German-Arab Film Teams Realize New Projects

Three German-Arab film teams from Egypt, Lebanon and Germany can realize their film projects. They received this year's Film Prize for International Cooperation of the Robert Bosch Stiftung. With a total of €180,000 in prize money, the winners produce their films in which they tackle difficult subjects, addressing the long-term implications of political arrest or homosexuality.

Robert Bosch Stiftung | February 2019
Winners celebrate their prizes
David Ausserhofer

The winners of the 2019 Film Prize at the award ceremony in Berlin.

This year, the German-Arab filmmakers in the competition courageously tackle difficult subjects, addressing the long-term implications of political arrest or homosexuality. “Homeless Hearts,” a short fiction film, tells the story of two snipers during the Lebanese civil war who monitor access to the city of Beirut and, entrenched behind walls and watched suspiciously by other soldiers, discover their affection for each other.

Exclusively based on archive material, the German-Lebanese documentary “Do you love me” creates a mosaic of Lebanese post-war society. Structured as an essay, it combines film fragments from the Lebanese civil war and post-war everyday life and interweaves these sequences with moving images of two generations of the famous Bendaly family of musicians in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

The Egyptian filmmaker Bassam Mortada recalls his family history in “Abo Zabaal 1989.” His documentary traces the ramifications his father's politically motivated arrest in 1989 has had on his family and companions to this day. The jury praised the courageous project for “intriguingly exploring how cultures of resistance and traumas of political repression are passed on across the generations, and that, at the same time, gives hope that rupture is possible.”

The jury also gave a special mention to the German-Tunisian project “Fouledh.” The documentary tells the story of four workers in Tunisia’s largest steel factory who suffer from the mental and physical strains of their job. In the midst of a politically and socially tense atmosphere, the loss of a colleague throws them off track but also leads them to overcoming the pain together.