The projects were selected among 123 applications submitted to Close-Up from all across the Middle East and North Africa, including: Afghanistan, Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey & United Arab Emirates.
We would like to thank all the filmmakers that apply, they all faced tremendous competition! Wishing all the filmmakers best of luck!
An Iraqi mother living in the UK returns to Iraq to discover why her father sacrificed himself 40 years ago attempting to assassinate Saddam Hussein, abandoning her as a 6-year-old. Will this perilous journey finally heal her open wounds?
After serving 30 years in prison for being a “terrorist”, 67 years old Turkish Marxist socialist woman, Güneş embarks on a challenging journey to complete her mission; making a revolution, from where she left off. Güneş holds on to her mission, but the challenges of the new world will push her to question her endurance and her relevancy.
CROSSING is an untold story of Egypt seen through the lives of two trans people: Mariam, an imam, and Jivara, an activist. Both yearn to belong and live their true identity amidst the increasing hostility of society and their own families especially today. Egypt’s supreme religious authority is blocking medical transition after it was legalized by the Muslim Brotherhood post-Arab Spring.!
After a young girl from the mountains of central Afghanistan mysteriously commits suicide inside Kabul University, her family’s calm rural life enters into a painful event and exhausting process. Parents are now looking for justice in one of the most corrupt judicial systems in the world; while Freshta -their younger daughter- attempts to gain admission to the same university, to complete what her sister had started.
Letters from Ms. Iran tells the story of two Iranian women who meet in 2018 virtually through an email exchange. One, Farahnaz, has lived her entire life in Iran, while the other, Leyla, left Iran over forty years ago to live in the USA. Through their letters they each bring to life how they understand being Iranian, and in the process narrate an alternative history of Iran over the past fifty years.
An eighty-year-old woman is sentenced to three years of house arrest by Turkish courts for sending clothes to her son, a Kurdish guerrilla, whom she has not seen for twenty-five years.
The film is a coming of age story of young Palestinians from Jabalia refugee camp, who are now successfully settled in Europe. Built on unique visual material filmed throughout 20 years, the film explores the personal transition and change of its protagonists from youth to adulthood. It spiced with humor and brutal honesty and focused on a deeply intimate dialogue and emotional responses of this generation, the film reflects upon universal questions of personal growth and change.
As part of a circular immigration program, Saloua, a Moroccan widow with five children, goes four months a year to harvest strawberries in Andalusia to provide for her family. Rotten Strawberry provides an intimate view into the female experience of seasonal work, family separation, and labour exploitation.
Silent House is a personal film that explores pre-and-post-Revolutionary Iran through a traditional, Tehran-based family living in an old house that someday belonged to the fourth wife of Reza Shah (the Shah of Iran 1925-1941). The film weaves together a rich tapestry of social and political themes by charting the changes experienced by one upper-middle -class Iranian family following the 1979 revolution until the present time through a highly personal narration of two filmmakers, siblings. With the house itself as a silent witness, the family’s story becomes a mirror for society and the family’s house a metaphor for Iran.
Six weddings and a baby tells the story of how the birth of my little girl confuses my feminine identity, forcing me, as a new mother, to go back to my childhood memories. On both sides of the Mediterranean, from the Moroccan Rif to Brussels, I go on a journey through the history of the women of my family.
From the myth of the patron saint of the acrobats, Sidi Ahmed ou Moussa, to the myth of my family, and my grandfather. Mbark born in Morocco in 1900, who at 12-years-old joined the circus and moved to Germany, later he married the German Acrobat, Anna, together, they returned to Morocco and Mbark married Mm’i, a young Moroccan woman who was my grandmother. The Acrobat will go beyond the legend and forgotten to discover and reveal my family’s hidden and sometimes mysterious past.
Driven by their passion for change, two filmmakers encounter death to document the 2019 Sudanese revolution. A year later during the covid19 lockdown, they re-examine their personal intentions and political drives as they explore the story of the revolution and their growing friendship.
This film is a personal quest, triggered by the oriental jewish artist Salim Halali’s music, that makes me question my identity and belonging. The film takes us in an extraordinary journey into his life and his music and brings me to the source of my origins, exploring the most intimate impact of art.
An exclusive look inside “conversion therapy”, that promises to make homosexuals straight. Lev and Ben attend conversion therapy, but as Lev searches for a bride, Ben starts having doubts. He begins an academic research, investigating if conversion is possible, or, as claimed by many, it is a deadly dangerous lie.