Sunday, May 11, 2008

Pangea Day - Cairo, Egypt

Let's start by the official introduction to the Pangea Day event, the one that is printed in their Media Guide and Press Releases.
Pangea Day is a global event bringing the world together through film. On May 10, 2008, live events in Cairo, Kigali, London, Los Angeles, Mumbai, and Rio de Janeiro will be linked to produce a 4-hour program of powerful films, live music, and visionary speakers. The program will be broadcast live to millions of people worldwide through the internet, television, and mobile phones.

In 2006, filmmaker Jehane Noujaim won the TED Prize, an annual award granted at the TED Conference, which honors three individuals with the potential to change the world. She was granted $100,000 and more important: A wish to change the world. She wished to create a day in which the world came together through film. Pangea Day grew out of that wish.
Ok, enough about the official stuff, as you can find more information about the Event in their site.


As as author in Global Voices Online, they offered to give me a ticket in order to attend the Pange Day event, in fact it was a Press Pass. To tell you the truth, I wasn't really sure that I'll attend the event, may be because most of the fellow bloggers were not going to show up, and also I thought that it's going to be a small not well organized event, at least here in Egypt. But you know what, what am I going to loose!?


I reached the Pyramids, at about 8:00 PM. There I realized that it is not going to be a small nor a not well organized event at all. There were Egyptian policemen organizing the flow and showing people the way using some hand held lights. And after seeing my Press Pass, they put a VIP sticker on my car, that gave me access to the VIP area later on, thanks to GVO ;)


The Egyptian actor "Khaled Abu El Naga" presented the event, he started by giving an introduction about the event, and Jihan Noujaim, the documentary film director who have a mixture of Egyptian and Lebanese origins, and how TED (Technology Entertainment Design) made her wish come true. He also described the word "Pangea", which is what our World was called thousands - or may be millions - of years ago when it wasn't divided into continents yet, and hence came the name as a symbol to bringing people from different countries and cultures close to each other. Then after this short introduction it was time for the Egyptian band "West El Balad", which means "Down Town", to get on the stage.


Let me tell you something, I've never been to any of "West El Balad" concerts before, especially that many of my friends have attended their concerts especially those they used to give in "El Sawy Cultural Wheel". Anyway, I listened to many of their songs before, but I never really liked them that much, but you know, it seems that when you listen to them in a live concert you are going to like their music, also you know, the scene of the pyramids in the background while they were singing was really magnificent.


By they way, Noujaim's parents were there attending in the first row.


Later on they started to air scenes of those concurrent events taking place in the other four cities. I liked that expression, when one of the hosts shown on the screen compared the event to a "Huge Camp Fire". Then people such as Christiane Amanpour, Queen Nour of Jordan, and many other gave short speeches.

As you know, the main part of the event, was those 24 films that were going to be shown.
The 24 winning short films have been selected from an international competition that generated more than 2,500 submissions from 100+ countries. They were chosen based on their ability to inspire, transform, and allow us see the world through another person's eyes. The winning films will be announced in late April.
So they started to show them, one after the other, with various people giving shot speeches in between. During that the waiters started to put food on the tables.


In fact, I didn't like the movies that much, they were some how, ehmm, too amateur to my taste. And may be that's why after a couple of hours I started to get really bored and decided to leave.


But before leaving, I wanted to have a look at the non VIP area, it was almost empty compared to the VIP one, may be more than half of the seats were empty. But may be it wasn't there from the beginning and people decided to leave in the middle. One more thing that I noticed was that big percentage of the people there were foreigners.


That's all folks for today, and you may find more photos of the event on my flickr account here. You can also read Ricardo Jordão Magalhaes' impressions on Pangea Day from Brazil here.


P.S. While writing this post there is a show on the TV called Creature Comforts, I really want to know how can someone create something that silly and ridiculous!

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