Filmmaker Mary Jirmanus is from Lebanon, and last week participated in the 10th Berlinale Talent Campus, a creative academy and networking platform for 350 up-and-coming filmmakers from all over the world.
Before coming to Berlin, Jirmanus had worked on productions for the Harvard Kennedy School of Government’s Mexico Program, the Boston Children’s Museum, the Coordinadora Nacional Campesina, a national farmer’s union in Ecuador, and was the producer of Via Comunidad, a weekly broadcast television programme in Northern Ecuador, which focuses on agrarian rights, education, community organizations and culture. She was a 2006 Harvard University Human Rights Fellow, and holds a BA in Social Studies from Harvard College.
Generally, she is interested in social movements in the Middle East and Latin America, and collaborations across regions, critically engaging with the tension between democratic rhetoric and practice in people’s vision for a better world.
“I am interested in nostalgia, historical memory and myth, dreams of revolution and social transformation,” she writes on her profile page for the Berlinale Talent Campus.
The Lebanese filmmaker is now working on a documentary about farmer social movements in Lebanon in the 1960s and 1970s.
Her film project has been accepted by DocMed, a project of the Euromed Audiovisual Programme, and she will participate in its workshop in Tunis in mid-March.
According to Jirmanus, her current project is about historical memory to try to understand how it relates to what is happening in Lebanon today.
“In comparison to the American film industry, there is [more] understanding in Lebanon, where these kinds of initiatives [such as DOCmed] are made available to support projects that wouldn’t be funded in the US,” she says.