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Vanessa McMahon

Vanessa is a novel writer, screenwriter, rep and a film producer. She shares her discoveries and film surprises. :-)



Film Festival News Break...Cairo, Egypt!


I posted this article (below) back in October after having attended the screening of this documentary, Back Door Channels: The Price of Peace (2009), at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival 2010. In light of the recent controversy in Egypt and impinging further contention, I feel that this film could not have been released at a better time, nor can it be more relevant. A fellow filmmaker and Cairo native stated this in regards to the situation as is today: "The difference between Sadat and Mubarak. Sadat extended his hand to a civilian who broke through the barricades to hand him a complaint. Sadat took it gracefully. When that happened again 20 years later... guess what happened to the civilian... well... he is no longer with us."


A high profile Egyptian filmmaker friend of mine (who will remain anonymous), said this as his update in Cairo just a few days ago: "I was trapped between Mubarak looters and the army, so you know, in order to reach Tahrir square every single person's ID must be shown, so if you are police, u were not allowed to enter in order not to allow riots, all women & men got screened, bags were open. That's the way it was yesterday, I was there. How did people on camels, horses & carriages pass the army today? Vodafone smsd all its customers with a message from the army ‘we can never hurt those great people’. There were children, women/men on wheelchairs and even infants at this demo (Check Youtube), it's an awful crime against humanity, killing his own people because they are fed up. It was a peaceful demo that turned into a bloody one.......I'm sorry I tell you all this, but in case anything happens I feel relieved at least someone on the outside knows from somebody on the inside. Please try to increase the awareness of people that this demo was the most civilized in Egypt's history but Mubarak turned it into a bloody one." Okay, this email from my friend gave me the chills.


There can be no question that it is uncertain where this heated situation will lead. There is much trepidation on one side and hope for change on another. One can only pray this leads to an improvement and talks of peace rather than widespread war in the Middle East as many fear. After viewing the film, Back Door Channels: Price of Peace, about the peace process in 1979 between Egypt, Israel and USA, I understood that this is no easy feat when dealing with Middle East affairs. In a world where new generations look forward and old generations hold tenaciously onto the past, where and when will a truce be made? Will it ever? Can the past ever be let go for a brighter and positive future? After viewing this film in Abu Dhabi, an older Palestinian woman held me by the arm firmly and said to me: ‘You are American. You can never understand. We can never forget. We will never forget.’ I do understand that there are places in the world where the country has had to move forward and come to terms with the past to create a brighter future and that there are leaders who can influence their people to do so. Nelson Mandela in South Africa for example. I don’t believe that apartheid is something that should ever be forgotten, but what would have been a better direction than that of where Mandela led his people? No one should ever forget their past and no one should ever ignore the future… Okay, this is the end of my political two cents.


So, where will this new decade take Egypt and the Middle East in the near future? Will we see another Camp David type of situation like that portrayed in
Back Door Channels, Price of Peace? Or, will we see something better? Worse? The world watches and waits.


written by Vanessa McMahon, Feb 06, 2011


My review from October 2010 in Abu Dhabi (below)


Director Harry Hunkele and producer Matthew Tollin make a Q and A for their hot and controversial film at the 2010 Abu Dhabi Film Festival.


Back Door Channels: The Price of Peace (2009).


'Back Door Channels' is a creatively made documentary about the 'back door' (unofficial meetings) Camp David Accords which took place between USA, Egypt and Israel in 1979. It features never before seen footage of the numerous meetings and conferences at the time during the painstaking peace talks and also interweaves contemporary interviews with the then president Jimmy Carter and much more. The film is both poetic and informative interlacing art and CGI effects which add to the story aesthetically and descriptively. Nevertheless, HOT debates and even yelling ensued during the Q and A at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival. Of course, the film touches on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict so that is to be expected when dealing with such a topic, especially while viewed in Arab nations. And while the film is not perfect (which film is?) the fact that it raises so many questions and that it created so much passionate debate afterward, I do not think that these filmmakers could be more proud of this excited and fiery response. It is a film that teaches, illuminates and stirs the emotions viscerally so I would say, job well done guys!


see trailer for 'Back Door Channels: Price For Peace' (2009):



written by Vanessa McMahon Oct 23, 2010



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