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Young adults up close
Published in The Egyptian Gazette on 04 - 09 - 2012

Have you ever thought of documenting your daily life on video? Have you ever imagined your life being turned into a video broadcast on a TV channel?
Would you have the courage to reveal every detail of your personal life, talking freely to millions of viewers?
‘Rayheen ala Feen?' (Where are we Going?) is the first real-life Egyptian programme, with Alhurra Television taking the unique step of documenting the lives of young adults.
Alhurra looks at the future of our youth by focusing on Egyptians, both men and women, from very different social and economic backgrounds. The only things they have in common is that they are all in their twenties and live in Cairo.
Sondos, never at a loss for words, is an outspoken advocate for the rights of women. She lives in the upper-middle class district of Moqattam, eastern Cairo, with her mother.
After participating in the protests in Tahrir Square, the 26-year-old left her job as a journalist to become a human rights activist and theatre director.
Veiled by choice, Sondos, who has an eclectic group of friends from a variety of socio-economic backgrounds, feels strongly that there is no place for religion in politics.
Then there is Islam, 29, an exuberant and outspoken taxi driver, who prefers the company of women. He lives in Ain Shams with his wife and daughter.
Since the Egyptian revolution, Islam has witnessed several violent attacks in his neighbourhood and his taxi was stolen. As a result, he has become fearful for his safety. He is extremely focused on paying off his debts, so he can move his family to a safer community.
Mario, a 26-year-old doctor who works at a number of Christian hospitals as well as a State-run hospital, is the third person on the show. He is an artist at heart and finds his escape from daily pressures through painting.
He still lives in Ain Shams with his parents, who prohibited him from participating in the protests that led to the revolution, even though his family supported it. Mario has contemplated moving out of Egypt for new opportunities.
As for Hanan, she is unique, having struggled her entire life. When she was a girl, her father walked out on her family, forcing her to leave school and help support her mother and two sisters by working at a tourist attraction.
Following the decline in tourism and the increase in random violence in Cairo since the revolution, Hanan has had difficulty keeping a job and is currently unemployed.
Living in Imbaba with her mother and sisters, she looks to the future and dreams of owning a clothing store, getting married one day and moving into a larger home.
Zoghby, who represents Egypt's upper class; lives in Garden City with his family. The 27-year-old McDonalds advertising executive has a passion for horseback riding and dreams of one day competing in the Olympics like his cousin.
In the early days of the demonstrations in Tahrir Square, he was among the protesters. However, he quickly became disenchanted.
He feels that former president Mubarak should have been given the opportunity to complete his term in office. A global traveller, Zoghby has a wide circle of friends and would one day like to open his own restaurant.
‘Rayheen ala Feen?' highlights topics that affect Egyptians from every walk of life. The programme gives viewers the opportunity to watch and listen while the cast deal with these issues in their daily lives.
Topics addressed on the show include the elections and the candidates, the Egyptian revolution, sexual harassment, and unemployment and the economy, as well as the participants' personal dreams and attitude towards marriage.
Each episode leaves audiences asking: ‘Where are we going?'
“By focusing on five young adults, the channel view a cross-section of Egyptian society revealing their hopes, dreams, fears and challenges as they go about their daily lives.
“‘Rayheen ala Feen?' is at times humorous and dramatic but always poignant," says Fran Mires, an executive producer at Alhurra TV, who brought the team together to produce the programme.
"I have no doubt that these five individuals will capture the heart of the audience... each person has his or her own compelling story. ‘Rayheen ala Feen?' shows them in their homes, at work and on the streets of Cairo," adds Mires.
The channel's crew began by choosing the right production company to partner with for the show. They selected Film Clinic, one of Egypt's leading production companies, known for creating unique feature films and documentaries.
“Working with this channel has been a real partnership. Their unbiased and professional guidance and support has enabled Film Clinic to do the best job it can," says Mohamed Hefzi, Film Clinic screenwriter and producer.
Mires and Hefzi began building a team to work on the programme, choosing young, up-and-coming director Tamer Ezzat, who won several awards at international film festivals.
His last film was ‘The Good', one part of the three-part documentary Tahrir 2011: The Good, The Bad and The Politician, which has wan several awards in a number of local and international film festivals, and was premiered in last year's Venice Film Festival.
“The experience is an interesting one, but a hard one as well. Although at the beginning I thought that directing the show would be no more difficult than documentaries, going deep into the personal lives of a group of young Egyptians and attempting to get this across in a harmonised manner has been exhausting and challenging," says Ezzat.
“We have had to overcome a lot of difficulties to be able to produce a show that meets our high standards. I am thrilled with the final outcome of the programme. It's impressive."
Alhurra TV will launch
‘Rayheen ala Feen?' at 9pm
on Saturday 8 September.

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