Egyptianizing Egyptian Cinema, 1896-1934

Mohannad Ghawanmeh, Executive Director of Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture
Oct 13, 2022 at


The cinema of Egypt was for decades considered the only industrial cinema in the Arabic speaking world, Hollywood on the Nile as it were. Little, however, is known about the cinema in Egypt prior to its industrialization, often linked to the founding of Studio Misr in 1935. In this talk, Ghawanmeh discusses cinematic activity in Egypt to illustrate how “native” Egyptians gradually realized prominent positions in their county’s cinema by examining complex power relations of the political economy of Egypt’s early cinema presented as a reflexive investigative journey into a modern history of such relevant power relations centered in Egypt and affecting its cinema.

Mohannad Ghawanmeh is the Executive Director of Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture, as well as a scholar, cineaste, educator, and culturist intimately at large. A teacher of communication and media for twenty-five years, Mohannad’s instruction has centered on the cinema, for which he has also written, produced, acted, consulted, programmed, and curated. He is co-founder of the Twin Cities Arab Film Festival produced by Mizna. Mohannad curated the first editions of the Arab American National Museum’s film festival and the Minneapolis/St. Paul Italian Film Festival, as well as the series Melnitz Movies at University of California, Los Angeles. Mohannad is well awarded and published, having earned in 2020 his PhD from UCLA in Cinema and Media Studies. His research of the cinema decidedly examines such intersecting fields as governmentality, migration, nativity, religion, theater, music, literature, industrialization, and modernity typically in the mold of cultural history. Born to Palestinian refugees and an immigrant to the United States, Mohannad has also lived in Egypt, Japan, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia. Mohannad thrives on conjoining education and cultural production, connecting people and places, enriching and inspiring.