From The Exorcist to Nasser: Filmmaker proud to show her work on P.E.I.
Nasser's Republic, the Making of Modern Egypt, is a new documentary by Michal Goldman
A filmmaker with a decades-long connection to Prince Edward Island will screen her latest work at UPEI Thursday night.
"It's exciting for me to show it here," Michal Goldman told CBC's Island Morning.
"I want my friends to see my work. The people who are my friends here really don't know my work."
Nasser's Republic, the Making of Modern Egypt, is a full-length documentary about Gamal Abdel Nasser, who was president of Egypt from 1956 to 1970, and one of the architects of the modern country. He is known for his role in the Suez Crisis, the Six Day War, and the building of the Aswan Dam.
"I talked to Egyptians who love him and Egyptians who really come close to hating him. He's such a foundational figure for the region that I thought it's a necessary story to tell," Goldman said.
A storied career
Goldman started as a film editor, and her career includes work on well-known movies such as The Exorcist, Death Race 2000, and Caged Heat.
She was an assistant to one of three film editors on The Exorcist, but came away with strong memories of director William Friedkin.
"The real horror, I have to say, was working for Will Friedkin. This was a man who threw things, screamed," Goldman said.
"Not a pleasant experience, but a great experience for me because it so happened that my editor was in graduate school trying to get a PhD in English literature so he disappeared every day and I did his editing. So I learned a lot putting together these little, tiny bits of film of horror."
That included editing the iconic head-spinning scene.
Not all of her Hollywood experiences were so unpleasant. She loved working with Jonathan Demme on Caged Heat.
"He was such a wonderful man," Goldman said.
"I don't know if I ever had such fun working on a film that wasn't my own film."
From song to politics
One of Goldman's first documentaries, made in the early 1990s, was about Umm Kulthum, an Egyptian who is of the most famous of all Arab singers.
Nasser, Goldman said, was the elephant in the room in that documentary, because he played a large role in her rise to fame. It seemed appropriate to make a film about him.
Goldman made the Kulthum documentary while living in Egypt in the early 1990s, but her connection to P.E.I. goes back further, to her family buying a century farm in Mermaid in 1970. She has been a regular visitor ever since, and calls the Island one of her homes.
"I've now inherited it with all its pleasures and its problems," she said.
Nasser's Republic, the Making of Modern Egypt, will screen in McDougall Hall at UPEI at 7 p.m. Admission is free, but a collection will be taken for the newcomers refugee fund.
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