January 2017


Yallah! Underground

Wednesday 25.01.2017 8:00 PM | Saal

Admission: €5

Organizer: Werkstatt der Kulturen/ Mayadin al Tahrir e.V. / EUME
Curation: Viola Shafik



Music documentary by Farid Eslam
Czech Republic /Germany 2015, 85 min.

English & Arabic with Engl. subtitles

Guests/discussants: Stefan Pethke/Alia Mossallam/Ahmed Badawi

On the anniversary of the January 25th Revolution in Egypt: Music in times of change

YALLAH! UNDERGROUND follows some of the most influential and progressive artists of contemporary Arab underground culture from 2009 to 2013 (before, during and after the Arab Spring), and documents their work, hopes and fear in a time of great change in the Arab world. In the Middle East, a region full of tension, young Arab artists have been striving for years to be able to express themselves freely and represent liberal views from within their societies.

During the Arab Spring, local artists, as well as many others of this young Arab generation, had great expectations for the future and actively took part in protests. However, after years of unrest and instability, they are now confronted with old as well as new problems, torn between feelings of disappointment and a vague hope of a better future.


Farid Eslam, originally from Frankfurt / Germany, is based in Prague / Czech Republic,
where he graduated from the film school FAMU (Film and TV School of the Academy of
Performing Arts in Prague). He has directed commercials, award-winning music videos
and documentaries. His work focus besides his commercial work lies on youth culture and
social issues. Farid is the founder of Mind Riot Media, a creative house specialising in the
development and production of commercials, films, TV content and marketing solutions.

Alia Mossallam holds a PhD in Political Science. She has taught at the American University in Cairo (AUC), the Cairo Institute for Liberal Arts and Sciences (CILAS), and holds the series of workshops, ‘Ihky ya tarikh’ (Speak, history) with students, activists and artists in governorates all over Egypt, an experiment in history-telling. Her main interest is exploring alternative histories of the past through popular stories and songs. Her publications include an article on youth activism in the volume Democratic Transition in the Middle East, a workers’ history of the Aswan High Dam in the Journal of Water History, and a forthcoming article on history workshops in Egypt in the History Workshop Journal. She also writes for Mada Masr and has recently started experimenting with playwriting.

Ahmed Badawi, currently researcher at the Dept. of Social and Political Sciences, Freie University Berlin, is one of the co-founders of Transform e.V. He joined the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik) in 2001. He held positions as Research Associate at the Institute of Development and Peace (University of Duisburg-Essen), the Oxford Research Group, the International Crisis Group and Zentrum Moderner Orient. Prior to leaving Egypt in 1999 he used to work as a print and TV journalist and as a community development specialist. He is a trained group facilitator since 1993, has an MSc in Development Studies from SOAS (University of London) and a PhD in Political Science from Humboldt University in Berlin.

Stefan Pethke graduated from the DFFB (Deutsche Film- und Fernseh-Akademie Berlin). He co-founded ENTUZIAZM (Freunde der Vermittlung von Film und Text e.V.) and has hereby participated in the projects "The Art of Transmission – From the Archives of Film Transmitting Films" (2007 – 2009), "Living Archive" (Arsenal – Institut für Film und Videokunst; 2011 – 2013) as well as "Visionary Archive". He was also member of the selection committee of the Berlinale Talent Campus (2006 – 2012). Since 2007 he is the program director of UNERHÖRT!, the International Music Film Festival, Hamburg. He works moreover as a translator and subtitler for Film-Relevantes.


Invite your friends on Facebook!


Further monthly dates coming soon!

Beyond Spring - Arab Film Series

In 2010, the Tunisian protest movement triggered a wave of upheavals across the Middle East and North Africa that became known as “the Arab Spring”. However, there is also a history to tell beyond “Spring”.

Since 2014, the WERKSTATT DER KULTUREN has been highlighting films from several Arab countries as part of the Arab Film Series, with this specific selection of films curated by Viola Shafik. It aims at exploring some major social and political issues in the region and further our understanding of various dynamics in regards to class, gender and politics in general, as well as explore topics concerning confessionalism, social justice and the question of Palestine.

The screenings will be accompanied by moderated panels with academic experts from the Berlin-based research program Europe in the Middle East – The Middle East in Europe (EUME) at the Forum Transregionale Studien, Berlin.


Viola Shafik, PhD, is a freelance filmmaker, film curator and film scholar. She authored among others Arab Cinema: History and Cultural Identity, AUC-Press, Cairo, 1998 and Popular Egyptian Cinema: Gender, Class and Nation, AUC-Press, 2007. She lectured at the American University in Cairo and the Zürich University and is in the selection committee of the Rawi Screenwriters Lab and the Berlinale World Cinema Fund. She directed several documentaries, most notably Ali im Paradies/My Name is not Ali (2011) and Arij - Scent of Revolution (2014).

She currently teaches at the Humboldt University, Berlin and the Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich.

In cooperation with Mayadin al Tahrir e.V. and EUME (Europe in the Middle East – The Middle East in Europe).


The facilities of the WERKSTATT DER KULTUREN are accessible to wheelchair users. Please call us in advance on +49 (0)30 60 97 70-0 to ensure proper access support.