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The Dream of Shahrazad

Director: Francois Verster
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Filming took place between 2010 and 2012 and ran parallel to the events of the Arab Spring in Egypt and Turkey.
Received support from 6 film funding institutions and won more than 6 awards from international film festivals.
Verster is an independent Emmy awarded filmmaker.
The Dream of Shahrazad Poster
2014/ South Africa110 min/ Documentary
Original Title
Helm Shahrazad
The Dream of Shahrazad explores recent social and political events in Turkey and Cairo through the lens of the famous story collection The 1001 Nights (aka Arabian Nights), using the fabled storytelling princess Shahrazad as a metaphor to explore how creativity and political articulation can coincide against oppression. A Turkish youth orchestra conductor uses Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade suite as a tool for political education; a young Lebanese actress reconciles her past by becoming an internet activist in Egypt; an older visual artist finds his "dream of Shahrazad" in the appearance of a beautiful young storyteller; an Alexandrian storyteller together with a Cairean theatre troupe meets with the mothers of martyrs of the Revolution and turns their testimonies into new storytelling performances.
Screenwriter: Francois Verster
DOP: Francois Verster
Editor: Francois Verster
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Production Company(ies)
Middlewest Films
Undercurrent Film and Television
Fireworx Media
Melia Films
Hakaya Regional Network
Shameela Seedat
Neil Brandt
Wael Omar
Lucas Rosant
Didem Pekum
Fleur Knopperts
film festivals
film festivals World premiere at the Amsterdam International Documentary Film Festival, Netherlands
film festivals Sold-out screening at the Human Rights Watch Film Festival in London, UK
film festivals Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival (D-CAF), Egypt
film festivals Arab Film Festival, Brazil
film festivals
film awards
film awards Best Documentary in Progress Award at Sunny Side of the Doc in 2012
Al-Husseini Abu-Deif/Artwatch Africa award for the Best Freedom Film at the Luxor African Film Festival 2015
Best South African Documentary at the Durban International Film Festival
Best Film Award at the Avanca Film Festival in Portugal
Certificate of Appreciation at the Malmo Arab Film Festival in Sweden
Best Documentary Film and Best Directing in a Documentary awards at the South African Film and Television Festival (SAFTA)
“These individual stories may initially seem a bit too kaleidoscopic in their sheer diversity, but Verster manages to foreground his characters’ undaunted desire to keep telling stories and creating art in the face of inhuman oppression.” Savage - LAURIE CHEN