Jeddah Doc Workshop /1

If you want to know who I really am, go to facebook… was the comment from one of the participating filmmakers at the workshop for Saudi filmmakers in Jeddah. It was on the second and last day we spent together at the Athr Art Gallery, placed in a business centre – it is quite an inviting place for interesting contemporary art. The filmmakers had been asked to make a maximum-one-minute presentation of ”Who am I” and a colleague of the young man, who shocked this 60+ reporter from the event, also with his google glasses (if you don’t know what that is, google it) had chosen to include clicks from his FB page to answer the question about identity in his clip.

This specific session, with a handful of clips, were set up and moderated by Jad Abi Khalil from Docmed in Lebanon – demonstrated clearly that there is visual talent to build on, when it comes to develop filmmaking in KSA (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia), a country where there are no cinemas but quite a hectic activity on YouTube (see post below and to know more, click also on the link to the Reuter article on the Saudi YouTube adventure).

The workshop was arranged by AFAC (The Arab Fund for Arts and Culture) and was meant to be one of a series that will continue next year in Jeddah and Riyadh. Led brilliantly by the Fund’s director Oussaama Rifahi (who also solved technical questions and took the photos that I use for these two posts) and the responsible for the film programs Rima Mismar, the workshoppers got a general introduction to what documentaries are today through clips and words from the one, who writes these lines, a class on production and presentation by Kuwaiti producer Talal Al Muhanna and a meeting with American director and cameraperson Kirsten Johnson, who always communicates in a warm and personal way and therefore activates the audience to get into her world – on this occasion – of camerawork and ethics.

My knowledge of Saudi documentary makers? Dania and Danya, wonderful colorful women with the surnames Nassief and Alhamrani, who have been performing on the international documentary scene and who ”own and manage the first production company in KSA run by women”. The company name is Eggdancer Productions, it makes a lot of corporate videos and shows for television and of course documentaries dealing with women’s issues. At the workshop the company presented an interactive project, based on research on abuse of women. The director Dalyah Bakheet explained how the film side will include animation, that the interviews made with women will come out anonymous, spoken by actors. ”We want to create awareness”, said the director, ”in a country where 1 out of 6 women have been abused or raped”.

Share your love
Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

Articles: 3866