culture,  this week profiles director and cinematographer Justin Kramer on the two-and-a-half year process of shooting Zabaleen.

photo via REORIENT

Kramer tells the reporter:

I had to spend a lot of time with these families before they trusted me enough. They’re very marginalised. What they do is sort of taboo, and they were reluctant to open up to an American guy who barely speaks the same language’

A moving and naturally-paced excerpt of the film entitled “Mourad’s Morning” can be viewed on VIMEO, which includes the following description:

Mourad’s mornings are all the same. He wakes up at 2am. Then, he fights to get his sons out of bed for an hour before leaving late for his garbage route in Shoubra.

This piece was submitted and accepted into Werner Herzog’s Rogue Film School in London March 2011.

Sounds very promising.

A now-completed Kickstarter campaign includes a brief video message from Kramer and cites the blog The Zabaleen Project as the documentary’s website. It appears to be an interesting compilation of Zabaleen news, including an automated filter for the latest #zabaleen tweets.

Here’s hoping the final product makes the rounds on the film festival circuit and makes its way to screenings we can all attend. In the meantime,  to bone up on Zabaleen issues, check out:

  • everydaytrash.com’s review of the documentary Garbage Dreams,
  • my Q & A with that film’s director,
  • the sad incident a few years ago when the government killed all the Zabaleen’s pigs,
  • NPR’s coverage of the Zabaleen solar cities, and
  • an update on the Garbage Dream boys via an exclusive  interview with an everydaytrash.com correspondent.

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