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!
They worked intensely with their mentors John Appel, Hans Robert Eisenhauer, Nino Kirtadze and Bruni Burres on the development of their written proposals, visual materials and trailers. Six Nordic Producers from Sweden, Finland and Denmark joined the workshop and participated as observers in order to examine possible Co-Productions with the selected Filmmakers.
On the first day of the workshop, the participants watched two feature length documentaries by the acclaimed French filmmaker Nicolas Philibert – “Every Little Thing” and ‘In the Land of the Deaf” followed by a fascinating Masterclass Philibert gave to both filmmakers and producers in which he spoke about his storytelling, cinematic approach and relationship with his characters.
Two Lectures on storytelling were given by Close-Up Partner & mentor John Appel, in his first lecture John defined the projects’ genre and presented examples from successful films with similar themes and styles. He spoke about the challenges and fruitful solutions found by the filmmakers of those films while Emphasizing the use of different and variable storytelling technics in documentaries. In his second lecture, John used his vast experience as a Filmmaker and showed excerpts from his films while discussing the concept of storytelling. He gave examples of finding the dramatic focal point of a film and how to structure the narrative and the layout of the story.
Two Lectures were given by Close-Up mentor Hans Robert Eisenhauer, in the first one he unfolded his personal outlook as a former commissioning editor and independent producer in the present on Co-Productions and the challenges directors and producers are facing during the filmmaking. He used examples from his own professional experience working with first time Filmmakers. In his second lecture, Hans Robert discussed the ways to write a comprehensive and strong written proposal and gave examples of projects’ he worked on and screened their trailers.
Throughout the workshop, the participants had both group and one-to-one tutorial sessions with their mentors. The Nordic Co-Producers observed these meetings and got to know both the filmmakers and their projects in depth. In addition, they had one-to-one meetings with each filmmaker to discuss what and how they could be involved with their projects as Producers.
Hind & Vibeke shared the artistic and financial challenges they dealt with while working on the first feature length documentary directed by Hind Bensari. The film was developed at the Greenhouse program in 2014-2015 and won the Best Feature Documentary at 2018 Hot Docs International Documentary Film Festival.
On the final day of the workshop, there was a pitching simulation session moderated by Executive Director Sigal Yehuda, the filmmakers presented their projects to the Close-Up team & mentors and received feedback on their projects’ content and footage, as well as concrete thoughts on how to further develop and improve their projects.
At the end of the session, the Close-Up team and mentors gave each filmmaker individual assignments. These assignments touch upon research, writing, filming and editing footage, which the filmmakers will need to complete in preparations for the second workshop, scheduled for March 2020.
The Workshop took place last week over Skype. We scheduled Skype sessions between our 18 filmmakers and their mentors together with two prominent editing consultants, Joelle Alexis and Anne Fabini. They discussed with the filmmakers their project’s developments in regards to storytelling, dramaturgy, character’s development and cinematic vision based on edited materials & written proposals that our filmmakers have shared with our mentors & editors in advance. Each filmmaker had 2.5 hour’s session, it was intense, inspiring and constructive!
It ended last Friday 13th of March, successfully without any risk taken and particularly in most productive way!
In preparations for our Final Workshop & Pitching Forum scheduled for June 2020, the mentor gave each filmmaker specific assignments in regards to the editing materials & the development of the written proposal which the filmmakers will deliver in the next coming weeks.
In addition, next week, our MENA filmmakers will be having one-on-one Skype meetings with our Nordic Producers in order to discuss further Co-Production possibilities.
We were all saddened we couldn’t meet all in Izmir, but as the Corona crisis continues to grow all over the world, we are happy we maintained the safety of everyone at Close-Up.
We’re looking forward for our final workshop & pitching forum!
Our 22 filmmakers from Algeria, Afghanistan, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Morocco, Palestine, Sudan & Turkey pitched their projects to an acclaimed group of decision makers from around the world including Robin Smith from Blue Ice Docs, Lisa Kleiner Chanoff from Catapult Film Fund, Karen Sloe Goodman from Silver Sun Foundation, Sean Weiner from Jacob Burns Film Center & Institute, Alex Szalat from Doc Up Fund, Sophie Chegaray from Franc TV, Karen Mikael from ARTE , Hajnal Molnar-Szakacs and Kristin Feeley Sundance Film Institute , Lucila Moctezuma from Chicken & Egg Pictures , Amy Hobby from Tribeca Film Institute , Margje de Koning from Movies That Matter, Cecilia Lidin from the Danish Film Institute, Gudrun Hanke-ElGomri SWR , Jess Gormley from The Guardian, Adriek van Nieuwenhuyzen and Isabel Arrate Fernandez from IDFA , Christine Camdessus and Christian Popp from Fipadoc, Gitte Hansen from First Hand Films.
It was the first time most of our filmmakers had ever pitched, meeting the panel members who are passionate about the creative process of filmmaking and having such a diverse experience was incredibly inspiring for their development process.
We thank you all for your valuable contribution!
We are excited to announce a few Grants and residency Awards part of the Close-Up Collaborations with a few significant film institutions.
Alex Szalat, the Director of Docs Up Fund was very impressed by the presentations of our filmmakers and offered to two awards of 1000EUR for two projects, KAMAY & ROTTEN STRAWBERRY.
Alex is longtime friend of Close-Up; he served as a member of our International Selection Committee this year and knows the projects when they were still ideas submitted to Close-Up in July 2019.
Residency Awards are generously offered to our filmmakers by our wonderful partners Karen Sloe Goodman from The Silver Sun Foundation in Woodstock, NY and Sean Weiner from The Jacob Burns Film Center in Pleasantville New York. As part of our collaboration, the selected filmmakers will be invited to work in the beautiful calm environment, surrounded by inspiring people in NY, USA in the spring of 2021. Karen Sloe Goodman and Sean Weiner are our longtime friends at Close-Up and we are thankful for the precious support & wonderful opportunity they are providing to our filmmakers.
Another wonderful collaboration initiated with Margje De Koning the Artist Director of Movies that Matter Film Festival in the Netherlands. During the 2021 Movies that Matter festival, filmmakers from CLOSE UP will be invited to screen their rough cuts, work on their impact campaigns and get inspired by meeting filmmakers from all over the world. Movies that Matter will offer a tailor made program for them with experts to make their films stronger, design impact for their film. They will exchange their experience in how to make their films even stronger. They will meet with other filmmakers. Also following masterclasses and debates, all in order to empower their incredible work as filmmakers
In addition, we continue our beautiful collaboration with Sergi Dolade the Director of MEDIMED Euro-Mediterranean Film Market in Spain. One of the Close-Up filmmakers will be invited to pitch their project at MEDIMED in October 2020. We would like to thank Sergi for this fantastic opportunity he provides to our filmmakers.
Prior to our Pitching Forum, the filmmakers worked with their mentors and the prominent editors; as part of the 3rdOnline Workshop.
Throughout May, the Filmmakers had virtual meetings with prominent editors: Giles Gardner, Joelle Alexis and Phil Jandaly – for editing consultancy sessions to discuss how to improve their trailers.Thanks to the fantastic editors’ recommendations and hard work from the filmmakers, their trailers progressed so much! All these sessions were very productive and gave a clearer vision to the filmmakers on how to make a great trailer.
In early June our filmmakers recorded their Pitches, they received feedback and valuable recommendations from their mentor and Sigal Yehuda. They all ended with beautiful, moving pitches.
In between, they also attended a Zoom lecture by producer and mentor Hans Robert Eisenhauer on Budget and Financial plan. This lecture / Q&A session greatly helped them finalize their Production File for our 2019-2020 Close-Up Catalog!
During all this process, the filmmakers worked on their final written proposal and completed their production file. The Final Close-Up catalog was sent to the decision makers together with the trailer and recorded pitches prior to the pitching sessions.
We truly appreciate the valuable comments and feedback they shared with our filmmakers & projects!
We’d like to use the opportunity and thank so many of our Close-Up family and supporters, without them, all if this wouldn’t have happened.
As an international non-profit cultural organization, we rely on our committed supporters who share our values and believe in our vision with great passion and enthusiasm, we would like to deeply thank our incredibly committed donors!
Thanks to our significant long-time supporter, a family foundation based in NY, who supports us for more than 7 years and prefers to be anonymous. We would like to thank Neil Tabatznik and Robin Smith at Blue-Ice Docs, Lisa Chanoff, Barbara & Eric Dobkin, Karen Sloe Goodman & Rusty Goodman at Silver Sun Foundation, the Nordic Culture Fund, Pamela Jones & Craig Russel – Goldman Sacks, Ricki Roer & Paul McIsaac.
We wouldn’t be able to do it without your sincere engagement & valuable support!
We would like to Thank also our fantastic & committed mentors Nino Kirtadze John Appel Bruni Burres and Hans Robert Eisenhauer that worked intensely with our filmmakers! They have gone through an inspiring development process and we’re very glad to see how all their hard work has come together and that they are receiving such great and productive feedback from the decision-makers.
We’d like to thank Oren Moverman & Richard Gere for the encouragement & support provided to the Close-Up initiation!
THANK YOU ALL!
We are looking forward to continuing working with you all and with new colleagues & institutions we are already establishing exciting future plans, more soon.
We will announce the 2020-2021 Close-Up Call for Applications on July 15th and would be happy to get your assistance spreading the word within your network and communities of filmmakers.