Press Release

German-Arab Film Teams Honored

  • 7th Film Prize for International Cooperation awarded by Robert Bosch Stiftung
  • Total prize money of €180,000 for realization of German-Arab film projects in the categories of documentary and short film
  • Award ceremony for young filmmakers at Berlinale Talents

Berlin, February 10, 2019. Three German-Arab film teams from Egypt, Lebanon and Germany received the Robert Bosch Stiftung GmbH's Film Prize for International Cooperation, with a total of €180,000 in prize money. The prizes were awarded to film projects by young filmmakers in the categories of documentary and short film. The jury also gave a special mention to a fourth project. The award ceremony was held today at Hebbel am Ufer (HAU1) as part of Berlinale Talents, one of the most important events for up-and-coming filmmakers, during the 69th Berlin International Film Festival.

Filmmakers dealing with their parents’ generation
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.

The Film Prize
The Robert Bosch Stiftung has been presenting the Film Prize for International Cooperation between Germany and the Arab world as part of the Berlinale Talents event since 2013. This year’s competition included co-productions from Germany and Egypt, Tunisia, the Palestinian territories, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan.
More than 30 interested German-Arab film teams responded to the call for submissions for the 2019 film prize. Ten projects were short-listed and took part in the award ceremony at Hebbel am Ufer (HAU1). In the preceding months, the nominated teams had worked on their film projects at the Project Lab in Cairo and Dahshur, Egypt, with mentors, discussed the particularities of international co-productions with experts from the film industry, and rehearsed their presentation before the film prize jury with trainers at the Pitch Forum in Berlin. In late January, they came to Berlin to pitch their projects to the jury of international experts from the film and festival industry. Now the jury has awarded the three above-mentioned projects with the Film Prize for International Cooperation.

For its Film Prize, the Robert Bosch Stiftung partners with Berlinale Talents, with further support coming from important film institutions from Arab League countries such as the Royal Film Commission – Jordan, the Carthage Film Festival, Tunisia, as well as the regional Goethe-Institut offices. The award’s media partner is the TV station ARTE.

The 2019 Winners:
HOMELESS HEARTS (short film)
Director: Mohamed Sabbah (Lebanon)
Producers: Bastian Klügel (Germany), Ghina El Hachem (Lebanon)

ABO ZABAAL 1989 (documentary)
Director: Bassam Mortada (Egypt)
Producers: Anna Bolster (Germany), Kesmat Elsayed (Egypt)

DO YOU LOVE ME (documentary)
Director: Lana Daher (Lebanon)
Producers: Jasper Mielke (Germany), Lana Daher (Lebanon)

Special mention:
FOULEDH (documentary)
Director: Mehdi Hmili (Tunisia),
Producers: Michel Balagué (Germany), Moufida Fedhila (Tunisia)

The Film Prize jury consists of Vincenzo Bugno, co-founder of the World Cinema Fund and Berlinale delegate; George David, former managing director of the Royal Film Commission – Jordan; Marianne Khoury, managing director of Misr Film International; Dr. Elke Kaschl Mohni, regional director of the Goethe-Institut for the Middle East/North Africa; Doris Hepp, film editor ZDF/Arte; Hania Mroué, director of Metropolis Art Cinema Beirut, Lebanon; and Alexander Wadouh, founder and managing director of Chromosom Film GmbH.

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