Looking for Essam Abdullah
Producer: Maartje Alders
Production Company: Hassala Films
In the mid-eighties, a small boy was touched by the unusual lyrics of a song about a meeting between a horse and a man in the middle of the night. This enchantment had a profound impact on his musical taste and it awakened a fascination about the songwriter, Essam Abdullah. Abdullah was a poet who wrote numerous songs in colloquial Egyptian Arabic for many singers and musical groups of the 80s and 90s. This discovery marked the start of a long journey for the boy who embarked to find out about the life of this man when only a newspaper clipping marked Abdullah's death in 1996 later he decided to make a film about him. The director started realizing that a lot of documents and archives pertaining to that period are missing , during his search his own life started to merge into the story in remarkable ways and through weird twists of fate it became clear that it was leading him to a deeper hidden path. Following in the footsteps of Essam Abdullah became the key to start unlocking this era and a way for the director and his crew to retrace and revive their own memories, to know what happened exactly in those days that might have been a very significant point in Egypt's modern history and to understand why their generation is suffering from a collective blockage. Through their search all over Egypt with an ever widening historical landscape, the film becomes a way of trying to cling on to a validation of their existence.
Yasser Naeim was born on 1977 in Cairo where he graduated from Aim Shams University in 1998 with a B.Sc of Commerce. He has always had a passion for storytelling and directing. After enrolling in an Art Lab for Cinema Directing at the American University in Cairo in 2004, Naeim has worked as an assistant director, production manager and later on as a director for several Al Jazeera documentary projects. He chose the independent film route and directed the documentary “Improvisation” in 2010. Yasser has also worked as a scriptwriter for a few local TV series and worked with Ibrahim El Bathout as a co-writer and first assistant director on the film "Winter of Discontent", which was recently screened at Venice. He has finished his script for his 1st. feature film “El Matlooq", produced by Misr International.