After the announcements we had for the WHICKERS BURSARY, DOCS UP FUND, CPH:DOX AND MEDIMED AWARDS in the last few weeks, we are super happy to share with you the selected projects for the RESIDENCY AWARDS granted by THE SILVER SUN FOUNDATION and THE JACOB BURNS FILM CENTER in USA!
The Silver Sun Foundation and The Jacob Burns Film Center have awarded four to six-week residency experiences to two Close Up projects to take place starting in mid-October 2022. Filmmakers from each film’s team will spend time at both the Silver Sun Foundation in Woodstock, NY and the Jacob Burns Film Center in Pleasantville, NY, where they will receive housing, a private editing suite, weekly stipend, and paid travel. While in Pleasantville the filmmakers will also have access to the facilities and resources available at the JBFC’s Media Arts Lab and programming at the five-screen cinema.
On behalf of the Close Up partners, team, and mentors, we’d like to thank our dearest colleagues and great supporters Karen Sloe Goodman and everyone at The Silver Sun Foundation; Sean Weiner, Arno Mokros and everyone at the Jacob Burns Film Center, for this meaningful long-time partnership! The generous residency they provide for our filmmakers is truly needed for the continuation of our filmmakers’ creative process, and is genuinely valued by all of us at the Close Up family!
Two Close Up projects that are selected for the Residency Awards are LET’S PLAY SOLDIERS and CONCRETE LAND!
LET’S PLAY SOLDIERS is a project from YEMEN directed by Mariam Al-Dhubhani and produced by Mohammed Al-Jaberi that participated at the Close Up 2021-2022 program. Congratulations Mariam and Mohammed on your selection to the Residency Award!
LET’S PLAY SOLDIERS follows the story of a 16-year-old child soldier, Nasser, who returns home to seek his place in the community in Yemen, but the only available jobs are manual labor; none offer a good income or a future. Once home, Nasser realizes that he must protect his two younger brothers from following the same myth of becoming a soldier to make a man.
Karen Sloe Goodman, Director at Silver Sun Foundation Residency, shared these words about the project: “We are so excited to invite the Close Up filmmakers Mariam Al-Dhubhani and Mohammed Al-Jaberi to the Silver Sun Residence in support of their extraordinary project Let’s Play Soldiers, which shares a moving and difficult narrative about the impact of war on children and families that is familiar to so many around the world. These filmmakers have a stunning visual sensibility, as well as a unique and highly personal approach to their material and subjects, and we believe that their film will make an important impact on international audiences.”
CONCRETE LAND directed by Asmahan Bkerat and co-written by Ban Maraqa is a project from PALESTINE/ JORDAN that participated in the Close Up 2021-2022 program. After their successful pitch at the Close Up Pitching Forum in June, Asmahan and Ban are granted the post-production residency award and are invited to work on their rough cut together with their editor!
CONCRETE LAND follows an intimate story about a Bedouin family of three generations, in its struggle to hold on to its traditional life under the pressures of urbanization. Their only wish is to stay together, with their loyal yet eccentric pet sheep, Badrya, firmly by their side. Now, the life of the still-singing family is about to change as a new building constructions take over, and the city challenges their way of life.
Karen Sloe Goodman, Director at Silver Sun Foundation Residency, said: “Silver Sun is thrilled to include Close Up director Asmahan Bkerat, along with co-writer and editor Ban Maraqa, at the Silver Sun Residence in support of their gorgeous and poetic project Concrete Land. So much about this film touches on universal themes, such as the loss of cultural and family traditions in an ever-changing region, and the role of music as an expression of mourning and loss. We are particularly grateful to be able to support this story about the Bedouin people and their traditions, who are commonly unknown in western regions, and look forward to introducing these talented filmmakers to our community.”
Sean Weiner, Director of Programs, Media Arts Lab at JBFC shared that: “The Jacob Burns Film Center is thrilled to continue our longstanding partnership with Close Up Initiative through the awarding of residencies to film teams from feature projects CONCRETE LAND and LET’S PLAY SOLDIERS. It is an honor to support the emergence into the film industry of talented filmmakers and storytellers Asmahan Bkerat, Ban Maraqa, Mariam Al-Dhubhani, and Mohammed Al-Jaberi. We look forward to welcoming you to our community in Pleasantville, New York and providing space, time, and support for your creative processes.”