Arabshorts.net – a platform for short films from Arab countries
Since December 2009 the Goethe Institute in Cairo has been presenting young filmmakers from the Arab world on the website Arabshorts.net. Some 60 films from 8 countries and the Gulf Region can be viewed there. The spectrum ranges from independently produced documentaries and short fiction to animation, experimental film and video art.
The films were selected by curators from the respective countries and regions and compiled into national programmes. Featured are works from Egypt, Algeria, Jordan, Morocco, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, Tunisia and the Gulf Region.
Each programme consists of four to ten short films of maximum 60 minutes in length, most of which were made during the past decade. The films are streamed as flash video (from the German culture server via OnlineFilm AG) in the H.263 standard. Each film has its own page, where a short synopsis can be found as well as information on the filmmakers.
Statements by the curators introduce each programme, providing insights into the production conditions in each country and placing the works in a cultural and artistic context. Curators can be contacted by email via a Web interface.
The curators are Haig Aivazian (Gulf/Dubai), Lara Khaldi & Yazan Khalili (Palestine), Bouchra Khalili & Hicham Falah (Morocco), Mounes Khammar (Algeria), Emad Mabrouk (Egypt), Orwa Nyrabia (Syria), Rasha Salti (Lebanon), Ala’ Younis (Jordan) and Ikbal Zalila (Tunisia).
The project is the outcome of a symposium on independent film held in Cairo in July 2009. The curators stayed in contact after the meeting, working together on a concept that was then realised by the Goethe Institute in Cairo.
Director of the project is the curator and filmmaker Marcel Schwierin. Project partners are the Berlin festival of digital art “Transmediale”, the alliance of Arab artists “ArteEast” and the documentary film platform Onlinefilm AG.
With the website Arabshorts.net and the network of film curators and filmmakers, the Goethe Institute would like to open up new opportunities for Arab film – in the Arab world and in Europe.
Arabshorts.net is a treasure trove for all those who would like to obtain information on contemporary artistic film in Arab countries. The project takes advantage of the potential offered by the internet for reaching everyone, everywhere – beyond the local and conventional channels – with films and information that would otherwise probably be out of reach for most people and would thus remain beneath the radar of the general public. A visit to the website is by all means worthwhile!
Reinhard W. Wolf
Arabshorts.net is a project of Goethe-Institut Kairo. The Goethe-Institut is the cultural institution of the Federal Republic of Germany. It promotes the study of German and encourages international cultural exchange all over the world.