The Uprising was inspired by the 18 days I spent in early 2011 watching the Egyptian revolution The Uprising was essentially created as a zero-budget project over the space of two years of research and editing. As such, it was only made possible by the generosity of many friends and collaborators, in particular, the team at Third Films, and my editor, producer and co-writer Bruno Tracq, as well as over a dozen translators and research assistants from across the Arab region, who have given me freely and without question of their time and energy, and the disinterested commitment of the original video makers themselves.
All the material in the film comes from filmmakers, the vast majority of them anonymous, who are working not for money or glory, but to try and change their country for the better. Where it has been possible, I have contacted them to ask their permission to use their videos. But this has not always been possible, as much of the footage in the film was deliberately anonymised when it was uploaded in order to protect the individuals concerned. To those filmmakers who could be contacted, I have proposed that while I could not pay them, in return for using their footage in the film, I would recirculate the subtitled footage on YouTube for them to link to from their blogs and channels. I also promised that they would get full credit for their work, and that profits from screening the film, including my director’s fee, would be donated to grassroots organizations supporting citizen journalism in the Arab world. My own background lies as much in political activism as it does in experimental media practice, and the project is designed from the ground up to be synergistic, not competitive, with what all the 'contributors' are doing and trying to achieve.
What is taken from the community should be given back to the community. It is for that reason that The Uprising will be made freely available throughout the world for streaming, download and non-profit public screenings under a Creative Commons license once its initial festival run and any broadcast transmissions are past. The aim of the project is not to reappropriate this material for my own artistic or financial purposes, but to secure as wide as possible an audience for these videos, and to pay homage to the people who risked their lives to create them.