You will be redirected back to your article in seconds
Back to IndieWire

Project of the Day: Family Perseverance Doc “Zabaleen”

Project of the Day: Family Perseverance Doc "Zabaleen"

Here’s your daily dose of an indie film in progress; at the end of the week, you’ll have the chance to vote for your favorite.

In the meantime: Is this a movie you’d want to see? Tell us in the comments.


Tweetable Logline: Mourad, one of Cairo’s garbage collectors, will stop at nothing to protect his family and their home.

Elevator Pitch: The film follows Mourad, his wife Um Waleed, and their 11 children as they make their living off of Egypt’s trash. Their living situation is constantly threatened by the governments actions, an unstable mountain, religious tensions, and a looming revolution that will change their lives forever. The film tells a story of perseverance, love, and a father’s will to protect his family at all costs.
Production Team:

Justin Kramer
Producer: Lauren McCarthy
Carrie Vermillion
Wajdi Elian
About the Production: I have had the rare opportunity to document the lives of this family for nearly 3 years. I have watched their lives change for the better and at times, for the worse. This is a universal story that each and every person that sees it, will connect with. The characters are captivating and the area where they live has to be seen to believe.
Current Status:
fundraising for post-production
For more information and to support this film:

Be sure to check out our curated Kickstarter page for more information on projects we think you should check out.

If you have an in-the-works project and you’d like to be profiled in an upcoming iW Project of the Day column, submit yourself by filling out this form!

Mourad’s Morning from Zabaleen on Vimeo.

This Article is related to: Filmmaker Toolkit and tagged



Well done! The short clip was enough to make me want to see the rest of the story. I am looking forward to see the finished work.

Vasso Lourakis

Awaiting to see the Zabaleen film. We know all efforts done till the moment we will watch it!


Wonderfully filmed…beautifully told…can't wait to view it !


Can't wait to see this film! Looks like it will be an amazingly well made film which will open viewers eyes and hearts to the people of Zabaleen.


I would like to see this film. Here's a bit from my review of a doc that takes place in the same environment: "'Marina of the Zabbaleen' by Engi Wassef revolves around a village of refuse, created by poverty-stricken trash collectors in Cairo. A gorgeous film about garbage, the documentary is beautifully shot and poetically told. It follows six-year-old Marina, whose family members are part of the 'Zabbaleen,' or 'garbage people,' employed by the city to collect and sort debris. The industrious community bundles newspapers and recycles and resells other waste. Marina dreams of becoming a doctor as she lives in squalor among vermin. As Coptic Christians, the family is a minority in the Middle East. Being of the same faith, director Engi Wassef had special access to the people and the site."


I've been watching the progress of this film for nearly 2 years. I know personally some of the staff and what they've endured to film this documentary. I'm very excited about seeing it upon completion. I know the passion and love they've all put into it. Thank you!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *