THE FIRST 2021 / 2022 CLOSE UP WORKSHOP ENDED SUCCESSFULLY ON DECEMBER 17TH, 2021
“I cannot tell you how satisfied and happy I am that I could be a part of this program and this family.”
— Nematullah Khoshahmadi, Afghanistan (Director of DON QUIXOTE OF KABUL)
We had a wonderfully busy, intensive, and energizing week last week, with the first workshop of our 2021 / 2022 year. Though we couldn’t meet in-person, it was a powerful experience to meet one another, see each other’s’ faces, and hear about one another’s films.
We were joined virtually by this year’s 20 filmmakers, hailing originally from Afghanistan, Egypt, Iran, Israel, Palestine, Qatar, Syria, Turkey, and Yemen.
Our amazing team of mentors includes Bruni Burres, John Appel, Gitte Hansen, and Nino Kirtadze. Along with Close Up Founder and Executive Director Sigal Yehuda, they will work closely with the filmmakers throughout the year.
Along with our group and one-on-one discussions, we were honored to have John Appel give a lecture on storytelling in Documentaries, Talal Derki (director of Return to Homs and Of Fathers and Sons) speak to us on his cinematic vision and the artistic challenges in making his extraordinary films, and special expert Hans Robert Eisenhauer lead a talk on the creation and importance of production and co-production packages including a comprehensive written proposal and trailer.
In the final days of the workshop, the filmmakers presented their work and progress to the entire group and were given feedback and comments, in addition the mentors gave each filmmaker concrete assignments to work on in the months leading up to our next workshop in March 2022.
We cannot stress enough how inspired the Close Up team is by this group of filmmakers. The fact that they continue creating despite war, displacement, and exile is a triumph and testament to their talent and strength. This is presently especially true for our Afghan filmmakers, who have faced an incredibly difficult year.
To our filmmakers, from everyone at Close Up, it is an honor to be on this journey with you. We’re looking forward to the next workshop and, of course, being all together in one physical place.
The Close-Up Second Workshop successfully ended early this week! Our filmmakers have spent 7 intense and highly productive and challenging days full of learning and creative work!
The week started with 2 days of editing consultancy sessions with four editors: Phil Jandaly, Nadia Ben Rachid, Giles Gardner and Joelle Alexis. The editors discussed with the filmmakers their project’s developments in regards to storytelling, dramaturgy, character’s development and cinematic vision based on their edited materials & written proposals, which our filmmakers have shared with our mentors & editors in advance.
In parallel to these meetings, the filmmakers had the great opportunity to have one-on-one meetings on Storytelling and Financial Strategies with Alex Szalat.
Alex was also a member of the Close Up Selection Committee last year, hence he has been closely following the development of each project from the very early stages. He gave concrete feedback on each project and discussed with them the opportunities available in the international documentary market. In addition, he advised about strong selling points and who could support their projects.
These meetings were also supported by a lecture given by our very best Gitte Hansen, where we discussed in-depth financial strategies and the international documentary market.
After working intensely all week on their materials, the filmmakers presented their projects in front of the entire group.
They shared their visual materials and received feedback from Alex Szalat, the mentors, Close Up team and participating filmmakers on how to improve their storytelling and projects in general.
As we come to an end of the Second Workshop, we are looking ahead and starting our preparations with full force for our final workshop taking place in June 2022!