The Art Of Flight is a guerrilla documentary that was shot illegally in Egypt on camcorders and a laptop. This feature-length film tells the story of three people - a refugee from southern Sudan, a human rights activist from northern Sudan and an American journalist in self-imposed exile - all living in Cairo. For very different reasons, the trio has found themselves struggling to survive in Egypt - a U.S.-financed dictatorship which has reluctantly become their home. Davin, a dot-com casualty, left America for the Middle East after September 11th made him realize he had been "asleep." In Egypt, he begins life as a freelance travel writer. Later, he is drawn in to the plight of Sudanese refugees in Cairo - many from Darfur. He is compelled to write a story of substance after witnessing their abuse around Cairo. During his investigation, he risks arrest by Egyptian authorities, confronts apathetic American news editors and presses UNHCR to explain its arbitrary asylum procedures to get their story told. He soon begins to question his own objectivity, debating whether he should report on one refugee family or simply help them. The head of this refugee family, Jere Maluk, fled his war-ravaged home in Juba, Sudan, to seek refugee protection from UNHCR in Cairo in order to travel to America. He and his family, like the tens of thousands of Sudanese refugees in Egypt, seek out asylum but instead end up living in one. They learn to cope with racism, gang violence, poverty and torture as second-class residents as they navigate through a maze of bureaucratic mismanagement at UNHCR for the slim chance of getting resettled. Magda, a middle-aged human rights activist, has elected not to apply for refugee status because she is convinced she will one day return to a peaceful Sudan. Her days are spent trying to empower refugees - teaching them self-reliance in order to create citizens for a democratic Sudan. The film explores a common sense of homelessness shared by three seemingly different people as they cross paths for a fleeting moment in time - each on their way to a destination another has fled. Davin wrestles his sense of American idealism as he witnesses first-hand the charade of democracy-building taking place at the edge of the American empire. The Art Of Flight features artwork of Sudanese painters living in exile. In addition to paintings from Sudanese artists and torture victims, the film also features an original soundtrack by Al-Khafiyeen, a musical ensemble of refugees who played together for a single night to score the film. The film delves deep into questions about the nature of charity, the consequences of American empire and the price of transience.
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