Press Release

German-Arab Film Prize: Recognition for Young Filmmakers

  • Projects of three teams of German-Arab filmmakers recognized by Robert Bosch Stiftung at Berlinale Talents.
  • Total prize money of €180,000 for realization of the filmmakers’ ideas.
  • 2018 Film Prize winner PURPLE SEA to premier this week at the Berlinale’s Forum Expanded.

Berlin, February 23, 2020. On Sunday night at the Berlinale Talents, Robert Bosch Stiftung GmbH presented its Film Prize for International Cooperation between Germany and the Arab world for the eighth time. Three teams of young filmmakers from Egypt, Syria, and Germany were awarded a total of €180,000 for the realization of their film projects in the categories of animated film, short fiction film, and documentary. The premiere of the 2018 documentary prize winner “Purple Sea” at the Forum Expanded of the 70th Berlin International Film Festival is scheduled for this week as well.

Focus on the filmmakers’ biographical experiences

Once again, this year’s competitors included ten co-production projects from Germany and Syria, Egypt, Algeria, Lebanon, the Palestinian Territories, and Jordan. In the category of animated film, the autobiographically inspired German-Egyptian film project Traitors of the Eyes was the winner. Following their mother’s tragic death, identical twins embark on a journey into the past of their conservative Muslim family that brings to light forbidden sexuality, love, and jealousy, as well as an ambiguous will.

The prize in the category of short fiction film went to the German-Syrian film project Inana. Director Ragda Alazizi and producer Philipp Döring tell the story of a young woman in Saydnaya, one of Syria’s notorious prisons for political detainees. Having experienced frequent humiliation and abuse, Inana ultimately takes revenge on her tormentor. The jury emphasized the visual power of the sensitive, emotional, and aesthetic way in which the up-and-coming filmmakers tell their brutal tale.

In the documentary category, the jury went for Big Boys Don't Cry by a German-Egyptian film team consisting of Muhammad Mustapha, Hala Lotfy, and Philipp Maurice Raube. The young filmmaker uses his camera to document the everyday life of a bouncer/ex-convict, who is basically his polar opposite. On their forays through nocturnal Cairo, the façade of both men crumbles, making clear that both suffer under their society’s standards of masculinity.

The Film Prize

The Robert Bosch Stiftung has been awarding the Film Prize for International Collaboration between Germany and the Arab world as part of the Berlinale Talents event since 2013. A one-year competition and training program that includes tailor-made workshops for young talents from the Arab world and Germany, the Film Prize aims to provide first experiences with international co-productions, offer support in film-making, and promote intercultural exchange. In addition, the Film Prize opens doors to international film markets and platforms that filmmakers can use to build and expand their network in the film industry.

For its film prize, the Robert Bosch Stiftung partners with Berlinale Talents, with further support coming from prominent 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 2020 winners

TRAITORS OF THE EYES (animated film)
Directors: Abdelrahman Dnewar, Saad Dnewar (Egypt)
Producer: Georg Neubert (Germany)

INANA (short fiction film)
Director: Ragda Alazizi (Syria)
Producer: Philipp Döring (Germany)

BIG BOYS DON’T CRY (documentary)
Director: Muhammad Mustapha (Egypt)
Producers: Philipp Maurice Raube, Hala Lotfy

The Film Prize jury consists of

  • Mohannad Al Bakri (Royal Film Commission – Jordan)
  • Vincenzo Bugno (World Cinema Fund)
  • Doris Hepp (ARTE)
  • Elke Kaschl Mohni (Goethe-Institut Brussels)
  • Marianne Khoury (Misr International Films, Cairo)
  • Hania Mroué (Talents Beirut)
  • Alexander Wadouh (Chromosom Filmproduktion, Berlin)

Contact person

Press contact
Julia Rommel
Robert Bosch Stiftung
Heidehofstraße 31
70184 Stuttgart
Phone+49 711 46084-750
e-mail to Press contact