pepsi, cola, water?

“pepsi, cola, water?” is a short experimental documentary about Sun Ra’s legendary visit to Egypt in 1971.

Jazz pioneer and philosopher Sun Ra had a deep fascination with outer space and ancient Egypt. Computer animation, archival footage, and music from Sun Ra are interwoven to create a recreation/celebration of his legendary visit to Egypt in 1971.

The result is a film as far out as Sun Ra himself.

“pepsi, cola, water?” was made in collaboration with Medrar for Contemporary Art in Cairo, Egypt and SoundImageCulture, the Flanders Audiovisual Fund and Didier Volckaert in Brussels, Belgium.

  • Tom Bogaert
    Director
  • Film Type:
    Documentary, Experimental, Short
  • Runtime:
    9 minutes 18 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    April 29, 2015
  • Production Budget:
    2,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    Egypt
  • Country of Filming:
    Egypt
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital
  • Aspect Ratio:
    16:9
  • Film Color:
    Black & White and Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    No
  • Student Project:
    No
  • CURTA CINEMA International Short Film Festival
    Rio de Janeiro
    Brazil
    November 15, 2015
    World Premiere
    Official Selection International Competition
  • DOXA Documentary Film Festival
    Vancouver
    Canada
    May 9, 2016
    North American Premiere
  • VIDEOEX
    Zurich
    Switzerland
    May 28, 2016
    European Premiere
    First Price Swiss Competition
  • MIEFF Moscow International Experimental Film Festival
    Moscow
    Russian Federation
    July 22, 2016
    Russian Premiere
    Official Selection International Competition
  • TRANSART TRIENNALE
    Berlin
    Germany
    August 6, 2016
    German Premiere
  • MOSAIC ROOMS
    London
    United Kingdom
    August 10, 2016
    UK Premiere
  • HI Harlem International Film Festival
    New York City
    United States
    September 14, 2016
    US Premiere
  • SIC Sound Image Culture
    Beursschouwburg Brussels
    Belgium
    September 22, 2016
    Belgian Premiere
  • Kassel Dokfest
    Kassel
    Germany
    November 19, 2016
    German Festival Premiere
  • BAFF Brussels Art Film Festival
    CINEMATEK Brussels
    Belgium
    November 20, 2016
    Official Selection Prix du Film sur l’Art
  • SAVVY Contemporary
    Berlin
    Germany
    December 15, 2016
  • Cairo Video Festival
    Cairo
    Egypt
    February 5, 2017
    MENA Premiere
  • Imagine Science Film Festival
    Abu Dhabi
    United Arab Emirates
    March 2, 2017
    GCC Premiere
    Official Selection International Competition
  • VIDEOFORMES
    Clermont-Ferrand
    France
    March 15, 2017
    French Premiere
    Official Selection Prix VIDEOFORMES 2017
  • Athens International Film and Video Festival
    Athens
    United States
    April 4, 2017
    Official Selection International Competition
  • Experiments in Cinema
    Albuquerque
    United States
    April 20, 2017
  • Hamburg International Short Film Festival @ Resonanzraum
    Hamburg
    Germany
    May 11, 2017
  • Bideodromo Film Festival
    Bilbao
    Spain
    September 10, 2017
    Spanish Premiere
  • The Unforeseen International experimental film festival
    Belgrade
    Serbia
    November 17, 2017
    Serbian Premiere
  • Espaco Gallery
    Algiers
    Algeria
    November 25, 2017
    Algerian Premiere
  • Videodrunk Film Festival
    Toronto
    Canada
    November 30, 2017
  • Montevideo Fantastic Film Festival
    Montevideo
    Uruguay
    December 13, 2017
    Uruguayan Premiere
    Official Selection Audience Choice Award
  • Avant Arabia
    Abu Dhabi
    United Arab Emirates
    March 6, 2018
  • VIDEOEX 20
    Zurich
    Switzerland
    May 29, 2018
    KinoX
  • Tse Tse Fly Middle East
    Bath
    United Kingdom
    June 2, 2018
    Fringe Arts Bath
  • A.M. Qattan Foundation
    Ramallah
    Palestine, State of
    July 23, 2018
    Palestinian Premiere
  • ART 27
    Heusden-Zolder
    Belgium
    November 1, 2018
    Flemish Premiere
Director Biography - Tom Bogaert

Tom Bogaert came to art over a decade ago after practicing refugee law. His artistic practice is organised through long-term research projects that often examine the intersection of humanism and human rights, politics and entertainment, and art and propaganda.

Bogaert moved to Amman, Jordan in 2009 and has since produced a series of works under a project called “Impression, proche orient,” which draws from his experience as a foreigner living and working in the Arab World and uses irony and criticism to interrogate the layers of his own understanding of contemporary issues throughout the region.

Add Director’s Biography
Director Statement

This video is about Afro-futurism, Black Power, revolutions, expectations and disappointments.

Very little has been documented about Sun Ra’s visit to Egypt, but it is often described as a synthesis of ideas years before its time, a self-fulfilling prophesy of Afro-futurism which married activism with science fiction and ancient spirituality.

The video draws on my research in Egypt, Italy, and Germany in 2013 and 2014, in the course of which I attended an Arkestra concert and had multiple interviews and conversations with Hartmut Geerken, a free jazz artist who had originally invited Sun Ra to come to Egypt, Marshall Allen, the longtime Arkestra bandleader, and Ahmed Aladdin the grandson of Egyptian drummer and jazz musician Salah Ragab, who collaborated with Sun Ra in several performances in Egypt.

Ra’s deep passion for the history of Africa was demonstrated in his excavation of Egypt as the root of modern civilization asserting that much of the Grecian influences from the great philosophical thinkers to their artistic achievements were derived and stolen from black Egyptians. His journey would not be complete before reaching the source itself—Africa.

Sun Ra, I think, traveled to Africa in 1971 with the expectation of some sort of 'homecoming' experience. It seems however that his expectations were not entirely fulfilled and Sun Ra left Egypt angry and disappointed. “pepsi, cola, water?” opens up these overlooked moments in Sun Ra’s history and, in the absence of substantial documentation of this period, approaches them with a speculative and imaginative spirit akin to Sun Ra’s own.

Tom Bogaert
Cairo 2015