TorinoFilmLab - Training, development, Funding

Hesham Issawi

Hesham Issawi


Film Director, Production


TFL Alumni Meeting Attendee 2017
Interchange Participant 2011


Hesham Issawi was born in Egypt and raised in a devoutly intellectual Egyptian family. He moved to America in 1990 to study anthropology.
In America he changed his major from anthropology to art and photography. This is where he learned his love of light, the ability to show emotion through shadow and painting a story through the lens. He changed his major to filmmaking.

He attended film school, Columbia College/Chicago, and Graduated in 1999. Issawi began his career working in local TV station as an editor and in the documentary world before directing a few short subjects of his own. In 2000 he C0- Produced the Documentary, “Saving the sphinx,” for the Learning Channel and many other documentaries during his stay in Chicago.

In 2002 Issawi love of noir Films manifested in his short Film, The Interrogation, which he wrote and directed. It won Best Creative Short film in New York Film Festival and Best Music Score in the California International Film Festival.

In 2003, he Co-wrote and directed the short film, T For Terrorist, winner of Best Short Film in both Boston and San Francisco Film Festivals.

In 2007 he directed his feature debut, AmericanEast. The movie explores the plight of Middle Eastern people in America post 9/11 and won best picture in Madrid Film Festival, 2008.

Hesham lives between Cairo and Los Angeles since 2007. He wrote two scripts that dealt with the new climate in Egypt and became active in the political scene believing that changes can happen in this part of the world.

Believing in Independent films, Hesham Issawi decided to make Cairo Exit in his homeland.

The movie was shot in Cairo with no permits due the censorship rejecting the script. Cairo Exit was screened in Dubai Film festival, Tribeca Film festival and many other festivals. The movie won numerous prizes in Munich Film festival, European Independent film festival in Paris and Best Film and Actress in AMAL Film Festival in Spain.
Hesham Issawi directed THE PRICE in 2015. The movie opened in Cairo Film Festival and was released in Egypt in 2016.

company profile

Inpendent Free Cinema Production (Egypt)

Production Profile:

The Company is a young in birth. It was created in 2010 as place to promote independent filmmaking. The company had created many spots for TV and educational to promote democracy and other civil concepts. It helped to promote education in the South of Egypt.

After the 2011 revolution the company produced short films and independent documenters.

IFCP stands for Independent Free Cinema Production. The goal of the company is to create movies with social awareness. Sabri Mahmoud and Hesham Issawi have teamed up to create this company to encourage independent filmmaking in Egypt and to create movies that travel beyond the Egyptian boarders.

Hesham Issawi is coming from a different background. He is a filmmaker with extensive work in the States. He moved to Egypt 2011 to become part of the new wave in Egypt. He lives between Egypt and US, which gives him a unique perspective.

Sabri Mahmoud is an investor who is coming from an entrepreneur background. He invested in many fields. He is a social conscious person and his goal is to help local communities to create jobs and small businesses. Sabri became involved in the media after he discovered the importance of the image in education especially in a country with a big rate of literacy.

The team of the company is mostly young people with back ground in the arts. The company promotes an atmosphere of creativity and freedom of expression.
IFCP has made documentaries for Egyptian and Western Media and TV spots for civil services.