In An Interview with TV Presenter Mona El Shazly
Producer Hisham Abdel Khalek Reveals Details on the Most Expensive Film Ever Made, Al-Mammar
Producer Hisham Abdel Khalek, Founder of Al Masa Art Production, appeared as a guest on CBC's Maakom Mona El Shazly TV show, where he revealed exclusive behind-the-scenes secrets about the production stages of his latest film, Al-Mammar (The Passage). The film is the most expensive film ever made in the Egyptian film industry with a budget of over EGP 100 million. Abdel Khalek talked about the difficult and funny situations he experienced with the films he previously produced, including Tito, Taymour W Shafika and El Gezira.
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On the idea of Al-Mammar, Abdel Khalek says, Â“The idea of making a film about the 1967 War was a dream that I have always been chasing. My aim was to present an epic war film, a genre that has almost disappeared from Egyptian cinema, with modern technologies. In 2014, I talked with director Sherif Arafa, whom I collaborated with in four films before, and I found out that he has been chasing the same dream. He told me that he has an uncompleted story about a passage from defeat to victory.Â”
Abdel Khalek added, Â“The first step was visiting the Department of Morale Affairs of the Egyptian Armed Forces that approved providing logistics support to the film. Two months before the beginning of filming, all the film cast went to the El Sa'ka Academy, an Egyptian military academy, in Inshas village, to receive intense military weapon training. They have shown great excitement and willingness.Â”
Producer Abdel Khalek denied that the film tells the story of Egyptian military hero Ibrahim al-Rifa'i, saying that his life story is intended for another project, and that he and the filmÂ’s director agreed that his life was full of action as he conducted daily raids on Israel. We wanted a film that tells a dramatic life story mixed with military heroism.
Al-Mammar is written and directed by Sherif Arafa. The film is co-scripted by Songwriter Amir Teima, who also wrote the original songs for the film. The film takes place during the 1967 war and until the beginning of the War of Attrition.
Featuring an all-star cast, Al-Mammar stars Ahmed Ezz, Ahmed Rizk, Eyad Nassar, Ahmed Falawkas, Mohamed Farrag, Ahmed Salah Hosny, Mohamed El Sharnouby, Mohamed Gomaa, Mahmoud Hafez, Ameer Salah Eldin, Asmaa Aboul Yazeed, and the new face Alhan El-Mahdy. The film also brings together Hend Sabry, Sherif Mounir, Enaam Salousa, and Hagag Abdel Azim as guest stars. The film score is composed by music composer Omar Khairat. The crew also includes DOP Ayman Abu El Makarem, Production Designer Basel Hossam and Sound Engineer Ahmed Abdel Khalek. An American crew was employed to choreograph the battle scenes.
Al-Mammar was filmed over the course of three months in five cities; Suez, South Sinai, Aswan, Ismailia and Cairo. The production company constructed all the sets for the film, as the Egyptian Armed ForcesÂ’ Department of Morale Affairs offered shooting locations, and set designers were employed to construct exact replicas of the sets.
This is the fifth collaboration between Al Masa Art Production and director Sherif Arafa after El Gezira, El Gezira 2, Welad el-Amm and Fool el Seen El Azeem.