Inspiration from Umm Kulthum and Egypt at Camp 2013

Posted On:
28 July, 2013
Al-Bustan Camp

In July we had a wonderful two weeks of camp…many exciting things happened with an amazing group of campers, teachers, and staff. UMM KULTHUM’s imagery, music, and life story permeated throughout camp.

Arabic with Brahim El-Guabli: Campers learned the Arabic alphabet and an array of vocabulary, phrases and themes related to Um Kulthum and the social life and environment of Egypt.

Singing and Percussion with Hafez Kotain: Campers learned a medley of Umm Kulthum songs, along with a variety of Arab rhythms and percussion arrangements.

Visual Art with Tremain Smith: Through the mixed media of drawing, painting, printmaking, and collage, campers created self-expressive artwork inspired by Um Kulthum’s life and the countryside and cityscape of Egypt. Some campers created a collective Arabic alphabet quilt .

Science with Hope Willoe: Campers learned about the natural environment of Egypt including plants, animals, and sea creature native to the region, while exploring the Wissahickon Creek Valley.

Drama with Justin Poole: Through improvisation, storytelling excercises, and dramatic techniques, campers created original scenes based on Um Kulthum’s life story and their own lives.

Video with Nadia Awad: Teen campers learned to storyboard, shoot and edit film, with a critical analysis of news media and documentary films and discussions of current issues in Egypt.

You can read more about what happened daily at camp on Al-Bustan’s Blog.

Watch a clip of campers singing a medley of Umm Kulthum songs, led by music teacher Hafez Kotain.

Video Produced by Teen Campers: ABS News At Ten

Over the two weeks (9 days) at Al-Bustan Camp 2013, teen campers spent half their day in video-making with media educator/filmmaker Nadia Awad, who describes the experience as follows:

This year’s teen video was inspired by the satirical news show, The Daily Show, and Bassem Yousef’s Al-Barnameg. The students had a distinct interest in comedy and narrative film, which was evident from the first class, and they created the concept, drafted script, shot the video with a greenscreen, and edited it using found footage and graphics.

Our class focused on three different threads: understanding the significance of Egypt to world cinema, in particular Umm Kulthum’s unique historical role; cultivating a critical media lens by looking at experimental, documentary, and new media pertaining to Egypt and the latest uprisings; and learning technical skills in video production and post-production. Each day we focused on a specific topic – lighting, point-of-view, camera angles/shots – and addressed each topic from these three threads.

For the first week, we focused on understanding and looking critically at media and building basic technical skills with camera and sound. The second week, the students conducted research for their video. We discussed the ways in which comedic narrative film can provide an effective commentary on current events. We watched various news clips from different geographical regions and read articles pertaining to the recent events in Egypt. After scripting and rehearsing the story, the students worked out a shot list and delegated roles. Each student participated in acting or crewing up for the shoot. We watched the footage together and discussed ways to approach this in editing.

The video as a culmination of our discussions, analysis and technical skill-building. It speaks to the students’ critical understanding of current media as well as their tremendous creativity and talent.