Greenhouse’s 5 Broken Cameras wins awards in Amsterdam

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Greenhouse’s 5 Broken Cameras wins awards in Amsterdam

Documentary filmmakers from the South Mediterranean, Euromed Audiovisual III-backed development programme Greenhouse 2012 is now open for applications!

The news comes as 5 Broken Cameras, a feature-length documentary by Emad Burnat and Guy Davidi (Palestine/Israel) that took part in Greenhouse 2009, won two awards at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) at the end of November.

The documentary, filmed over six years and costing the Palestinian filmmaker five cameras, was awarded the Special Jury Award and the Audience Award. It tells the story of self-taught Palestinian filmmaker Burnat as he documents protests against an Israeli separation barrier being built on his villagers’ land.

The film uses Burnat’s raw footage and his voice-over to tell a deeply personal story, with Israeli filmmaker Davidi lending his editing expertise to the Palestine / France / Israel /Netherlands co production. The two directors met when Davidi came to Bil’in as a peace activist. “Everybody knew Emad because he very quickly became the only cameraman in Bil’in,” Israeli filmmaker Davidi told IDFA.

Funding, from the Netherlands, Canada, and the Asian Cinema Fund among others, was reportedly relatively straightforward to find because potential backers reacted positively to Bernat’s footage.

“Emad’s footage was strong, the storytelling was smart. We were sincere in our intentions and we had a good strong partnership and that’s basically what you need,” Davidi told IDFA, adding that the support of the Greenhouse Film Centre was “very important” in the development and financing of the film.

Now English-speaking filmmakers like Burnat and Davidi are invited to apply for Greenhouse workshops in 2012. The deadline for applications for Greenhouse 2012 is February 20, 2012.

Since 2005, each year Greenhouse has invited 10 to 15 cinema school graduates and emerging filmmakers from Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Syria, and Tunisia to seminars with international experts to develop international production packages and receive feedback from an international pitching forum.

Of approximately 80 film concepts subjected to the Greenhouse process, 50 percent are in varying stages of production, with 10 either produced or nearly produced.

One of these is Waiting for Heaven a film by Awatif Al-Jediely from Gaza.When she was unable to leave Gaza to participate in the Greenhouse 2008 programme, her brother, the film’s producer, who lived in the West Bank, participated instead. Working together by phone, they impressed that year’s experts, and Greenhouse staff helped her obtain production funding from a Dutch foundation.

“At the heart of Greenhouse is the belief that, in the complicated Mediterranean region, dialogue—especially dialogue between Arab and Israeli filmmakers—is essential in bringing peaceful change and hope,” says the Greenhouse website.

Greenhouse is a EU-Mediterranean joint venture supported by the European Union’s Euromed Audiovisual III programme.

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