Writing Workshop

Two Sides of the Coin 2008



Two Sides of the Coin 2008

Workshop led by Hala El Abdallah


In the beginning of 2008, Beirut DC had the initiative to organize a workshop that aims to help young documentary filmmakers in developing their project.


We all know that documentary producers in the Arab world are almost nonexistent. Mainly most of the time, documentaries are always done for TV stations where the producer is the broadcaster, which puts the directors in a much-narrowed situation.


Thus Beirut DC started thinking of a regional workshop for Arab countries that involves 6 to 7 professional filmmakers who have an interesting documentary project to be developed and to help them into revealing, innovating and creating their own projects.


The workshop was divided into 2 phases:

The development phase

The pitching phase


Beirut DC’s main purpose was to

-          Help young filmmakers carry out their documentaries’ projects.

-          Show the cultural and social diversity of Arab countries outside of stereotypes demanded by the market.

-          Help filmmakers creating documentaries far from commercial or political orders.

-          Open up to a cultural exchange between Europe and Arab countries.


The chosen projects were:

-          Yamo” by RamiNihawi (Lebanon)

-          250 m deep under” by SamerYehya (Lebanon)

-          My love awaits me by the sea” by MaisDarwazeh (Jordan)

-          Exceptional Category” by Ayman el Amir (Egypt)

-          The Man Inside” by KarimGoury (Egypt – France)

-          The Time of Olive-tree” by AbdelkaderEnsaad (Algeria).

 Hala el Abdallah – Syrian filmmaker and producer- was the main tutor of the workshop that lasted 8 days (between the 16th and 23rdof July 2008). She came over as well during the “Ayam Beirut alCinema'iya" to prepare the candidates for the pitching (between the 15th and 19th of October 2008).


Throughout the 8 days, candidates were sometimes working all together with Hala el Abdallah and other times working on a one to one level with the guests’ tutors.

a-   Mr.Bernard Monsigny (trainer at INA France) came along to work on a one to one level with all the candidates, so each had the opportunity to spend more than 5 hours with him, talk about the projects and work more on it.

b-   Ms. ElianeRaheb (Independent filmmaker and documentary teacher) who has a wide range of documentary films was there for 2 days to work with the candidates as well and share her experience with them.

c-   Mr. GhassanSalhab (Filmmaker) occupied an important part at the workshop where he worked with the candidates on the artistic and visual part of their projects.


After finalizing the documents, they were sent to the producers coming for the pitching session that took place during “Ayam Beirut al Cinema'iya"

a-     Ms. AnnamariaLodato (ARTE- France)

b-     Mr. GerarldCollas (INA- France)

c-     Mr. Nicolas Wadimoff (AKKA Films- Switzerland)

d-     Mr. Georges Choucair (ABBOUT Production- Lebanon)

e-     Mr. IssamDakroub (News time- Lebanon)

f-      Ms. Jane Williams (Dubai International Film Festival- Head of the Dubai Film Connection)

g-     Mr. MontaserMarai ( AL Jazeera documentary)

h-     Mr. MahmoudChoukrallahi (Play Film- France)

The workshop was in partnership with
 Arab Fund for Art and Culture, ARTE France, French Cultural Mission in Lebanon, Goethe Institute and Pro-Helvetia.

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