TED Community » Saeed Taji Farouky

About Me

Saeed Taji Farouky is an award-winning documentary filmmaker, photographer and writer whose work focuses on issues of human rights and social justice, often in the Middle East and North Africa. His work takes a creative approach to combining observational and investigative styles and his work stresses transparency, often referencing the relationship between filmmaker and subject.

Born in the UK to Palestinian/Egyptian parents, he grew up in London and Bahrain, and studied documentary photography at Boston's School for the Museum of Fine Arts. He began working as a documentary photographer and print journalist in 2004, the same year he directed his first documentary I See The Stars At Noon, in which he followed a Moroccan man as he attempted to cross into Spain illegally.

In 2009, Farouky was named Artist-in-Residence at Tate Britain, after twice being named Artist-in-Residence at the British Museum. His 2007 documentary, Tunnel Trade - about the underground smuggling economy through Gaza's tunnels - recently won Outstanding Short Documentary at the San Francisco Arab Film Festival. His work has been broadcast internationally on channels including Channel 4, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and Al-Jazeera English and his films have been officially selected for The Geneva Human Rights Film Festival, Oslo International Film Festival, London International Documentary Film Festival and the Watch Docs, amongst others.

In his spare time, Farouky is also a singer and songwriter (with the band Columbo) and a playwright (winner of the 2009 Angel Theatre New Writer Award)

United Kingdom, London Uk
Current organization:
Tourist With A Typewriter Ltd
Current role:
Documentary Filmmaker
Areas of expertise:
Human Rights, Social Justice/Human Rights, Middle East
I am:
Artist, Concerned citizen, Filmmaker, Journalist, Musician, Photographer, Producer, Writer/Editor
English, Arabic
My website links:
www.touristwithatypewriter.com, Taji
Tufts University, School for the Museum of Fine Arts - Boston
TED conferences attended:
TEDGlobal 2012, TED2012, TEDGlobal 2011, TED2011, TED2010

TEDCRED 200+ TED Fellow

More About Me

I'm passionate about

Making films, taking photographs, investigations, finding new ways of building trust with audiences, uncovering secrets, hearing and telling stories. And Flamenco.

An idea worth spreading

Penny-On. Effortless giving. Not my idea, but the brainchild of a genius friend. The idea is simple. Penny-On offers to add a penny on to the price of a range of products at the point of sale. You, the customer, agree to pay it. The penny goes to a sustainable development project.
You do it, and it raises a penny.
A million people do it, and it raises £10,000.
Ten million shoppers do it every day of the year...you get the idea...

Talk to me about

Ethics in media
Filmmaking, documentaries
The Arctic

People don't know that I'm good at

Singing, Fencing,


  • TEDCred score: +210.00 TEDCred reflects your contribution to the TED community.

  • A reply on Talk: Camille Seaman: Haunting photos of polar ice

    Jun 19 2011: If you want to see fashion, I think Vogue has an online forum you can join. TED, on the other hand, values IDEAS worth spreading...
  • +1

    A comment on Conversation: What's your favorite single sentence from a TEDTalk?

    Feb 14 2011: "Do not fear what has blown up. If you must, fear the unexploded."
    Suheir Hammad
  • +2

    A comment on Conversation: To what extent has social media contributed to the spreading of the People's revolutions and call for Freedom in Tunisia & Egypt?

    Feb 14 2011: Online social media is simply a tool that can be used and abused in ways as creative as the people exploiting it. It can help to organise revolutionaries, or to help crush them. Let's not forget that dissent and revolutions existed in equally powerful forms before digital social media, so while these tools helped, say, the people of Tunisia and Egypt, these were not "twitter revolutions" "facebook revolutions" etc. I find that name itself very patronising: news channels and corporations desperately branding the bravery and sacrifice of the people of Tunisia, Egypt, and so on...

    I think once the revolutionary passion has momentum, it can succeed. Online social media helps it to succeed faster.