September 18, 2008
Tomb 33, an Egyptian Mystery
Watch the program: Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4

One day, a couple of years ago, Alexis Metzinger (a young author and director I am working with,) went from researching in Strasbourg to a film project about literature.

He was very excited about his discussion with the professor for Egyptian antiquity from the university of Strasbourg. They were supposed to open the biggest tomb of Death valley in Egypt. I didn’t even know at that time that there were scientists of international level working on old Egypt in Strasbourg, France!

Then a few days later we had a meeting with professor Claude Traunecker and his assistant Annie Schweitzer. They were so sympathic so communicative and passionate, and also able to explain in simple but poetic words the life of the ancient Egyptians, that I was convinced they were great protagonists for a documentary.

After a second meeting with them, we wrote a first script and presentation of the film and went to the European channel ARTE, to know if such a story could be of interest. They were almost from the beginning keen on the story and moreover on the protagonists. We met once again all together along with the well experienced German director Thomas Weidenbach. Everyone was on board after this last meeting and we decided to do the film.

The big deal was to be able to have the authorisation from Zahi Hawass, the famous and very mediatic president of Antiquity Service in Egypt … I decided to make the trip with the two archeologists, while they were preparing the opening of the tomb 33.

We had an appointment for a meeting with Zahi Hawass. As we were entering the rooms before his office in the Antiquity Service Building in Cairo, we were received in a room with a whole army of secretaries, maybe 10 women! I was quite under pressure because the whole film was depending on this meeting.

Finally, I met a very polite and intelligent person, understanding both my producers contingency and the need of the two archeologists to make their research known in order to raise funding for the future. He accepted directly our project and made us a very fair price for the fees to get the authorisation to shoot on ancient sites in Egypt.

After this meeting we were very happy, we had the feeling with the two archeologists that we were really belonging to a team, and that as everyone who is really believing in his dreams they were going to become true : for us a great film on a marvelous archeological project, for them the opening of the biggest tomb in Egypt, a consecration of their career.

I hope that the film is giving, beyond an untold story of ancient Egypt, a bit of the very human feelings of two wonderful scientists reaching their dream.

-- From Cedric Bonin, Producer

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