11 Apr 2016 / Events, Featured post
Words by Edmund Mercado

This is a gem of a story that makes us wonder, “What does it take…” to be in this, that, or to be yourself, to be free from self, megalomania, greed or the corrupting ills of power, ambition and wealth, to question your foundational beliefs, way of life and thousands of years of cultural adaptation or maladaptation. A taste of freedom, even for a handful measure, heals all the ills of heart or solidifies the impurities of those who are fearful of it. Bassem Youssef, Egypt’s strongest voice for freedom and democracy in the Middle East, who is also a heart surgeon, aptly says, “laughter is the best medicine.” A film starring Bassem Youssef, digital’s by Technicolor with Baran Strategies.



In the midst of the Egyptian Arab Spring, Bassem Youssef makes a decision that’s every mother’s worst nightmare… He leaves his job as a heart surgeon to become a full-time comedian.

Dubbed, “The Egyptian Jon Stewart,” Bassem creates the satirical show, Al Bernameg. The weekly program quickly becomes the most viewed television program in the Middle East, with 30 million viewers per episode. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart averaged two million viewers.

In a country where free speech is not settled law, Bassem’s show becomes as controversial as it popular. He and his staff must endure physical threats, protests, and legal action, all because of jokes. As Bassem attempts to remain on the air, keep his staff safe, and not get arrested, he continues to let those in power know they’re being held accountable. Despite increasing danger, the team at Al Bernameg employ comedy, not violence, to comment on hypocrisy in media, politics, and religion.

Tickling Giants follows the team of Al Bernameg as they discover democracy is not easily won.   The young women and men working on Bassem’s show are fearless revolutionaries, who just happen to be really, really funny.



Use your words.
They are louder and more articulate than your fists.
Jokes are words put together in a funny way.
Anyone in power who is threatened by a joke is not really all that powerful.
When you’re thoughtful and honest, humor can be cathartic.
And, unlike beating people up, it’s totally legal.

Are you brave enough to tell a joke?
Take a feather and tickle the foot of a giant.
Will the giant laugh or stomp on you?
It’s a risk, to bring peace and beauty to an otherwise hard moment.

Draw a picture. Sing a song. Say something.
Have your true self known.
When you are at your most authentic, others will be, too.
When you believe in something, speak up.
When someone is being taken advantage of, advocate.

When? Now.
Giants come in all sizes.
Big and small,
We should all, in our own ways, be
Tickling Giants.

This call to action is meant to encourage viewers to tickle the giants in their own lives, finding non-violent ways to express themselves when power is abused. From a protest against a world leader to standing up to a bully in a school cafeteria. People are encouraged to share their experiences with the hashtag #TicklingGiants.



9:30 PM – THU 4/14
6:30 PM – FRI 4/15
3:30 PM – THU 4/21




Section: Documentary Competition
Year: 2016
Length: 111 minutes
Language: Arabic, English
Country: USA
Premiere: World


Director: Sara Taksler
Screenwriter: Sara Taksler
Producer: Sara Taksler, Frederic Rose, Maziar Bahari, Monica Hampton
Editor: Jamie Canobbio, Tyler H. Walk, Thomas M. Vogt
Executive Producer: Technicolor, Hassan Elmasry
Composer: Paul Tyan
Animations based on cartoons by: Andeel
Cast: Bassem Youssef, Jon Stewart, Andeel, Miral El Desoki, Tarek AlQazzaz, Hend Radwan


Press Contact
Josh Baran
Baran Strategies
New York, NY 10016
Phone: 212 779 2666

US Sales Contact 
John Sloss
New York, NY 10001
Phone: 212 204 7979

Print Source
Sarkasmos Productions


Sara Taksler is a Senior Producer at The Daily Show. She directed and produced the feature documentary, TWISTED: A Balloonamentary, about the world’s premier balloon-twisting convention. Taksler can talk backwards and has a remarkable fake sneeze. Sara’s favorite way of Tickling Giants: Using comedy to work through problems.


Comments are closed
optional requirements
  female model
  male model
  set design