Australia’s funny man gets serious at Heart of Gold
It came as a big surprise to the Heart of Gold International Film Festival’s artistic directors when they discovered comedian Akmal Saleh’s feature length documentary focusing on the unrest and overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak in Egypt.
When Tahnee McGuire and Stephen Kanaris sat down to watch it, they were more than impressed.
“We were both extremely moved by the documentary, and not only that we thought it was perfect for the Heart of Gold International Film Festival because it clearly indicates how the power of people can have an impact and can make a difference,” Tahnee said.
Akmal revealed he originally intended to approach the conflict with a humorous angle.
“I initially wanted to make it funny, because that's what I do, that's how people know me and I thought surely I've got the skills to make this funny,” he said.
“Then as we talked to people and got to know the story more in depth, it just seemed annoying for me to try and be funny – you know these people are talking about being tortured or losing most of their family."
The whole experience was very close to home for Akmal, whose family emigrated from Egypt to Australia because of the regime.
“If I said what I said in my stand-up routines in Egypt I would have been shot. The citizens lived in fear, there was no justice and no form of artistic expression allowed. I would have been arrested and tortured if I grew up there.”
With the film chronicling the use of social media by young protesters, this 70-minute documentary is also a really inspiring look at how social networking can create change.
“It was truly inspiring to see the uprising driven by young people through social media,” Akmal said.
Akmal will be presenting Pharoah vs the Egyptians and taking part in a Q&A after the film on Saturday 13 July at 3pm in the Gympie Civic Centre’s Heritage Theatre.
He will be presenting the film along with close friend and event MC Greg Sullivan. Greg Sullivan is a well-respected comedian having hosted the morning show on Triple M radio network for many years and is a big fan of Akmal’s film.
The Heart of Gold International Film Festival runs in Gympie from 11-14 July, showcasing the best uplifting, touching and humorous films from around the world. The festival attracts filmmakers and film buffs from all over south-east Queensland.
Gympie Civic Centre
23 Tozer Street
Gympie QLD 4570
Akmal’s film screens:
Saturday 13 July 3-5pm, Heritage Theatre
For program and tickets, visit the Heart of Gold website www.heartofgold.com.au