Inspired by fellow Egyptian directors including Mohamed Khan and Youssef Chahine, filmmaker Morad Mostafa is lining up to shoot his debut feature Aisha Can’t Fly Away Anymore in the summer of 2024. He has been working on the project for more than three years but his journey has been decades in the making.
Born in Ain Shams, a densely populated neighbourhood in northeast Cairo, Mostafa felt the urge to become a filmmaker at a young age; at 15, he made his first film with his friend’s home-video camera. He did not give up on his dream when he missed the chance to study cinema at the Egyptian Higher Institute of Cinema, instead participating in workshops at Cairo’s Cinema Culture Palace and taking small location jobs until becoming an assistant director.
By 2011, having worked in the industry for more than 11 years as an assistant on projects including Ayten Amin’s Souad, Morad decided it was time to make his own films. His debut short Ward’s Henna Party, about a Sudanese henna painter living in Cairo, toured the festival circuit in 2020, after which he made three further shorts. His latest, I Promise You Paradise, was a prize winner in Critics’ Week at Cannes this year.
Aisha Can’t Fly Away Anymore is produced by Sawsan Yusuf of Cairo-based Bonanza Films, who also co-wrote with Mostafa and Mohamed Abdelqader. It tells the story of a Somali woman who lives in Ain Shams and cares for her elderly parents while witnessing the tensions between the different groups who make up the city’s African society. Mostafa began working on the script in 2020, and presented the project at El Gouna Platform in 2021, where it won four funding awards.
“I want to make films, tell stories about people and life, and I will stop at nothing,” Mostafa says. “I belong to the same generation that includes creative Egyptian filmmakers such as Omar El Zohairy and Sameh Alaa — it gives us the power to support each other and have a healthy competitive environment.”
Contact: Morad Mostafa