Hoping to rise above the isolation and immobility  imposed by the Corona pandemic, ‘The Collective’ is a new project spearheaded by Cairo-based film studio, 1958 Films, which released its first episode of this week – an episode that, having been conceived and created before the pandemic sent the world into chaos, now seems eerily prophetic.

Each week, 1958 Films will send a call-out with a particular theme that intends to unite musicians, filmmakers and other artists. The debut episode explores the theme of ‘Touch’ and brings together Cairo-based producer and musician, Kubbara, with founder of 1958 Films, Ramez E. Nassif, himself a filmmaker and musician, known better as ELI.

“I wanted to explore how a touch feels, and the almost cosmic realm a touch can make you enter into, whether that's reaching the comfort to touch your own body or other bodies and observing how the effects of a touch can resonate,” Nassif told SceneNoise. “But I wanted to explore that sentimentality of it all, as opposed to it being sexual.”

The Collective - Touch | 1958 Films from 1958 Films on Vimeo.

The visuals, filmed by and edited by Nassif, perfectly complement the score which he composed along with Kubbara. The latter took a skeleton melody sent to him by Nassif and built on it before mixing and mastering. Maintaining a synth-pop sound, it often fades in and out with the visuals to create a sense of the ethereal power of touch.

“It was important for me to stick to that retro feel created by the VHS effect of 80s synth sounds, and I wanted to develop Nassif’s original melody, not change it,” Kubbara told us, adding that he was careful in retaining the softness of the melody, while amplifying it using a myriad of effects, and experimenting with old-school elements.

Moving forward, 1958 Films will send out a weekly musical piece for Egyptian filmmakers to use as inspiration and, ultimately, the score to their visuals. Filmmakers are asked to send footage filmed at home or spaces where they can maintain self-distancing.  

‘Synchronisation’ is the theme of the second episode, which will be created using another piece of music produced by Kubbara. Following episodes, meanwhile, will look to more Cairo musicians, including experimental electronica act, fuzzylittlebrain, garage rock band, Dirty Backseat, and filmmaker and composer, Somemud. Following these episodes, Nassif revealed that the project will eventually invite any musicians - to compose the score - and filmmakers from Egypt and across the world to participate.

To find out more about ‘The Collaborative’ and how you can contribute, follow 1958 Films on Instagram. Main image: Shehab Adel.