Garbage Dreams

  • Garbage Dreams
Genre : Drama
Type : Documentary
Original title :
Principal country concerned : Column : Cinema/tv
Year of production : 2009
Format : Feature
Running time : 79 (in minutes)

In GARBAGE DREAMS, we are introduced to three teenage boys who were born into the'trash trade' - amidst the squalor, stench and noise of the world's largest garbage village, on the outskirts of Cairo. It is home to 60,000 Zabbaleen, (Arabic for'garbage people'), pioneers of eco-friendly recycling practises, reusing up to 80 per cent of the trash they collect. This sense of economy and resourcefulness has come to the attention of some of the world's largest waste-disposal corporations. The impact of this sudden interest, and the potential ramifications affect our three protagonists in a variety of life-changing ways.

Filmed over four years, GARBAGE DREAMS follows three teenage boys - Adham, a bright precocious 17-year-old; Osama, a charming impish 16-year-old; Nabil, a shy artistic 18-year-old - born into the trash trade and growing up in the world's largest garbage village, a ghetto located on the outskirts of Cairo. It is a world folded onto itself, an impenetrable labyrinth of narrow roadways camouflaged by trash; it is home to 60,000 Zaballeen (or Zabbaleen), Egypt's "garbage people." When the city they keep clean suddenly decides to replace the Zaballeen with multinational garbage disposal companies, the Zaballeen community finds itself at a crossroads. Face to face with the globalization of their trade, each of the teenage boys is forced to make choices that will impact his future and the survival of his community.

USA/2009/ Arabic dialogue with English subtitles/Colour/HDCAM/79 mins

Dir: Mai Iskander
Year: 2009
Dur: 79
Documentary Feature

Best Documentary Nominee, Director's Guild of America
Al Gore Reel Current Award Nashville Film Festival
IDA Humanitas Award
Special Jury Award, Dubai Film Festival (Muhr Arabic Documentary / Middle East Premiere Premiere)
Best Documentary, Hollywood Film Festival
Palm D'or, Mexico International Film Festival
Best Documentary, Ashland Independent Film Festival
Best International Film, Santa Cruz Film Festival


1 files


  • Arterial network
  • Media, Sports and Entertainment Group (MSE)
  • Gens de la Caraïbe
  • Groupe 30 Afrique
  • Alliance Française VANUATU
  • Zimbabwe : Culture Fund Of Zimbabwe Trust
  • RDC : Groupe TACCEMS
  • Rwanda : Positive Production
  • Togo : Kadam Kadam
  • Niger : ONG Culture Art Humanité
  • Collectif 2004 Images
  • Africultures Burkina-Faso
  • Bénincultures / Editions Plurielles
  • Africiné
  • Afrilivres

With the support of