28 / 9 / 2023
What kind of relationship can be charted between self and city? Why must motherhood be confronted, and not embraced? How does exile, and/or the return home, heal a wounded soul?
This year’s slate of documentary films, supported under the AFAC Documentary Program (ADP), address the above questions and more, using courageous and ambitious cinematic approaches. They cast a gripping lens on an array of untapped themes ranging from the personal to the historical and the political.
Selected among 240 applications, the 29 non-fiction film projects hail from Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Sudan, Syria and Tunisia. The 2023 ADP jurors - Lebanese director Eliane Raheb, Palestinian filmmaker Mohanad Yaqubi, and Yemeni filmmaker Sara Ishaq deliberated for two days to review the applications and select the winning projects. Below is the jurors’ statement, which denotes their impressions and remarks following the selection process.
"In the documentary film projects we reviewed, many filmmakers experimented with the boundaries of space and time. There was an interest in ecological and rural themes, moving beyond the living spaces of the metropole in order to question our relation to the land and ways to protect it. We also noticed a use of the archive as a tool for intergenerational dialogue, for a search for the beginning of things in order to question the past and to understand better the present and future. In our selections, we tried to balance between projects that focus on urgent issues our region is experiencing and innovative approaches that challenge the traditions of “the documentary.” We valued the intentions of filmmakers to engage cinematic language and aesthetics. We also gave equal attention to the clarity of a film’s vision and a filmmaker’s ability to convey emotions through sound and image. Our selection brought together a collection of films focused on stories about family dynamics, identity, exile, political and environmental crises and survival, and underrepresented, marginalized communities. There were a number of daring stories that deal with the politics of women’s bodies. We appreciated the courageous and ambitious approaches to these topics, which mirror the challenges of our time and serve as a form of catharsis. We felt that collaborations between filmmakers, particularly in the early stages of development, and the exchange of knowledge and resources are things that could be improved. We also felt that research into thematic and artistic lineages of films could be expanded. We thank the AFAC team for giving us this opportunity to explore the landscape of our region’s documentary scene, which was an enriching experience for us as filmmakers. It reinforced our sense of connection to a rich, innovative, and creative community.”
Here is the full list of the AFAC Documentary Program 2023 projects. To know more about each film director and his/her film, click through to their separate dedicated pages.