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TC Doc Series: Ahmed Ahmed's Just Like Us

Meet the Egyptian-American comedian-turned-director of Just Like Us, an eye-opening look at an international comedy troupe on tour in the Middle East. Join us at the TC Doc Series on Monday, 10/4!

Just Like Us at the Tribeca Cinemas Doc Series
Monday, October 4, 2010
7:30 pm


The Tribeca Cinemas bar will be open before and after the screening—stop in for a drink and mingle with other movie lovers.


Note: This piece originally ran as part of our coverage of the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival.


Faces of the Festival: Ahmed Ahmed Tell us a little about Just Like Us.


Ahmed Ahmed: Just Like Us is a documentary/film that takes you on a journey that celebrates culture and comedy in four Arab countries (UAE, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Egypt) while breaking down misconceptions and stereotypes the media has placed upon us about the Middle East. The film showcases a group of international comedians and gives you an inside peek into how Arabs have a sense of humor JUST LIKE US. What inspired you to tell this story?
AA: I had been touring the Middle East since 2007 with comedy shows, and when I would return to the U.S., my American friends would ask me if I went there to perform for the troops. I would tell them we performed in front of thousands of Arabs and almost all of them could not believe it. So the film was inspired by my wish to show Arabs and Muslims in a completely different light than how we are normally portrayed. What's the craziest thing (or "lightning strikes" moment) that happened while making Just Like Us?
AA: Well... there were quite a few! One was when over a thousand guys and girls attended our shows in Saudi Arabia and sat side by side. The other is when we had a Harley Davidson motorcade escort us to our show in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. And when the three children in Cairo, Egypt walked onto the stage unexpectedly in front of 2,000 people. It was brilliant. You could not have written that stuff.
Just Like Us What’s the biggest thing you learned while making the film?

AA: That you need more hands on set. We were a small crew with not a lot of support, so it was tough at times. I also feel like I found my next calling as a director. I loved the whole process from beginning to end. I also learned that comedy is beginning to have a huge presence in the Middle East, and it's only getting bigger. What's your advice for aspiring filmmakers?
AA: Try to be original with your vision, have a point of view, and don't have too many cooks in the kitchen—or else your film will become diluted. Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you and have the production’s best interests at hand. Also be ready to have another film or idea ready to shoot, in the hopes that another opportunity presents itself. If you could have dinner with any filmmaker (alive or dead), who would it be?
AA: Martin Scorsese. What piece of art (book/film/music/TV show/what-have-you) are you currently recommending to your friends most often?
AA: Book: Think and Grow Rich
Film: Goodfellas
Music: Anything rock and roll
TV show: Anything on the Food Network
Just Like Us What would your biopic be called?
AA: Ahmed Ahmed... Name So Nice They Named Him Twice. What makes Just Like Us a Tribeca must-see?
AA: It's an eye-opening, entertaining, cultural experience that will make you think, laugh and cry. What else can you ask for? LOL!



Monday, October 4, 2010
7:30 pm

The Tribeca Cinemas bar will be open before and after the screening—stop in for a drink and mingle with other movie lovers.


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