Telling the Narrative: Behind the Scenes of ‘The Uprising’


A video recording of this program is now available on the Explore Content section of this website.

The Uprising, a feature length documentary, explores the Arab revolutions from the inside. This multi-camera, first-person account is composed entirely of videos made by citizens and long-term residents of Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Libya, Syria and Yemen. Documentary director Peter Snowdon pieced together narratives through user-generated footage to express the wave of uprisings and revolutions that swept the Middle East and North Africa between 2010 and 2012. In creating The Uprising Snowdon has considered both the circumstances of production and circulation— drawing on a wide range of historical and theoretical material—to discover what they can tell us about the potential for revolution in our time, and the possibilities of video as a genuinely decentralized and vernacular medium.

This program will go behind the scenes with Peter Snowdon, and moderator Rana Kazkaz, as we discuss how he was able to weave a narrative through stringing together content without having protagonists and a traditional story arc.

[Image: courtesy of Peter Snowdon]

  • Program credits

    Peter Snowdon

    Peter Snowdon was born and brought up in Northumberland, England. He studied French and Philosophy at Oxford University, before moving to Paris where he worked in publishing and journalism, and as a consultant to UNESCO. He has travelled and worked widely, in the Palestinian territories, where a number of his films were shot, India, where he was a consultant for the International Society for Ecology and Culture, and in Egypt, 1997–2000. His first feature-length film, The Uprising (2013), debuted at the Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival, where it won the Opus Bonum award for best world documentary. The film has since played at over 20 festivals and won several more awards.

    Rana Kazkaz

    Rana Kazkaz (moderator) is an award-winning filmmaker and Assistant Professor of Communication in Residence at Northwestern University in Qatar. With a focus on Syrian stories, her producing, screenwriting and directing portfolio includes Mare Nostrum (2016) selected for over ninety international film festivals and winning more than thirty awards, the documentary Searching for the Translator (2016), Ham (2013), and Deaf Day (2011). Her forthcoming project, The Translator (2020), will be her first feature film, a project which has already won several development awards including the Arte Award at L’Atelier de la Cinefondation at the Cannes Film Festival in 2017.