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The MENA Programme

In the wake of the Arab Spring and in response to calls for a training course aimed at Middle Eastern and North African filmmakers, we launched the MENA programme in 2012 in cooperation with the Goethe-Institute Kairo. Tailor-made workshops were organised in Cairo, Tunis, Leipzig and Berlin from 2012-2014. Among other things, the programme gave filmmakers from the region the chance to tell their stories from the Egyptian, Libyan and Tunisian revolutions, the impact they had on society and the deception people felt, particularly in Egypt, when their revolutionary aims were not realised.

The course offered professionals and talented up-and-coming filmmakers a unique opportunity to enter the international non-fiction market. The participants included directors and producers from Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Libya, Algeria, Jordan, the Palestinian territories, Syria and Lebanon. In total, 41 projects were developed in intensive workshop sessions, which covered all aspects of producing and marketing documentaries ensuring projects had the most success in launching on the world stage. Multiple award-winning films got their start in the MENA programme, including Mohamed Siam's Amal, Naziha Arebi's Freedom Fields, Nadine Salib's Mother of the Unborn, and Anothy Chidiac's Room for a Man.

The MENA programme was funded by the German Federal Foreign Office as part of the German-Egyptian (-Tunisian) Transformation Partnership.


"The build-up and the progression of the structure of the workshops were really interesting – each meeting evolved from the previous and built on it, and we found ourselves and our projects being propelled to the next level every time. From storytelling to pitching and learning how to sell our ideas, I personally gained a rich basket of skills that I would carry with me and apply on this documentary project of mine and my future career... The programme made me believe that realizing an ambitious first-time creative documentary project like mine is not only posisble but supported and encouraged, all the while being handed tools, contacts and leads on how to progress." – alumnus Jowe Hargfouche, Lebanon