‘The Square’ Circumvents Egyptian Censors With YouTube Release

The Square,” Egyptian American helmer Jehane Noujaim’s account of the 2011 Tahrir Square revolution, is being made available exclusively to Egyptian viewers for free via YouTube, in the face of Egypt’s censorship authorities which have yet to clear the Oscar-nommed docu for release.

Just as turmoil in Egypt intensifies, with the country’s interim military government resigning on Monday (February 24) amid rising popular unrest, Noujaim has uploaded on YouTube the official Arabic version of the film, which is the first Egyptian-made pic to be nominated for an Oscar. “The Square” also marks the first time an Arab woman has been nominated in the Academy Awards best documentary feature category. Noujaim was arrested three times while shooting the docu during the course of two and a half years.

Pirated copies of “The Square” had been circulating widely in Egypt. Noujaim earlier this month made it available on online pay site Distrify, testing possible censorship ire.

In a tweet this weekend Noujaim called “The Square,” shot in collaboration with over 40 Egyptian filmmakers, our love letter to Egypt. “It’s finally been delivered. Now it belongs to all Egyptians. I am so so happy!,” she enthused.

“The Square” was eagerly expected to make its Egyptian bow at the Euro Film Panorama fest in Cairo in December 2013. Since then, its final edit has still not been cleared by Egyptian authorities, after being submitted several months ago.

Egyptian theatrical rights to “The Square,” which is is produced by Karim Amer and executive produced by Geralyn Dreyfous, Sarah Johnson, Mike Lerner, and Jodie Evans, were recently reportedly purchased by Misr International Films. Netflix, which is not operational in Egypt, owns multi-territory SVOD rights.

 

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