‘CairoLapse’ Celebrates Egypt’s Chaotic Beauty

‘CairoLapse’ Celebrates Egypt’s Chaotic Beauty


For many tourists, Egypt’s chaotic beauty is hard to miss: from the constant car horns to the bustling markets and overly welcoming people. Yet, for many living in Egypt, this beauty is often forgotten.

Aiming to challenge this, Hisham Moll created “CairoLapse”, a short film that explores the liveliness of Cairo, its culture, heritage and people. Ahead of the short film’s release (the video above is a trailer), Egyptian Streets spoke with Hisham Moll about why he made “CairoLapse”.

What does Egypt mean to you?

What does Egypt mean to me. This is difficult to answer. There is a quote by Pope Shenouda III that nails a response to this question. He said, “Egypt is not a country we live in but a country that lives within us.” That quote really stuck with me because I never realized how much Egypt has done for me. It shaped my creativity; and it’s what inspired me to create a project like “CairoLapse” to showcase its beauty in culture and heritage.

About a year ago, I released a short film called “TampaLapse”. That was my first real timelapse/hyperlapse film I created and I got such a positive response for it. I knew I wanted to give something back to Egypt, I just didn’t know what it would be yet. But after “TampaLapse”, I instantly knew what my next project would be. I couldn’t wait to go back to Egypt and start working on “CairoLapse”.

Why did you decide you had to work on “CairoLapse”?

Egypt just has so much art, culture and flavor. We Egyptians living in Cairo really do take it for granted. “CairoLapse” has taken me to places I’ve never been to before like the Monastery of Saint Simon, also known as the Cave Church because it is located inside a mountain in Mokattam. When I first heard about it, I was shocked. “How did I never hear about this place?” I asked myself. I really was amazed by the structure of it.

I also hadn’t been to the top of the Cairo Tower in at least a decade. And when I went there to film, it gave me a whole new perspective of Cairo I’ve never seen before. And that’s what I wanted to do with my film: to give my audience a perspective they haven’t seen before of Cairo with timelapse photography.

Did you face any difficulties while filming?

This is a funny question because the difficulties were always there. Every shoot day a new problem arose. From mother-nature’s scorching summer heat waves to dealing with officials for filming rights. As the saying goes, if I got a nickel for every time I heard the word “tasree7” (permit), the budget of this project would pay itself off. There was a lot of “sketchy stuff” (as my friend Ahmed would put it) that a friend and I had to do in order to get the shots I needed. We worked our way up random buildings to get the right viewpoints, and even made deals with strangers to use their apartment balconies for shots I wanted. I kept reminding myself to do what you have to do to get the shot you want.

Where will you go from here/when will the project be complete?

I am currently working on narrative short film script and plan to begin the production process in Egypt during my visit in Summer 2016. Other than that, right now my focus is on “CairoLapse”, and plan to finish and release the film in early October.

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