Wednesday June 7th, 2023
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13-Year-Old Egyptian Martyr Inspires Khaled Aboulnaga Film Everyone's Talking About

'The Unknown Sweet Potato Seller', also featuring Tara Emad, is screening at the Dubai International Film Festival, and may even be on its way to the Oscars.

Staff Writer

With loads of films swarming the screens of the 2016 Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) – happening from December 7th to the 14th – a particular Egyptian film starring Khaled Aboulnaga and Tara Emad has the entire Internet talking – The Unknown Sweet Potato Seller. It follows the story of 13-year-old Omar Salah, the boy whose face remains immortalised through graffiti on Mohamed Mahmoud, who would push his sweet potato cart from Opera Square in Zamalek, along Qasr El Nile bridge, and in the affluent neighbourhood of Garden City. His death at the hands of the Armed Forces was eventually ruled off as an accident, which is where this movie comes in. The film features the story of an artist who is investigating Omar Salah's murder, and is haunted by nightmares that lead him to another world he had no clue about. A unique form of animation, it will be laced with themes of post-revolutionary trauma, how it was represented in the media, and how the state chose to deal with youth and protestors. The film being screened at the DIFF qualifies it for the Muhr Awards – an intense competition between short films, documentaries, and feature films, all from the Middle East and Arab world. The Muhr Award winners are eligible for Oscar nominations, which is where we're hoping to see The Unknown Sweet Potato Seller – a film that not only revolutionised animated filmmaking in Egypt, but tells the story of the invisible and marginalised groups of Egypt while highlighting Egypt's sociopolitical changes.Follow up with their news and support the motherland's participation on Facebook!

Graffiti image by @MO4Network's #MO4Productions.
Photographer: Ezz El Masry