AFAC Express opened its call for applicants in mid-September 2011. Since then, a total of 33 applications have been received – 24 from individuals and 9 from institutions – from a diversity of Arab countries. Most applicants comes from Egypt, followed by Syria, then from Tunisia and Morocco in equal amounts, followed by the Yemen, Sudan, Palestine, and Iraq. Funds requested ranged from $ 5,000 to $10,000 dollars. Eight grants have been awarded to date and AFAC Express continues to be open, processing applicants on a rolling basis.
The first AFAC Express grant was awarded in October 2011 to Syrian director Usama Mohammad for his participation to ArteEast's film festival held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Three grants were awarded in November 2011 to the following projects: ‘Women’s Words on Revolution” by Imad Mourtada (Egypt), “Our Beloved Sudan” by Taghreed Sanhouri (Sudan), “You’re Right to Know” by the Institute of Support for Information Technology (Egypt). As for December, the following four AFAC Express grants were awarded: “Spread-A-Word Campaign” by Basem Yousri (Egypt), “One Hand” by Wael (Syria), “Political Poems” by Ribal (Syria), “Banned Artists” by the Hayat Association for Theatre (Palestine).
Scroll down for more information about the winning projects.
Grantee: Oussama Mohamad/ ArteEast (Syria / New York)
Project Title: Stars in Broad Daylight
Description: Enabling the artist’s participation at the ArteEast Festival held in MOMA, New York, this grant covered the sound restoration of Mohamad’s movie “Stars in Broad Daylight” and funded his trip, allowing him to take part in a series of talks and discussions. Mohamad is a renowned Syrian filmmaker active since the 1960’s. Many of his works have undergone censorship and the sound restoration for his film was necessary as the original is currently confiscated.
Grantee: Imad Mortada (Egypt)
Project Title: Words of Women from the Egyptian Revolution
Description: Giving voice and visibility to a sector of society that is usually neglected by the annals of history, this project aims to the Egyptian revolution through the eyes of women. A period of research will be followed by interviews with women from throughout the Egyptian cities and provinces and an online documentary series will be created, presenting two interview episodes every week for a period of six months.
Grantee: Taghreed Sanhouri (Sudan)
Project Title: Our Beloved Sudan
Description: One of the first video projects to emerge on the separation of Sudan in July 2011, the director had already been filming for a period of two years the external transformations which led up to the unfortunate division of the country. Documenting the struggle of the people, their moments of burden, sadness and hope, this video installation project uses two screens, one for North Sudan and one for South Sudan, while a map of Sudan united is poignantly spread on the ground between them.
Grantee: Support for Information Technology (Egypt)
Project Title: Your Right to Know
Description: As movements calling for fairness, transparency and non-corruption are sweeping the region, this project brings academics and activist together with young independent filmmakers to participate in discussion workshops and in the production of 5 short movies that introduce the concept of “the right to know” and “the right to have access to information” as fundamental to human rights.
Grantee: Bassem Youssri (Egypt)
Project Title: “Ma Tikhsarnish” Campaign (a.k.a Spread A Word Campaign)
Description: A campaign that aims to raise awareness against the threats of violence, corruption and sectarianism through creative wordplay, this movement began on Facebook with dichromatic visual designs of a single word/ phrase in one color set against a background of a contrasting color; the words are expressed in the colloquial with meanings that raise awareness against separation and division. The project has since launched into the physical domain, with the ‘Spread a Word” campaign going into print on posters and badges, requiring funds for sustainability and distribution.
Grantee: Ribal (Syria)
Project Title: Political Poems
Description: The words of Iraqi poet Ahmad Matar, who has been engaged in political criticism since the 1970’s with poems that questions the relationship between the government and the governed, are brought to new life through the production of this music album featuring performances by two outstanding young Syrian musicians.
Grantee: Wael (Syria)
Project Title: One Hand
Description: An animation movie with a caricature of a soldier who shoots at everything around, even the flower blossoms, this project offers the triumph of peace over violence. With every murdered flower there is a gushing of red liquid from which more blossoms grow. The never-ending blossoms overtake the soldier with their beauty as he finally surrenders to a blissful nap beneath a blossoming tree.
Grantee: Hayat Association for Theatre (Palestine)
Project Title: Banned Artists
Description: A critique of authority and oppression, this stand-up comedy act presents the important shift taking place in Arab societies. When the ‘fear barrier’ breaks and the unthinkable becomes possible, long-standing relationships between governments and their people are boldly questioned and out-right defied. Delivering the magnitude of this shift with a sense of humor, the performance heralds an awareness of societies moving towards more freedom.