We had a wonderfully busy, intensive, and energizing week last week, with the first workshop of our 2021 / 2022 year. Though we couldn’t meet in-person, it was a powerful experience to meet one another, see each others’ faces, and hear about one another’s films.
We were joined virtually by this year’s 20 filmmakers, hailing originally from Afghanistan, Egypt, Iran, Israel, Palestine, Qatar, Syria, Turkey, and Yemen.
Our amazing team of mentors includes Bruni Burres, John Appel, Gitte Hansen, and Nino Kirtadze. Along with Close Up Founder and Executive Director Sigal Yehuda, they will work closely with the filmmakers throughout the year.
Along with our many group and one-on-one discussions, we were honored to have John Appel give a lecture on Themes and Styles in Documentaries, Talal Derki (director of Return to Homs and Of Fathers and Sons) speak to us on the artistic challenges he has experienced in his work, and special expert Hans Robert Eisenhauer lead a talk on the creation and importance of production and co-production packages.
In the final days of the workshop, the filmmakers presented their work and progress to the group and were given assignments to work on in the months leading up to our next workshop in March 2022.
We cannot stress enough how inspired the Close Up team is by this group of filmmakers. The fact that they continue creating despite war, censorship, exile, and illness is a triumph and testament to their talent and strength. This is presently especially true for our four Afghan filmmakers, who have faced an incredibly difficult year.
To our filmmakers, from everyone at Close Up, it is an honor to be on this journey with you. We’re looking forward to the next workshop and, of course, being all together in one physical place.