Euromed Audiovisual holds first ever training initiative for script editors from the South Mediterranean region

Moroccan director Faouzi Bensaidi one of the tutors at a workshop to benefit 12 screenwriters and 10 script editors

Programme Activities, Euromed Audiovisual News, Tunisia

Euromed Audiovisual holds first ever training initiative for script editors from the South Mediterranean region

Twenty scriptwriters and script editors from the Arab world will gather in Djerba, Tunisia, from October 8 to 12, to start developing the screenplays of twelve upcoming fiction feature films from the region, as part of the Socrates training initiative organised by the regional EU-funded Euromed Audiovisual programme

This is the very first time that a training initiative specifically designed for script editors is organised in the South Mediterranean region. Script editor is a profession that is extremely rare in the South Mediterranean countries. Writers work in isolation and it is widely accepted that South Mediterranean scripts lack structure and rhythm. An external, professional eye is generally essential to improve the script, the story, the intrigue and the characters.

The originality of the seminar is that, for the first time in the region, aspiring script editors will work with scriptwriters to develop their script. Both script editors and scriptwriters will be coached by professional experts: award-winning Moroccan scriptwriter and director Faouzi Bensaïdi and film development consultant Head of Studies Isabelle Fauvel are to lead the workshop.

“Without a good script, there is no good film”, says Isabelle Fauvel, head of studies for the initiative. “Every script needs external inputs. This new initiative has been set up to explore the essential relationship between those who write a script and those who analyse them. Giving and receiving criticism, whether favourable or not, is not easy. In order to be productive, the relationship between readers and writers must obey certain rules, and there must be flexibility and an open mind on both sides.”

The training initiative will create job opportunities, as it will allow its newly trained script editors to find work helping scriptwriters from the region to improve their screenplays. As many participants are also producers, it will also allow production companies to diversify their activities, by offering script doctoring as part of their services.

The workshop is organised by the European Union's Euromed Audiovisual III programme in cooperation with the French Institute in Tunis.

The participants

Attending screenwriters and budding script doctors will hail from all over the Arabic-speaking world: Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan.

Three screenwriters will attend from Morocco: Sonia Terrab with her screenplay for Shamablanca, Marouan Saheb with Le sourire des condamnés, and Rita el Quessar with Dessine-moi un mouton. From Algeria,Hicham Lagha will attend with Résurrection. Moroccan scriptwriter Hakim Mao will be working on Forgive Them.

Three screenwriters will take part from Egypt: Maha El Wazir with The Wedding Dress, Hala El Koussy with Cactus Flower and Haitham Dabbour with Photocopy,while from Jordan, Amr Abdelhadi and Samar El Azzaeh will be working on their first feature film together as co-writers, The Balcony of Paradise.

Attending script editors are Lina Arious from Morocco, Hinde Boujemaa and Asma Chiboub from Tunisia, Ayman El Amir, Ahmed Shawky and Kismet Elsayed from Egypt, Fadi Haddad, Majd Hijawi and Deema Azar from Jordan, and Elyssa Skaff from Lebanon.

Three additional screenplays will also take part in the initiative, working with participating script editors online: Mehdi M. Barsaoui’s Little Me, Little You from Tunisia, Salim Abu Jabal’s The Scarecrow from Syria and Ahmed Rizkallah's You're not Alone from Egypt.

After the workshop, all scriptwriters will continue to work on their screenplays with participating script editors online until December, helped by Faouzi Bensaïdi and Isabelle Fauvel.

Faouzi Bensaïdi is a director, writer and actor. He directed his first short film, La Falaise, in 1998, which won several awards. The following year, he collaborated with veteran French filmmaker André Téchiné on the script of Loin. In 2000, he directed two shorts, Le Mur and Trajets, respectively awarded in Cannes and Venice. In 2003, his first feature film, A Thousand Months (Alf Shahr), was screened at Cannes in the Un Certain Regard sidebar section, winning the Prix de la Jeunesse and the Prix Premier Regard. He then wrote and directed two other feature films: WWW - What a Wonderful World (2007), and Death for Sale (2011).

Isabelle Fauvel has been working in development and script development for 20 years. In 1993, she founded Initiative Film, the first French company specialised in audiovisual project development as a service to film industry professionals: producers, scriptwriters, directors, actors and artistic agents. She was head of studies for Euromed Audiovisual I’s MEDEA project, assisting producers and filmmakers to develop their film projects and screenplays. 

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