Price: $310.00

    Code: 2436

    Directed by Mai Iskander
    2012, 70 minutes
    Purchase: $310| Classroom rental: $125

    From the director of multi-award-winning documentary Garbage Dreams, Words of Witness follows a 22-year-old female reporter for the independent newspaper Egypt Independent , as she covers Egypt's transition to democracy, from the heyday of Tahir Square to Egypt's first free and fair presidential election. Defying cultural and gender norms as well as family expectations, Heba takes to the streets to report, using Facebook posts, tweets, and text messages, on an Egypt in turmoil.

    For thirty years, Egypt was ruled by the oppressive regime of President Hosnu Mubarak. When Mubarak resigned and transferred the power to the Army to lead the country in the transition to democracy, the Tahir Square demonstrators celebrate chanting "The Army and the people will complete the journey". However, as Heba and the nation quickly realize, the struggle for a new order has just begun.

    Despite repetitive arguments with her mother who is fearing for her daughter's life and cautious of respecting women's traditional roles, Heba covers a series of historical events. She interviews parents of missing demonstrators; takes an active part in a thrilling demonstration at the State Security headquarters resulting in the discovery of thousand of classified files on public figures and ordinary citizens kept by the police; gets caught in a tense religious event protesting against the State police who are preventing the rebuilding of a church; witnesses the army, once hailed as the people's liberators, using violence and later torture and taking down demonstrators camps in Tahir Square; and, finally, documents the election process.

    Words of Witness offers a fascinating account of Egypt post-revolution as the nation faces the challenges that lay ahead; as well as a moving portrait of an incredible, fearless young woman, who is now a contributor to The New York Times. Heba's story is an illustration of the critical role social media played in the Arab Spring, as nations are in the process of reinventing themselves and finding their voices.

    Subjects & Collections

    Festivals & Awards

    Berlin lnternational Film Festival, Panorama
    Los Angeles Film Festival, Documentary Competition
    Human Rights Watch Film Festival, Official Selection, New York
    United Nations Association Film Festival, Official Selection


    "A crucial story of modern revolution... The ambitious, articulate Afify bucks native female tradition... as she confidently immerses herself into a series of precarious, post-Mubarak actions and protests" - The Los Angeles Times

    "Raw and fascinating." – Wall Street Journal

    "Words of Witness is a critical film for anyone who wants to understand the post-revolution atmosphere in Egypt and its impact on the average citizen. The film is unique in providing faces to the grassroots movement that started and maintains the revolutionary spirit and shows how Egyptians refuse to remain silent anymore in the face of oppression. But most importantly, the film documents through a realistic and rarely seen lens, the challenges that lay ahead for Egypt and the Egyptian people from their own perspective." – Peace and Collaborative Development Network

    "As a young truth-seeker, an idealist, and female, Heba is very much a heroine for the 21st century." – Slant

    "Beautiful and inspiring." – The Huffington Post

    "The documentary interestingly showed how, through social-media such as Twitter and Facebook, Afify and the other women in her family are allowed to “safely” (according to her mother's standards) enter and dominate what are commonly known as “men only spaces.” In the virtual world, women, young and old, are free to leave political commentary and be outspoken participants and leaders in the revolution." - Muslimah Media Watch

    "This film’s use of a female voice to capture the emotional metamorphosis that the Egyptian masses are experiencing gives the viewer a very real sense of the fragility of the situation but also the hope and excitement that the youth of the country embody. Recommended . " - Educational Media Reviews Online

    " Fascinating... An excellent supplement to a broader curriculum about the world-changing events in the Middle East." – School Library Journal

     width=  width=  width= Recommended . Afify offers a potent look at the newly powerful intersection between social media and a motivated citizenry.” - Video Librarian

    "Words of Witness would make an excellent documentary in a class on the anthropology of news and journalism examining journalism as a process through which people attempt to create narrative order in situations of social ambiguity within a complex set of political, economic and social constraints. An outstanding contribution to the growing body of media accounts of Egypt’s revolution, and the broader ‘Arab Spring.’ - Anthropology Review Database


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