Night (Animation), The Trap (Short Fiction), and Behind Closed Door (Documentary)
Robert Bosch Stiftung Announces the Film Prize Winners at the Award Ceremony Held during Berlinale TalentsThe Robert Bosch Stiftung announced the winner sof the Film Prize for International Cooperation yesterday, Sunday, February 12th: Director Ahmad Saleh's animation film Night in the animation category, director and writer Nada Riyadh's film The Trap in the short fiction category, and director Yakout Elhababi's Behind Closed Doors in the documentary section. This announcement was made within the events of Berlinale Talents, a summit and networking platform of the 67th Berlin International Film Festival (Berlinale).
The Film Prize comprises three grants worth up to 60,000 Euros each in the field of co-production between German and Arab filmmakers.
The animation film Night is directed by Ahmad Saleh, who has won the Student Academy Award in 2016 for Best Foreign Short Animation Film for his previous film Ayny. Night revolves around a mother who has not been able sleep for years and meets a storyteller whose stories can heal the sleepless souls. It was revealed that Night received the prize for its compelling, sad, yet realizing story about the burden of having hope, for its fascinating craftsmanship that brings to life what is not living, for the beautifully drawn animations, for bringing together a convincing international team, and for the dedication of that team to leave more than a film.
The short film The Trap, written and prospectively directed by Nada Riyadh, takes place in a desolate, run-down Egyptian seaside resort, where working-class Aya finds herself increasingly trapped by her domineering boyfriend Islam. To what lengths will she go to break free? It's a story about pain and desperation, about the impossibility of finding reasonable solutions. It's also a story set in a particular location, isolated and desolated, at very specific moment of the Egyptian contemporary society. Commenting on the film and the reason why the prize went to its makers, the jury of the Film Prize stated, "We are impressed by the artistic presentation of this project. We feel that the director will be able to deal with the challenge of the film, with the thoughts, with the emotions, with the bodies and the frustrations of the main characters. With the visual profile and identity of the film. We trust her. And we trust the team."
The documentary film Behind Closed Doors will portray a farmer's family living in the most marginalized region of Morocco, the Rif mountains ,where livelihood comes exclusively from growing cannabis. The film explores the inherent taboo weighing on them and their children who mirror the parent's work with their games.
From the outset, this documentary demanded full attention. Set in a small rural community, the film instantaneously strikes you for its incongruity against the subject matter: a village cultivating a risky economy outside the law.
With the stakes high for the film's characters, the jury is drawn into this community's search for stability in the day-to-day as they confront anxieties stemming from their shared livelihood. This film provokes the type of questions we all face about enduring for the sake of the future, while wondering how the next generation will survive in a continuously shifting landscape.
The jury of the Film Prize for International Cooperation Germany/Arab World consists of Vincenzo Bugno, Project Manager of the World Cinema Fund and Berlinale delegate; George David, General Manager of The Royal Film Commission - Jordan (RFC); Doris Hepp, Commissioning Editor of ZDF/ARTE; Dr. Elke Kaschl Mohni, Regional Director of the Goethe-Institut for the MENA region; Marianne Khoury, Co-Manager of Misr International Films (MIF); Hania Mroué, Founder and Director of the Metropolis Art Cinema in Lebanon; and Producer Alexander Wadouh, Founder of Chromosom.
The first edition of the Film Prize for German-Arab projects was launched in 2013. Offering a yearlong training programme it primarily aims to support young emerging talents from Germany and the Arab world in the film business, provide expert knowledge in the development of their projects and open a door to the international film market.
The teams should have a balanced mix of German and Arab filmmakers fostering the idea of intercultural exchange. The productions of Film Prize recipients take place in both partner countries, allowing the team members to reflect their own working styles.
The awards granted by the Robert Bosch Stiftung may be used to completely fund the films. Furthermore, the foundation provides consultancy services during the production period.