Tarik Saleh
The Politics of Tarik Saleh

Ever since September 11 ripped the Western world in half, stories emerging from the Arab world have all too often been neglected and pushed aside, especially even now when the sentiment of the Islamic world in the West remains relatively low.

What we need more than ever are fearless filmmakers who are looking to provide alternate windows into new stories from the Arabic world; Egyptian-Swedish filmmaker Tarik Saleh has become just that—a storyteller who wants to inspire and challenge narratives emerging from Egypt and beyond.

Starting out as a well-known graffiti artist on the streets of Stockholm, Sweden, he had his break-out moment in 2009 with his debut feature film, the cerebral animation feature, Metropia, which starred Vincent Gallo and Juliette Lewis. Ever since then, his star has risen steadily, with back-to-back films based in Egypt both have earned him high praise and accolades in elite film circles from Sundance to Cannes. His latest film Cairo Conspiracy is a well-scripted thriller which examines the fraught relationship between church and state. One that reads like an indictment of religion and ideology, that challenges the status quo about where the real answers to life may lie.

A profoundly thoughtful filmmaker,  in this discussion, we delve into:

– His uncomfortable background growing up in Sweden
– Why the Arab world still attracts such negative connotations in the West
– Why Egypt refuses to allow him into the country
– What the West doesn’t understand about the Islamic world
– We talk about the red line, free speech and having the courage despite those dangers.
– What went wrong with the Arab Spring?
– And his optimism and hope for the world at large

References in the interview:

Bryan Fogel podcast with 52 Insights
Jeremy Bowen: The Making of the Modern Middle East
April 18th: Evening with Tarik Saleh, Free tickets

Cairo Conspiracy will be out in the UK on April 14th