By Fanny Ohier
On 10 June, the Robert Bosch Stiftung organisation launched its 2014 film competition to foster cultural cooperation between Germany and the Arab World, specifically countries that are members of the Arab League.
For the second time round, three film projects will be selected in three different film categories, and receive up to €60,000 to produce their final movies. As movie productions often bring together people from different countries, the competition’s aim is to promote that type of cooperation between upcoming filmmakers.
Frank W. Albers, the founder of the Robert Bosch Stiftung film prize, held a conference on 10 June at the Goethe Institute in Cairo. There he explained his motivation in creating the competition: “It is mainly about bringing people together in international cooperation.”
Established in 2005, the collaborative filmmaking competition had previously focused on Germany and Eastern European countries. Last year, however, saw the launch of the first Germany-Arab cooperation, which includes Egypt as one of the 22 members of the Arab League. During the conference, Albers explained the criteria required to apply for the competition.
The candidates must be at least 18 years old to participate in the competition, and the applications are made by teams, not individuals. A team means at least four members, including a German or an Arab producer and co-producer, a director, a camera operator, and a screenwriter. In order to fit into the international cooperation criteria, at least two members of the teams must belong to the German partner country, for instance Egypt. And as it is the language of the competition, a good level of English is required.
This year’s deadline for submission is 30 September 2013.
At the end of the competition, three teams are awarded with the prize and the funding to produce their movie over a one year period. One of the media partners of the competition is the German-French channel Arte, which produces numerous high-quality documentaries.
“It is not about the team,” Albers emphasised. “It is more about the quality of the project, of the product. We want the films to succeed in festivals.” However, he pointed out that one of the short animation films that had previously won failed to capture the jury’s hearts. Albers also explained that there are no restrictions on the films’ themes, so jury and audience interest is completely subjective, and not always guaranteed.
To end up with three final financed projects, fifteen teams are first selected by an international jury. Among those fifteen teams, five are chosen in each of the three film categories: film animation, documentary and short film. All the teams are trained and assisted in developing their initial script and project; the teams are supported to enhance and shape their idea during the first few months. The final decision is made by the jury to continue assisting three film projects during the Berlin Talent Campus festival.
Albers noticed that this year, there were very few applications in the animation category. “So, if you want to make an animation film, you have a good chance to win the prize,” he said. In total, 62 applications have already been submitted.
The conference was followed by different screenings of winner films, such as the animation Anna Blume, the short fictional movie Milan, and Amor Fati. Extracts and trailers of these movies can be found online and further details on the rules and process of the competition can be found on the prize’s website.