Since 2005, the Robert Bosch Stiftung has been associated with Eastern Europe, this year its mission expands eastward to the Arab world.

Frank Albers with Paul Negoescu

Another window of opportunity has just opened for Arab filmmakers looking for funds. At a presentation and screening in HAU 3 on February 8, Frank Albers, the programme manager for arts and cultures of the Robert Bosch Stiftung, announced that the foundation has just expanded its mission to the Arab world. 2013 is the pilot year. Fifteen collaborative projects between German and Arab filmmakers have been selected by the juries. Three prizes, one each for a short, an animated film and a feature-length documentary, are up for grabs. The winners – announced at the Campus Opening Ceremony on Saturday – are the documentaries A PLACE UNDER THE SUN (Karim Aitouna/Carsten Böhnke) and THREE MILE RIDERS (Philip Gnadt/Michael Dupke/Stephanie Yamine) as well as the short feature film FREE RANGE (Bassem Breish/Jacques Colman). Each winning production will receive up to €60,000 in funds.

The expansion happened primarily for two reasons: “Since the Arab Spring, many important stories have come to the fore, be they cultural or political. These stories need to have an outlet,” said Albers just after the event, which included a screening of past Robert Bosch Film Prize winners. “There is also another concern, a more economic one, regarding the lack of content from the Middle East and North Africa for German audiences, and vice-versa. We would like to fix that.”

The four films screened at the retrospective show the possibilities of cross-cultural cooperation. RENOVATION, the winner of the prize in 2008, is a German-Romanian short by Paul Negoescu about a family that disintegrates during a home renovation.

Also shown were ALERIK and FATHER, both animation projects, winners of the 2008 and 2009 prize respectively. The former is a German-Macedonian production about young soldiers going to war; the latter, a joint effort of Germany, Bulgaria, Croatia and Russia, is an animated documentary based on five true stories about father-child relationships. Last but not least is THE CHOSEN ONES, a German-Armenian production, the prize-winner in 2012. This documentary, about elderly people in Yerevan, Armenia, is still in progress.