Hip hopumentary wins top prize

Egyptian fly-on-the-wall doc takes Golden Tanit.
Underground art and music combine in award-winning film, Microphone.
Underground art and music combine in award-winning film, Microphone.


Microphone, a film about young hip hop and graffiti artists in Egypt's second city, Alexandria, has scooped the top Golden Tanit award at Tunisia's Carthage Film Festival, showcasing African and Arab cinema.

Directed by Egyptian Ahmad Abdalla, the film impressed with its audacity and youth, announced the jury president, Haitian director Raoul Peck.

"The Golden Tanit is awarded to this film for its boldness, its youth, the reach of its music, the richness of its characters in a society which refuses to grant young musicians the place that they claim," he said.

Director Abdalla said of the film: “I didn’t write a script, I just left the characters to tell me their stories, I didn’t give them any directorial orders on how to move or speak or anything. I think this film is made by them and their stories.”

The film explores the musical counterculture of this vibrant port city, ranging from the hip hop and rap of the Y crew to the rock pop of Massar Egbari and the all girl metal outfit Mascara, who chose to hide their faces from the camera during the whole movie.

The Carthage Film Festival, created in 1966, is held every two years for films with a director of African or Arab origin. Twenty-four long and short films from 11 African and Arab countries were in competition this year.

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