As for the various high-quality productions that target large festivals, some Syrian films have reached these large festivals such as the Berlinale festival, one of the oldest and most important film festivals in the world. Other Syrian films were screened at the Leipzig Documentary Film Festival, one of the world’s oldest documentary film festivals.
In general, we cannot speak of a deliberate exclusion of Syrian filmmakers in Germany, which is a general impression spread in circles interested in Syrian cinema in Germany. Indeed, the struggles to access the German market allow this kind of discussion. The production difficulties and the bureaucracy complicate the situation. This led German institutions such as the Berlin University of the Arts (UDK) to allocate classes for those interested in filmmaking to bridge the gap and encourage the production of Syrian cinema in Germany.
Our concern is not the quality of Syrian films, but the process of producing these films and their way to movie theatres and festivals. It is important to recall one of the traditional observations addressed to non-professional filmmakers that states: each festival has its own criteria in line with its own program, and films are accepted or rejected according to these criteria.
Festivals in Germany have different standards for accepting Syrian films, and these vary depending on its size and history. In addition to the technical conditions that are imposed on the film before its acceptance, there are “unwritten” or customary terms among filmmakers. For example, documentary film festivals have recently tended to attach importance to the topic. They can partially loosen their artistic standards in order to give a chance for directors from countries like Syria, where it is difficult to produce a film with high quality equipment. Usually, the festival audience is wide; the programmers are thus obliged to give the primary attention to a main issue and its particularity. This deliberation is internal, and often privately discussed.Print