Set in Cairo ‘Facing the Fixer’ is an insightful documentary about the importance of the role of fixers in foreign Journalism. The piece is kindly lent to the World Fixer Community by film maker Jessica Gutch.
The film is set in Cairo and features several fixers, news assistants, and journalists, whose contributions all build an articulate, intelligent and inspiring argument for the need to place more importance on fixers and their work. The ultimate question the film considers is why do Western news organisations seemingly not believe in giving local fixers a chance to be journalists themselves? It would diversify the news landscape, provide more stable jobs in developing countries and increase cultural understanding around the world.
The idea sprung from her bewilderment at being unaware of the role or existence of fixers in foreign journalism until they came up in a seminar discussion. There were three issues consistently cited in the research process by fixers and journalists, which thus became prevalent in the film. Firstly, acknowledgement that fixers’ crucial work often goes unnoticed in the public eye; secondly, the irreplaceable role of fixers as cultural mediators between Western journalists and locals; and thirdly, concern for their safety.
Jessi Gutch is from London and an MA graduate in Journalism and Documentary, who made Facing the Fixer as her final project and first film while a student. The documentary has since been shortlisted for the One World Media Student Award. She would like to thank her cameraman Mike and all the contributors in the film – Mayy, Manu, Mohannad, Ahmed, Hassan and Patrick – for sharing their stories with her and for kindly acting as her own fixers in Cairo!