Alaa was born and raised in Egypt. He holds a B.A. in Economics from the American University in Cairo, and an M.F.A in Documentary Film and Video from Stanford University. His first short documentary film Resonance, which profiles a day in the life of his young blind Egyptian musician friend, was his initial motivation towards the study of documentary. During his studies at Stanford, Alaa has made four short films. His film In Circles has played in many festivals across the US and was a Finalist at the 2009 Student Academy Awards. His interests in documentary include religion, psychology and social relations. Other general interests include classical Middle Eastern music, Arabic calligraphy, philosophy, and poetry.
UFVA Carole Fielding Student Grant, 2010
Enersen Foundation Production Grant, 2010
"Yes, I carry explosives. They are called words." In our heavily mediated world, words and images play an important role in the creation of misconceptions. In this film, three American artists combine those two elements to address and combat the prevalent stereotypes about Islam in the U.S.
16mm color film
This film is about the places that one man goes in his mind as his body is swiftly fading away due to Lou Gehrig's disease.
A story of two men struggling to re-enter society, and the group that helps them work towards this goal.
16mm black and white film
With some parents becoming distrustful of public schools, they are turning towards the tutoring of their own children. An 11 year old home-schooled boy talks about how he spends his time and what it is like to have parents who are also his teachers.