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Underground-On The Surface Is Running for only One Week in Cinemas

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A Full House Screening on Its Premiere Night

Underground-On The Surface Is Running for only One Week in Cinemas

After MAD Solutions' announcement of the 1-week release of Underground/On The Surface in cinemas - the first documentary to be commercially released in cinemas since 2011- the company held yesterday an open premiere to the public with the presence of the filmmakers and the director Salma El Tarzi, in Zawya, Downtown.

The premiere witnessed a huge turnout that the box office raised the "full house" sign and a number of the filmmakers had to vacate their seats to accommodate the excess number of the audiences who crowded the display hall. The film screening was followed by a panel discussion where the filmmakers answered all the questions of the public and the attending critics.

Producer Mohamed El Tuhamy expressed his excitement for such a promising start for the film in theatres saying, "I know that such a type of film usually faces difficulties in distribution, however having it running in 4 theatres across Cairo and Alexandria is a reassuring beginning for a documentary. The most remarkable thing about this film is that it has chances for success as it highlights the underground shaabi music scene, known as 'mahraganat music' which enjoys a massively wide audience- base and I think the number of theatres will increase in the future."

Salma El Tarzi, the film's director, spoke about the huge number of audiences in the cinema saying: "I am very happy with the huge number of crowds in today's display and I hope the film enjoys similar turnout in other theatres, as Zawya has its own cinema lovers audience, but also I need to reach the shaabi lovers audience and the normal audience who don't know 'mahraganat' music. I want them all to watch the film."

The premiere featured the presence of a large number of media figures includings; activist Gamila Ismail, Amr Abed, human rights activist Mona Saif, activist Mahinour El Masry, director Hala Lotfy, director Mariam Abou Auf , Ahmed Malek, and activist Ahmed Harrara, with film critics Ahmed Hasouna and Ahmed Shawky.

Highlighting the accelerated growth of shaabi music and the rising of Oka and Ortega to stardom, Salma El Tarzi was awarded the Best Director from Dubai International Film Festival 2013. Underground/On The Surface marks the first documentary to be commercially released in cinemas since 2011 and is slated to roll in theatres for only one week according to MAD Solutions', announcement, the film's distributer.

The 70-minute documentary and which has been expanding most recently under the name mahraganat music (festivals music) in the heels of the 25th January revolution. Following the underground shaabi music scene, known as 'mahraganat', the film focuses on the surge of popularity this genre received following the revolution; Oka, Ortega, and Wezza, three of the movement's most prominent artists, are suddenly put under the spotlight, so the question is: will they be able to preserve their identity as independent artists?

Produced by AKER Productions of Mohamed El Tohamy in 2010, the film received funds from Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (AFAC) and is distributed and marketed by MAD Solutions.

Born in 1978, Salma El Tarzi studied Film Directing at the High Institute of Cinema in Cairo. In 2004, she presented her documentary debut Enta Aref Leh? (Do You Know Why) which tracks the daily lives of models in advertisements that received a prize at the Rotterdam Arabic Film Festival.

Screening Venues of Underground/On the Surface

Cairo| Zawya in Downtown, Renaissance Cinema Zaytoun in Helmeyet El Zaytoun and Cairo Mall in El Haram

Alexandria| Royal