OUR STORYTELLING EDIT LAB IN BERLIN CONCLUDED AFTER AN AMAZING, INTENSIVE, AND FRUITFUL WEEK
“The lab pushed me to think about my project in ways I wasn’t or may have felt too anxious to do. It made us wonder about our storytelling voice and how to make sure it comes across in the film the best way possible.”
— Jude Chehab (Director – Q, Lebanon)
Close Up’s first ever edit lab was six full and exciting days of discussions, screenings, editing, feedback, collaboration, and of course fun in Berlin.
After nearly two years of online collaboration, the Close Up team and ten filmmakers (working on four projects) were incredibly happy and grateful to be together in Germany in-person, many of us meeting there for the first time.
“The editing lab allowed us to take a week away from our reality of oppression and focus on our film. We were accompanied by experienced editors and filmmakers, and our discussions with them helped us to understand how we want to tell the story of our film, and how to find our own voice. It was a truly remarkable experience.”
— Basel Adraa, Yuval Abraham, Rachel Szor, Hamdan Balal (Directors – No Other Land, Palestine/Israel)
The first two days consisted of screenings of the four rough cuts followed by an in depth discussion on each one. Our mentors and filmmakers focused on the specific artistic challenges each filmmaker is facing, form and cinematic expression, and finding concrete and actionable ways to improve the cuts and strengthen the storylines and themes.
The second half of the lab was intensive and productive, as the filmmakers, together with editing mentors, spent long hours in the edit rooms working away. Specific focus has been paid to improving the films’ opening scenes, going through unused footage, overall structure, and character development.
“I think this type of lab is something profoundly significant in light of the challenges facing storytellers from the diasporas of the Middle East and North Africa. It gave an opportunity for filmmakers to connect, share, and grow our projects under the guiding light of mentors who genuinely care about the filmmakers and the stories we want to tell.”
— Fahd Ahmed (Editor – Q, Lebanon)
After some important and exciting breakthroughs in the cuts and new ideas on how to move forward, we screened their progress for one another and industry professionals from Berlin. Guests joined us from the European Film Market of the Berlinale, Deckert Distribution, the Wim Wenders Foundation, Tondowski Films, and Jyoti Film. Following the screenings, they met with the filmmakers one-on-one for feedback and further discussion.
We would like to once again thank the German Federal Foreign Office for their support for the lab.
“Regardless of the filmmakers’ level of experience, Close Up offers relevant feedback, with constant attention to each filmmaker’s specific needs. The atmosphere is both relaxed and rigorous, allowing filmmakers to interact within a safe, welcoming space.”
— Leyla Rouhi (Director – Letters from Ms. Iran, Iran)
Additionally, read Cineuropa’s interview with Close Up founder and executive director Sigal Yehuda, in which she discusses the lab, this year’s selected projects, and working with filmmakers from our unique region: https://cineuropa.org/en/interview/415602/
And one more piece of happy news to share! Jude Chehab, who we just had the pleasure of spending the week with for the lab in Berlin, was named one of 25 NEW FACES OF INDEPENDENT FILM 2021 by Filmmaker magazine. It is a very well deserved honor – congratulations, Jude!
We deeply thank the German Federal Foreign Office for this valuable support that enables us to provide an extortionary opportunity for emerging filmmakers from the South West Asia & North Africa.
SEARCHING FOR KIKHIA (LIBYA)
Director: Jihan Kikhia / Editor: Nikole Halova
When director Jihan Kikhia was six years old, her father disappeared. He flew to Cairo and never returned. As a result, her mother began the search for him. This documentary takes the audience on a raw and reflective journey as Jihan pieces together a father she barely knew, while unraveling his politically motivated disappearance.
Director: Jude Chehab / Editor: Fahd Ahmed
For over fifty years, a Syrian movement has been secretly growing into the largest Muslim women’s organization in the world. Through a personal and generational lens, Q takes us deep into the mysterious, unspoken world of the Qubaysiat, the regime-loving Sufis turned cult.
NO OTHER LAND (PALESTINE/ISRAEL)
Directors: Basel Adaraa, Yuval Abraham, Rachel Szor and Hamdan Balal
For ten years, Basel, a young Palestinian activist, has been filming homes in his community being destroyed by Israeli soldiers. In face of mass eviction of his community, he develops an unlikely relationship with an Israeli journalist who joins his struggle.
LETTERS FROM MS. IRAN (IRAN)
Directors: Farahnaz Sharifi and Leyla Rouhi
Letters from Ms. Iran tells the story of two Iranian women who meet virtually, through an email exchange. Through their letters they bring to life how they understand being Iranian and narrate an alternative history of Iran over the past fifty years.
SUPPORTED BY GERMAN FEDERAL FOREIGN OFFICE