Close Up Program

Close Up provides a tailor-made training and development program that runs for a period of 8-months for documentary filmmakers from the Southwest Asia and North Africa. We support filmmakers from diverse ethnic, religious and cultural backgrounds from Afghanistan, Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Egypt, Georgia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Yemen.

We create industry opportunities for filmmakers from different regions, and strengthens these significant ties. Documentary filmmakers from our region and around the world are dealing with similar significant quests in their films, such as questions of identity, discrimination of minorities, gender issues, immigration and the tension that exist between the West and East. Our filmmakers are challenging us to look carefully at our own prejudice, they make us look at the complexities of our societies from a genuine perspective as they are recreating an important narrative with their unique observations.

Co-productions between filmmakers from different regions will increase cultural diversity on urgent current global topics and create professional collaborations that will assist filmmakers secure additional funding. Filmmakers have a great need for sophisticated and comprehensive understanding of the international marketplace for documentaries. This will considerably improve the prospects of attracting finance for their projects and help filmmakers to maximize the revenues from their productions.

We are committed to an open dialogue and sharpening the necessary skills and dedication to produce extraordinary films that advance justice, democracy and peace. Utilizing the extensive experience, network, and reputation for excellence harvested over the past decades, CLOSE UP brings together passionate, talented and courageous filmmakers who have a profound understanding of the complexities in their communities. We support them in developing and creating compelling original documentaries that illuminate the most urgent social and political realities of our troubled region.


The program supports up to 24 documentary filmmakers a year from diverse ethnic, religious, and political backgrounds from across Southwest Asia & North Africa. 

The selected filmmakers are awarded a participation grant covering their tuition fee, flight tickets, accommodation costs and meals during the three workshops that take place over the course of our annual program.

The selected filmmakers participate in three workshops as part of a tailor-made program by leading mentors in the field of documentary filmmaking. The mentors guide the filmmakers through the creative process of developing a profound co-production package, including a teaser, which is then presented at the final workshop in the framework of a pitching forum.

The participating filmmakers advance their skills and improve their understanding of the artistic challenges involved in relation to storytelling techniques and dramaturgy. They acquire knowledge on co-production opportunities, budget and financial planning, and the legal framework in relation to copyrights and distribution.

At the end of each workshop, all participants are given clear instructions by their mentors and guest industry experts on how to make progress with their projects. In between workshops, the participating filmmakers are able to keep in close touch with their personal mentors, via Zoom conversations and emails.

At the third and final workshop, the filmmakers present their projects in a pitching forum in front of potential financiers from the international documentary market, such as Sundance Film Institute, Blue-Ice Docs, Catapult Film Fund, Chicken & Egg Pictures, Doc’s Up Fund, IDFA-Bertha Foundation, ARTE France, MDR Germany, the Jacob Burns Film Center in NY, The Silver Sun Foundation in NY, Movies that Matters Film Festival, The Danish Film Institute, MEDIMED Documentary Market  and others.

The Close Up program also offers prestigious awards for our selected filmmakers, which are part of our inspiring collaborative partnerships .