A new, very interesting, well edited documentary web magazine, tafaseel-mag.net, published by Syrian filmmakers and festival organisers of Dox Box has been launched. No.1 includes a lot of interesting articles and comments and reviews and news, that I am looking forward to read further, as it opens to Middle Eastern and Arabic documentary matters, not very well known.

Here is the editorial of the magazine written by director and producer and festival organiser Orwa Nyrabia (PHOTO):

It is easy and predictable to romanticize the launch of a magazine for the documentary in a region where circa 350M people live, and make a smaller number of films a year than the 5M living in a small country like Denmark. Some of the world’s richest countries are part of this region, hundreds; if not thousands; of television channels are targeting it, yet, local/regional production is limited to soap operas, and most of the time satisfied enough with dubbing international productions and making regional hits out of them.

TAFASEEL is about trying to understand this odd situation, in details…

… and pushing against such a dim status quo.

In our region today, thoughts of ‘Survival of the fittest’ are the trend, and many cultural bodies and operators are defending the ‘Diplomacy of Culture’ where what is courageous and daring becomes a risk, where a tender and sleek kind of culture is encouraged, all that in a region where ‘capital’ and ‘conservatism’ are growing up together, leaving the ‘non-conservative’ no matter of what kind, out of the financing circles.

Doc-makers, and their subjects, are not the fittest, they are the enemies of diplomacy, they are the ones who cannot be politically-correct, the ones who know that ‘correctness’ is nothing but a tool of oppression and formatting, and they are certainly not conservative. It would be enough to see the ‘documentary’ conservatives are making to know that they come from another reality, with different ethics and remote perceptions.

Documentary Films get made because of an intriguing, and sometimes painful, blend of love and hate, to one’s own life, society, country, world… and for that, it is an art of bravery, even when it seems to be different from that.

TAFASEEL comes today to defend the documentary, as a cultural critical attitude towards the world, as an art, a free form of self expression and also as a possible industry. Defending documentary involves promoting it, but does not involve being diplomatic. It is about development of an art and an industry, a development we believe is crucial to a wider development: that of the human condition.

TAFASEEL will try to keep a ‘different’ style of writing and reporting, which is that of a filmmaker. The articles of TAFASEEL will be written for a filmmaker reader, a director, producer, cinematographer, editor… whether experienced or aspiring.

TAFASEEL will try to present the world of documentary in Arabic, and the documentary in the Arab world in English, and will also build an Arab world filmmaker’s angle towards what is happening in the world of documentary.

TAFASEEL will never be a complete work, it is naturally a continuous work in progress, open to suggestions, to opinions, and to development, with every new issue.

Please be generous with your critique of it, as that is the only way to make it better.

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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.

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