Fourth edition of a festival – without Omar Amarilay, see below – that deserves a lot of respect for its ambition to show creative documentaries from all over the world to an audience that normally has no chance at all to get to watch them. For a bit more than a week Diana El Jeiroudi and Orwa Nyrabia, the founders and leaders of the festival, together with their team, offer the Damascus audience diversity and quality – at the same time as they develop their so-called industry section that includes a week of project development of documentary projects from countries like Syria, Jordan, Morocco, Lebanon, Egypt and Algeria. Danish Mikael Opstrup from EDN (European Documentary Network), American cinematographer Kirsten Jonsen, American editor Amanda Laws, Dutch/Croatian director and teacher Rada Sesic and this blogger are the tutors for a programme that also involves a pitching session to a panel of funds and tv channels, as well as a retrospective and a masterclass with documentary world star Kim Longinotto.
These films in the programme – I will write about the Syrian and Middle East films when I get to watch them – have been reviewed or noted on filmkommentaren.dk:
Boxing Gym by Frederick Wiseman opens at this festival before it goes to cinemas in Paris… just to make you understand the sense for actuality that also characterises the festival in Damascus.