Many workers in the film industry, including directors, authors, and actors, have recently broken their silence and declared that they have been marginalized. They said that production companies usually work with a specific group of actors and do not pay attention to anyone outside this limited group.
Veteran actor Farouk Flux, who complained about not working for years and that producers ignored him, led the charge. Renowned actress and TV hostess Najwa Fouad also spoke out in a televised interview and said that she had been suffering for many years from negligence. Actor Tarek Desouky also said that he faced financial crises because he did not work enough as producers ignored him. Prominent actress Hanan Shawky said she featured in several works that had not been released and that production companies used to ignore her for some time, which she described as painful.
Actress Nashwa Mostafa said she had to ask her colleagues for a role in any film or series. Actor Ahmed Azmy also expressed his sadness that filmmakers ignored him after serving his sentence in prison as if they were punishing him, and he appealed to everyone to give him the opportunity to re-participate in the art scene.
Moreover, veteran actor Khaled Zaki announced that he was suffering financially because of the scarcity of work. Actor Sherif Khairallah said that he had to sell his house and car because he had not worked for three years, except in the series “The Choice”. Many stars, such as Nadia El-Gendy, Nabila Ebeid, Abd al-Rahman Abu Zahra, Mahmoud Kabil, and others, also voiced their anger.
This has become the complaint of big stars and people with a long history in the artistic community, whether they are actors, writers, or directors. All of them confirmed that they have been sitting in their homes for a long time without work, which led them to sadness and depression, and their feeling of death while they were alive as if they had declared their artistic and creative bankruptcy and their faces and names became unwelcome by the masses. We reopen this file that we talked about many times to no avail. We hope this time that whoever is in charge will move to open several fields to accommodate these great artists who add value to any work with their inherent talents and years of experience.
Director Mohamed Fadel said the issue of directors, writers, and actors who did not work for a long time became widespread. The problem must be considered and quick solutions must be found so that people do not lose hope in their lives. Depression and mental illnesses became so common among artists. As for myself, I have not worked for 10 years, before I recently directed the series “The Crying Laugher” about the life of Najeeb Al-Rayhani.
He believes the Coronavirus pandemic contributed to the current crisis, as well as the instability that followed the revolution. Thus, it must be noted that production conditions in Egypt cannot be reformed except by preventing monopoly and the return of all production companies to work again in order to open the doors of livelihood for all those who suffer from lack of work. What I would like to emphasize is that artists do not retire as long as they are able to work. There are great artists who died standing on stage or in studios.
Ashraf Zaki, the chief of the Actors’ Syndicate, said that there is a difference between working conditions and material conditions, and that the syndicate is doing its best to provide its members with medical and social support, and strives to provide job opportunities for all its members.
“We are always in contact with production companies for that goal. We are optimistic about the role of the United Production Company as it stimulated the art production market, which began to attract producers after the success of the previous season, and therefore artistic projects will increase, offering jobs to a larger number of actors,” Zaki said.
“The problem of unemployment among artists is not new, and we tirelessly search for solutions. The situation began to improve, as TV series increased in the past year. Even historical works returned. We all followed what Khaled Al-Nabawi presented in the wonderful “Imam” series, whose events revolved around the life of Imam Al-Shafi’i in Egypt,” he added.
He emphasized that the Syndicate is preparing to implement the critic Tariq Al-Shennawi’s proposal to hold concerts whose income will be poured into a special fund for the care of artists and their families. We have submitted a draft law to improve the conditions of artists, but some provisions have been rejected. We will resubmit the law to the competent parliamentary committee again because this is what will improve conditions for artists in general.
CriticMahmoud Qassem said that for nearly 15 years, many of the great stars in the various fields of art have been suffering from unemployment, and many of them suffer financially, except for those who paid attention to their condition and knew from the beginning that you cannot rely on art so they set up special projects that help them to Dealing with the costs of life. I will not forget what happened with the late writer Mustafa Muharram, who was brilliant in helping the poor, and when he stopped working, he stopped his habit of helping the needy, and his financial situation became bad until he passed away. There are many directors who have been suffering for several years from not working and production companies have turned away from them.
Hence, production companies that have achieved some success and stopped a while ago must be encouraged to return to the artistic market by providing them with new works. We must overcome all obstacles for producers, open doors for them, and help them enter new markets. This is in addition to encouraging new talents in writing. This is instead of the workshop projects that did not add anything of value to the art scene. Great writers whose works fill the drawers of their desks must be sought. For example, Majdy Saber. They ignored this great creator deliberately to give more opportunities to those who do not have real talent. On the other hand, the radio and television festival, through which Egypt was the pioneer in the region, must be restored, and the prestige of the television building must also be restored. Finally, we have to restore the Children’s Cinema Festival, which used to encourage a wide sector to produce in the world of children’s cinema, but we import now the children art which results in many dangers.