A new series is currently in the works of the infamous crimes committed by Raya and Sakina, dubbed ‘The Alexandria Killings’, which took place a century ago in Egypt. The series will be directed by Oscar-winning Terry George, director of Hotel Rwanda, 2005, and acclaimed Egyptian writer Mariam Naoum is also involved in its production. The anthology of this true crime series is a story of two sisters who murdered 17 women while Egypt was still under British rule. In addition, this series serves as just the first part of a planned MENA anthology series in the works that will take place in several different time periods and locations across the Arab world.
Who are Raya and Sakina?
Raya and Sakina Ali Hammam’s story has reached far and wide throughout Egypt and the Arab world. They opened a secret brothel business, where visitors would smoke hashish, drink alcohol, and engage in activities with prostitutes. Given the harshness of the economic strife that was taking place in Egypt around that time, especially with the uprising in 1919 against British rule, people usually invested money in gold jewelry instead of banks. Women wore gold accessories on their ankles, arms, and necks. Consequently, it was these very type of women who would ultimately fall prey to Raya and Sakina. Together, with the aid of other accomplices, their crimes would lead to the murders of over 17 women, all for motive of financial gain. It was Raya’s 10 year old daughter, Badia, who helped incriminate the two sisters, as she witnessed the crimes take place through a dark cracked wall in her home. As a result of these crimes, Raya and Sakina would go on to becoming the first women executed in modern Egyptian history.
What do we know about the show so far?
In collaboration with the UAE-based Front Row Film Entertainment, as well as Rocket Science, the series will be produced by international film producers such as Thorsten Schumacher, Gianluca Chakra, and Terry George, an Oscar-winning writer and director.
“At this point of my career, I really believe that merging the experiences of the Middle Eastern and Western filmmakers is crucial for the industry of filmmaking and it will help perfect the adaptation of the story,” said Naoum.
Set in 1920, the show will dissect the crimes of Raya and Sakina, the rise and fall of their secret empire, the criminal conspiracies that took place in the Alexandrian underworld, their executions, and the public outcry that resulted from their death sentences, as the mindset of people shifted, making out the sisters as victims.