Hate Your City
THE FILM - Overview
"There's no such place as home."
What is it like to be in exile? No one knows that feeling better than an expat. At the onset of Egypt’s 2011 Revolution, a Greek immigrant turned aspiring ‘freedom fighter’ has a brutal encounter with secret police in Cairo. He retreats to his forgotten hometown of Athens, where he's forced to confront the society from which he was outcast ten years before, just as it erupts into chaos...
Hate Your City is a surrealistic dark comedy/urban war drama which employs real footage of the uprisings in both capitals of Cairo and Athens.
Hi, everyone. My name is Niko Volonakis.
While briefly back home in Athens in the summer of 2010, I shot some footage of the city on a mini DV cam and came up with the concept of this film. I wrote the first draft of a script upon going back to school in San Francisco, further developing the idea with my close friend from Cairo and fellow filmmaker, Taher Medhat, both of us drawing on our own cultural backgrounds and immigrant experience.
Interestingly enough, Taher moved back to Egypt a few weeks before January 25th, when the insurrection went into full swing. Throughout the course of writing in late winter 2010 and early 2011, the real life occurrences in both Egypt and Greece changed the content of the film drastically. All the while, Taher and I communicated regularly on Skype, continuing our development of the storyline as he kept me updated on the real events unfolding directly outside his home. We decided there would be no better time to shoot in both Cairo and Athens.
By the time I arrived in Greece to shoot during the summer of 2011, the country was in the middle of its own uprising. Neither Taher nor I knew what was going to happen, but regardless of the outcome, our plans to film in both countries remained.
The production of this film so far has been hyper-real, a fictionalized film being shot as a documentary, with our cinematographers wearing gas masks. The results are as extraordinary as they are unpredictable. Case in point, as shown in the trailer, a cop looks directly into the camera and points after throwing a tear gas canister. In reality, the 'crowd control device' was aimed at me in an attempt to cease the filming. (I can only assume he felt his uniform made his thighs look fat on camera.) Little did he know, he gave me one of my better shots of the day. Conversely, we had a beautiful experience shooting in Tahrir Square, because we were able to combine our artistic goal with actually participating in peaceful demonstrations.
So far, everything we've shot has been produced by my working at various jobs to make ends meet. But all of us involved believe this film is important enough that many others will be passionate about what we're doing and take a personal interest in seeing it to its completion.
Our goal of $4,500 for our first round of campaigning (follow-up campaigns for production, post-production and distribution will be announced) is to finance this next period of 'docu-filming', live sound recordings, website development and actor auditions, as well as shooting three key scenes on location this summer. This includes: equipment rentals, transportation costs, actor and crew expenses, software, storage, and additional medical supplies for crew due to the conditions in which we'll be shooting. We've set 4,500 as our goal, but any monies we raise will be greatly appreciated and put to good use. This is our first attempt at a campaign, so we see it as a learning process. Many thanks to all who stop here.
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