New German-Arab Film Ideas and Young Talent

Two brothers searching for the last missing card for their Soccer World Cup sticker collection, an extraordinary view of flight and migration around the Mediterranean Sea, and a grandmother who turns into a chair: With these imaginative and creative ideas, the 2018 winners of the Robert Bosch Stiftung’s Film Prize for International Cooperation comment on current political and social topics. The prize money then helps the German-Arab teams to actually shoot their films.

Robert Bosch Stiftung | March 2018
The 2018 winners celebrating on stage.
David Ausserhofer

The 2018 winners celebrating on stage.

During the 1990 Soccer World Cup, Rabat and Fadel, two brothers from a Palestinian village, embark on a search for the last missing card for their sticker collection: Maradona’s legs. Will they overcome their challenges and accomplish their mission? We will find out, because this German-Arab film project is among the winners of this year’s Film Prize. With its entertaining yet political narrative, “Maradona's Legs” impressed the jury, who saw the script as an incentive, primarily for children, to think about questions of identity, memory, and nationality. Director Firas Khoury and producers Zorana Musikic and May Odeh can now get down to business and use the prize money to produce their short film.

Tailor-made workshops for young talent

Every year, the Robert Bosch Stiftung issues three awards for young German and Arab filmmakers to produce a joint film project. Prize money of up to €60,000 each is awarded in three categories – short animation, short fiction film, and documentary. The Film Prize is both a competition and training program offering tailor-made workshops to young emerging talent from Germany and the Arab world. The aim is to provide their first international co-producing experience and support in the film business as well as to foster the idea of intercultural exchange.

This year’s winner in the animation category is the German-Lebanese project, “How My Grandmother Became a Chair.” Director Nicolas Fattouh and producers Fabian Driehorst and Nermine Haddad tell the story of a grandmother who turns into a chair, nine children who turn into greedy roosters, and a prickly housekeeper who turns quite amiable. The jury emphasized the film’s bold and poetic approach to themes such as old age, death, legacy, loyalty, and class discrimination.

The prize in the documentary category went to “Purple Sea,” a German-Syrian film project that approaches the issue of flight and migration around the Mediterranean Sea from a unique angle. The film will be directed by Amel Alzakout and Khaled Abdulwahed, who is also a co-producer on the project. According to the jury, they expose their audience to a very touching view on everyday goings-on as their film is first and foremost a special kind of love story.