The first discussion panel focused on the current uprisings in Syria.
Syrian film director and activist Hala al-Abdallah highlighted the importance of citizen journalists and filmmakers reporting from the field in the absence of professional reporters.
Filmmaker and journalist Mohamed Ali Atassi reminded the audience that, up until now, the Syrian state has been a major patron in Syrian cinema, so has imposed great censorship on the country¹s film production.
Film analyst Alaa Karkouti spoke about the importance of secularism and the role of civil society in building a democratic state in Syria.
The second discussion panel included Egyptian filmmaker Hala Galal, Lebanese producer and director of the Beirut Cinema Days Hania Mroue, Tunisian filmmaker Nadia el-Fani, and Egyptian journalist and activist Nora Younis.
Filming an uprising is very dangerous, said Galal, but only a great amount of footage shot by filmmakers, even mostly on simple cellphones, can ensure that more people are not killed.
Like many filmmakers, she said that she had a story about the uprisings in Egypt, but added that she wasn't sure if she dared to make a film.
"It hurts a lot when you have all these memories," she said. "I'm not sure that I want to keep them, so I'm not sure if I want to make a film now about it. It was more than terrible."
Egyptian journalist Younis agreed, and added that the conservative Muslim Brotherhood's recent political gains in Egypt were being countered by the increased political activity of average citizens, including veiled Muslim women, who were beginning to express greater resistance, thus creating greater political balance in the country.
A photo gallery of the discussion panels is available here: http://www.euromedaudiovisuel.net/2012/p.aspx?t=photogalleries&mid=104&l=en&did=4
A video of the discussion will shortly be posted on our website.