Nomad’s HomeBeit Sha’ar
EGYPT, GERMANY, UAE, KUWAIT / 2010 / Arabic, English / Color / Blu-ray (HD) / 61 min
Director, Narration: Iman Kamel
Script: Iman Kamel, Klaus Freund
Photography: Ute Freund
Editing: Klaudia Begic
Sound: Frieder Butzmann
Music: Frieder Butzmann, Kiva Simova (vocals)
Producer: Talal Al-Muhanna
Production Company: Nomad's Home film production www.nomadshome.net
World Sales: linked productions www.talmuhanna.com
A journey through the remote, bleak deserts of the Sinai Peninsula brings the filmmaker into contact with Selema, a female entrepreneur. In a drought-stricken village near Moses Mountain, she was the first girl from her community to attend school. Supported by her husband, she challenges local customs and attempts to bring economic power and education to Bedouin women. The lifestyles of these women, shown from the director’s personal perspective, eventually resonate and overlap poetically with the nomadic past of the director herself, who was born and raised in Egypt and moved from place to place before settling in her current home of Berlin.
[Director’s Statement] “So I sat on the sand and started to knit, and there is sand coming into it, and the warmth of the sun. I felt I was making a pullover, not from the wool alone, but from the whole Sinai. My sufi-wool house on my body, the whole desert Sinai in my house.” (Iman Kamel)
With the film Nomad’s Home, I pay homage to the Bedouin women of the Sinai Peninsula. When I first became acquainted with the Bedouin as an Egyptian woman some 25 years ago, I was enchanted by how much they welcomed me, allowing me to take an active part in their lives. This interaction became most profound with the tribeswoman Selema Gabali, and it is this relationship that forms the basis of the film.
As her family name indicates, Selema Gabali was born in the mountains (“Gabal”) of the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt. She was the first woman in her tribe to break with tradition by finishing her school education and then starting to work by managing a handicraft project involving almost every woman in her tribe, the Al Gabalia. These facts alone make her a pioneer for the rights of the Bedouin women in Sinai—rights she has had to fight for and defend almost her entire life since she was a young girl.
I am not a Bedouin. I was born in the city of Cairo. I am an Egyptian filmmaker from a family of artists. A nonconformist character who left Cairo as a young woman seeking new horizons.
Through this film, however, I have come to discover that Selema and I share a lot in common. We are bound by one passion: that of being a nomad in today’s modern life, seeking to journey towards the unknown—yearning to be enriched by new discoveries.
Born in Cairo, Iman Kamel pursued interdisciplinary studies in art, dance, and film in Berlin. She is always on the move and has traveled extensively in southern African countries and in China. Her short films include Noara (1995), Khadega (1997), Nachiket (2004), The Clouds Are There (2006), and Hologram (2002), which received the Euromed Short Film Award and was released on the internet (www.euromedcafe.org). Kamel founded the Initiative Film Aktiv In School in Berlin to work creatively on projects with young people and immigrants.
Nomad’s Home is Kamel’s first long-form creative documentary. It was a co-production with Kuwaiti producer Talal Al-Muhanna and Enjaaz (UAE). In 2011, the film was screened at the main pan-African film festival, FESPACO, and at the Cairo Documentary Festival, and it won the awards for Best Director and Best Cinematography at the 11th Independent Film Festival in Cairo.