With a Lebanese member of the jury, special screenings and discussions on the Arab Spring, a Berlin Today Award for a young Israeli filmmaker, Lebanese video art, and 23 young filmmakers from the South Mediterranean at the film festival’s Talent Campus, this year was a good Berlinale for the South Mediterranean.
Euromed Audiovisual is proud to have been part of it.
The European Union’s programme for the audiovisual sector in the South Mediterranean notably supported and invited speakers to the discussions “Focus on Syria”, “Documenting Revolution”, and “Changing Perspectives” on the Arab world defining its future.
Filmmakers from the South Mediterranean supported by Euromed Audiovisual, notably through its documentary development project Greenhouse, were also among the professionals from 130 countries in Berlin. Among them, Greenhouse participant Rafael Balulu won the Berlin Today Award for his short film Batman at the Checkpoint, and Greenhouse participant Yonatan Nir attended Berlin’s Cinema for Peace Awards 2012 with Dolphin Boy, a documentary that he co-directed with Dani Menkin, about a traumatised Arab teenager who is healed by dolphins.
Arab film distributors attended too, and enjoyed it once they figured out how it all worked.
On World Cinema Fund day, Euromed Audiovisual invited Syrian filmmaker and producer Hala al-Abdallah, Syrian journalist Mohamed Ali Attassi, Tunisian filmmaker Nadia el-Fani, and Morroccan poet Tahar Ben Jelloun. During one of the discussions, the latter was optimistic about democracy in the Arab region long-term, and said that eventually Islamist parties would be swept away due to their incompetence.
“Islamism wants to control our daily lives, the Islamists tell us how we should eat, drink or make love, it’s an unsustainable concept for the Egyptians or Tunisians”, he said.
In an interview with Euromed Audiovisual, Dieter Kosslick, director of the Berlin Film Festival, was equally optimistic about the role that art and cinema in particular, not religion, was playing in change, and said that it was clear, from the selection of films about the Arab Spring at the festival, that youth who were educated and dedicated to the arts were the driving force behind change.
All it all, it was a good year for the Arab world at the Berlinale with several films receiving excellent reviews in the press.
For all this and more, please visit the Euromed Audiovisual website or click on the following links.