WE ARE HAPPY TO ANNOUNCE THAT AFTER A VERY COMPETITIVE SELECTION PROCESS, 16 EXTRAORDINARY DOCUMENTARY PROJECTS WERE SELECTED FOR THE 2021-2022 CLOSE-UP PROGRAM!
We are excited to share the 16 powerful documentary projects representing a diverse group of filmmakers coming from different countries, ethnicities, and cultural background. This year’s cohort – of 24 directors and producers – hails from Afghanistan, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Palestine, Qatar, Syria, Sudan, Turkey, Yemen.
On the backdrop of Iran’s recent political history, An Owl, a Garden and the Writer invites usto a poetic revelation of one of Iran’s prominent writers, Mahmoud Dowlatabadi. Having been inspired by the way Mahmoud creates a fictional universe within their daily lives, his daughter, through her lens, portrays the imaginary world of her father in a parallel narrative line, blurring the lines of perceived reality for the audience. The film opens doors to the secret garden of Mahmoud’s life, drawing a unique portrait of a novelist who adopted a solitary routine outside the hassles of today’s Iranian society.
Boundless Stillness tells the story of a small Sri Lankan fishing village that skyrocketed to fame as an international kitesurfing hotspot, exposing the stories from the two coexisting worlds: kitesurfing and fishing. Dilsiri, a local kitesurfing entrepreneur, is trying to maintain a sustainable tourism model against the overcrowding of international investors. The head family of the fishing society is split between generations; a resistant-to-change grandfather, an accommodating father, and a rebellious kitesurfing son. With COVID halting mass-tourism in their village, our characters are forced into new journeys.
Early 1970s. The two giant, monument-like towers, erected on either side of the Bosphorus, watch over Istanbul and witness a changing Turkey. Bridge depicts the period between 1970-1973 when the construction of the first Bosphorus Bridge took place. The film is an attempt at a poetic retelling of history, creating a narrative of social, cultural and ecological history through objects.
Concrete Land is an intimate look at the lives of a Palestinian Bedouin family of three generation and its struggle to holding on to its traditional life under the pressure of gentrification. Their only wish as a family is to stay together with their loyal yet eccentric pet sheep Badrya firmly by their side.
The life of Qashqai big tribe in the south of Iran is on the verge of destruction and extinction as a result of wrong development policies. Majid and a group of the tribe youths decide to reopen the main migration route of Qashqai tribe, which is under the main streets of Shiraz, during a big and magnificent migration.
Patriot Mr. Sharif Watan dost who wears a red hat which is a symbol of millennial Hazara culture. He is successful comedian who goes to war of poverty, Mafia and racism with empty hands, a lot of anger and force. He buries a bunch of young people who have been killed in schools, maternity wards, mosques and stadiums, all of which are Hazara people. But he is just watching this systematic massacre that has ancient roots, from the time of Abdul Rahman to the Ashraf Ghani. Despite, the fall of Ghani these systematic killings are continued till date.
Capturing the struggles against borders, the celebration of resistance manifested in the activism of the youth, and our own relatability as people in exile, Fire of the Butterfly breaks walls and dismantles borders to tell the tale of a thousand who speak in the reverberations of her wings. Parwana, meaning Butterfly, is a 17-year-old poet and change-maker who has led the fight against forces of apartheid that invisiblise the migrant in waiting. We capture that endless wait through her and others like her that are forced to grow up under modern systems of apartheid.
“It’s hard being a teenager and probably even more so when you have to live with your enemy…”
Unexpectedly, in the heart of Israel burning with war, in complete secrecy, there is an extraordinary boarding school, home for Palestinians, Israelis and international teenagers. As they begin their senior year, Success and failures, Friendship and rivalries, Love and heartbreak occupy their world. At this delicate point, political tension infiltrates their safe cocoon, suddenly they realize that more than just being adolescents, they are “forced” to represent their nationalities. Will their friendships survive pervasive national conflict? Do they have the ability to change their ways and chart a different future for all of us?
The film tells the story of a man from Rojava (Northern Syria) who has lost his olive trees during the war and he is trying to rebuild his lost trees and life in his mind and in the real world.
For the first time in her life, Nazila could have her own small room. The room on the rooftop, used by the family to store the things inside. Perhaps her need for solitude has encouraged her to find that room, clean up its disorder and try to make it a place to protect her private life. However, soon the family have to move out because of the bank loan contract expiry. It’s hard for her to get separated from that small room. Moving out every year, makes it impossible for her to feel “belonged” to a place. She’s a tenant, as much as she’s an immigrant.
Nasser is a 16-year-old child soldier who is actively trying to find his place in the community in a small village in Yemen. The unfortunate circumstances in the country led him to grow up too soon, and he is in a constant struggle to keep being his family’s primary provider.
Two young girls navigate their lives within a terror-infested and broken society. Life In The Shadows, provides a rare picture of how an ongoing genocide is affecting the life of a small Hazara community in Quetta, a border city of Pakistan.
Machid and Khatima are soon to leave their childhood and enter into adulthood. Machid dreams of a wider world and of joining her father in the west only if she survives targeted attacks on her community. Khatima contents herself with the here and now and together with a gang of child labors, she works and lives in a massive cemetery. Their neighborhood in Quetta is surrounded by walls and army checkpoints to keep the Taliban out. Neither Machid nor Khatima have ever passed through the walls.
Somewhere in the vicinity of a remote village, in the dead heat of summer, six elderly women just work in the salt mine. They are seasonal workers. five days a week, they enter the mine very early in the morning, climbing the salt mountain, extracting salt, and then descending the mountain carrying bags. The daily struggle of them ends with the first autumn rain. The women return home and wait for spring.
Does a location define a character and goal?
The documentary of Saleemah is a true-life events of a female Governor who used to live and work in the most male ruled country on earth. A woman who has worked for the past three years as the district governor in Blakh Province in Afghanistan to teach men how to be a man. Her unbreakable character and strength was a true challenge to Taliban, until the country was taken by the Taliban. She fled to USA, facing a whole new challenge.
A new game; how to help a country from distance. Will the motivations as immigrant increase or happens the opposite? We will find out following her closely.
My grandfather was a military governor of the Arab citizens of Israel after the establishment of the state. The positive image he presented during his lifetime slowly crumbles when I reveal his true actions as ruler.
To meet his graduation project deadline, A filmmaker and a master’s student makes an abrupt decision to follow the stories of the winning team of Qatar’s championship for kids in 2016.Not knowing that he was on the beginning of a long transformative journey, the filmmaker takes the trip to Wad Madani in Sudan, where the team’s school is located. After meeting five of the key players and their families, along with their coach, he is faced with the devastating fates that awaited each of them, unraveling stories of struggle, loss, forgetfulness, and corruption, some of which become personal to him.