Arab Filmmakers in the Diaspora
Where is my identity rooted? Where do I belong? How does my new and my previous living environment influence me and my stories? Is my film language changing and evolving? How do I build my network in exile? Where can I find support? What new opportunities are opening up for me? What do I need to know about the German funding landscape?
During a two-day workshop, questions about identity, home, belonging, film language, equal opportunities, production possibilities and film funding will be discussed, reflected on and analyzed by twelve filmmakers who live in exile in Berlin or Germany, together with experts from the film industry. In a protected space and in guided groups, the ATELIER filmmakers will exchange on personal experiences and needs, develop solutions, and discuss individual challenges regarding the realization of one’s own film projects. The ATELIER offers a platform for intensive exchange, active listening, and the development of a new network.
Afraa Batous born in Aleppo-Syria. Graduated from Faculty of Arts and Humanities, English Literature section in 2008. Worked in theater for five years in Aleppo, directed and produced her first experimental theater performance “Who Have Seen Is Not like Who’s Not” in 2012 in Jordan. She finished her first feature documentary Skin. Producer of 300 Miles by Orwa Al Mokdad 2016. Based in Berlin since 2018 and currently finishing her master in Documentary directing at Babelsberg Film University Konrad Wolf. Afraa’s films carry a strong artistic handwriting and deal with politically relevant topics that are thematized by a special closeness to their protagonists and their stories.
Ali Kareem is an Iraqi/German director and screenwriter. In 2011 he graduated from Baghdad Art college. In 2016 he completed his master “Choreography and Performance” at Gießen University. His films Hassan In Wonderland and Abraham have been screened and awarded at many prestigious festivals. Ali works in the selection committees of Arab Film Festival San Francisco and InterFilm Berlin. Ali was a jury member at Atlanta Film Festival in USA 2020 and Slemani Film Festival 2019.
Bilal Athimni is a film director from Jendouba, Tunisia. His films won important national and international prizes like the 1st prize for best newcomer documentary for his film Truth in 2012 in competition at the IFF Teheran, 1st prize for best debut short Documentary at the National Film Festival in Zaghouan for Bomb Iacrymogéne, Prize of the Jury 2016 at the International human-rights-Award Morocco. His feature fiction debut A Part of Me premiered at JCC Carthage Film Festival in Tunis. The film Sharaf, which he co-produced, was selected in the co-production market at Venice Film Festival 2019 and premiere at the Red Sea Film Festival in December 2021. The film won two post-production awards at Malmo Arab Film Festival.
Christophe Nassif is an award winning French-Lebanese filmmaker, who focuses on the crafts of screenwriting, directing, and sound—not necessarily in that order. A USC School of Cinematic Arts graduate, Christophe has worked in post-production sound on over 30 films, all the while writing and directing his own projects. He recently completed two short films: Lebanese sci-fi/environmental There Are No Lions On Mars and desktop comedy Doppelklick. Christophe currently resides in Heidelberg, Germany.
Dima Hamdan is a journalist and a self-taught filmmaker based in Berlin. She wrote, directed and produced several short films since 2007. Her latest short film, The Bomb, was shot in Berlin in 2019 and is still touring festivals worldwide. She recently won the Sunbird Production Award of the Palestine Cinema Days to shoot her next short, Blood Like Water in Jericho, Palestine. She is also developing two feature films to be shot in Jordan and Palestine.
Dyaa Naïm comes from Syria. As a film director and screenwriter, he has worked on numerous film projects in various positions and participated in installations and art projects at the Weißensee School of Art as part of its founding year. Since 2019 he has been studying directing at the Film University Babelsberg KONRAD WOLF. His first film won in 2017 Crevices winner of the “PLURAL+ Youth Video Festival prize” in New York and in 2020, From the In and Outside was shortlisted in the competition of Filmfest Hamburg and other film festivals. His upcoming medium length film Yellow Wishes finishes post-production and enters festival evaluation.
Soon after graduating with a BA in Architecture, Lebanese director Hussen Ibraheem decided to follow his passion for cinema. He studied in Red Sea Institute for Cinematic Arts – a branch of the University of Southern California in Jordan- and graduated with Masters. His short films were awarded and selected in many international film festivals. Beside working on his short film Manity Hussen is developing his debut feature film Tide. Hussen now lives between Beirut and Berlin.
Juma Hamdo is a filmmaker living in Berlin. He is doing freelancing communication, camera and research since 2008. Juma worked, between 2011 and 2016, as Freelance researcher, Producer, line producer, and creative producer for short videos, films and projects in Lebanon for Aljazeera, BBC, UN and KAF Production company. Between 2009 and 2021, Juma did Documentary Films in Syria, Lebanon, and Germany. A Day In The North, Mapping Place Narratives: Beyhum Street, Rude Refugee Diaries – Beirut-Berlin (as a director and researcher). And Hero of all seas by Talal Derki, Aydil by Ziad Kalthoum, Die Welt wird eine andere sein by Anne Berrached-Razor film Production in Berlin(as a researcher). and Who is afraid of ideology and Micro resistance by Marwa Arsanios – Berlin Biennale (as DOP).
Mohamad Sabbah is a Lebanese film director based in Cologne, Germany. His films deal with the human body and its representations, love, death, and family. Mohamad completed his first fiction feature, Chronic, in 2017. His previous short films are Awakening, Where There Is Nothing But Water, and There. He is currently, based in Germany pursuing art studies in the Kunsthochschule für Medien Köln.
Mohamed Kateb is a filmmaker and producer from Alexandria, Egypt, who works between Egypt and Germany. His stories are a reflection of his experiences in his hometown. Influenced by the human connections, city lights, and urban legends, he tells tales of everyday characters that are a portrayal of the Egyptian society of today. Currently, Kateb is working as a director on several short fiction films (Shawky, Sometimes Mickey… Sometimes Donald and The Man With The Lemon Tree) in different production phases and as a producer on several short fiction films (Ibn El-Leil, Flying Salama and It looks like DDR). As a producer he is developing his debut fiction feature Molotov along with fellow writer/director Mohamed Kassaby, which is selected for Dahshur Genre Script Development Residency 2022.
Murad Abu Eisheh earned his bachelor degree in Design and Visual Communications with a focus on filmmaking from the German Jordanian University in 2014 in Jordan. Following his graduation, he immersed himself deeper in his filmmaking journey and directed several short films focusing on human driven stories out of the Arab world. Later on, he directed some commercials for the Jordanian Royal Hashemite Court. In 2016, Murad started studying directing at Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg in Germany. Between 2018 and 2021, Murad wrote and directed three short films, of which most recently Tala’vison. Which received the support of the Jordan film fund and produced in co-production with SWR, Jordan Pioneers and Tabi 360. Then went on to win various awards and honors, most recently its gold medal win at the Student Academy Awards – Oscars, which marks the first Arab win in the fiction category, as well as its shortlisting for the 94th Academy Awards.
Sondos Shabayek is a writer/director and a storytelling workshop facilitator. She has over 10 years of experience in facilitating storytelling workshops, documenting personal narratives, and directing theater performances of women and gender-based stories. In 2013 she wrote and directed award winning Girl a short film as part of ‘Women in new Egypt’ project. In 2019 she also wrote The night before, that was produced by Arabiska teatren in Sweden, and worked as the assistant director for the film. Sondos was the recipient of the 2021 Voices that Matter scholarship – Women in Screen industries and is currently based in Berlin after completing an MA in directing at the Metfilm school in Berlin. When in Berlin is her most recent project; a short film about a couple based in Berlin waiting in line to view a flat. Sondos is passionate about exploring how to authentically tell stories of herself and other women and be part of a truthful and honest representation of the lives of women on screen.
Irit Neidhardt is running mec film, an international distribution and sales company for films by Arab directors, which she founded in 2002. She is co-producers of several award winning feature documenrtaries, such as The One Man Village (Simon El Habre 2008) or Fidai (Damien Ounouri 2012). Irit is author of various articles on subjects related to cinema and the Arab World, focusing on issues of co-operation and financing. On behalf of Beirut DC she compiled the Yelo Guide – Funding Guide for Arab Producers which was last updated in 2021 and is available online at daleel.film.
Marion Schmidt is a freelance project manager and consultant for individuals and organisations. Her field of expertise is in project management and organisational development in the international documentary, arts and development sector. Marion is the co-director of the Documentary Association of Europe (DAE) and co-founder of DOX BOX e.V., where she held several positions till April 2020 and was the project director of the international Documentary Convention 2018 & 2019. Marion is a consultant to the film department of DW Akademie, and has contributed her expertise to projects of the Goethe-Institut and elbarlament GmbH. Marion sits on the board of several organisations in the film world including NAAS Network and ARTEF – Anti Racism Taskforce in European Film, and is part of initiatives that champion anti-racism, equality, fair working conditions and representation in the film and NGO sector, and the society at large. She is an alumnus of EURODOC and holds a Master’s degree in Arts Administration & Cultural Policy from the University of London, UK.
Tamer El Said is a filmmaker and producer living between Berlin and Cairo. His filmography includes 17 films that received many local and international awards. Tamer founded Zero Production in 2007 to produce independent films. He is also a founder of Cimatheque – Alternative Film Centre in Egypt, a multi-purpose space that provides facilities, training, and programming for the independent filmmaking community. His first feature-length film, In The Last Days of The City, premiered in the Berlinale 2016, where it received the Caligari Film Prize. The film has been invited to over 220 festivals worldwide, receiving more than 15 international awards from France, Germany, USA, Italy, Poland, Russia, Argentina, Turkey, and Tunisia.