Some say that film was an universal language and that it brought foreign worlds closer to the audience. That film was propaganda and that world cinema blurred the perception about those societies lacking the means for an own image policy is also a widespread view. Thus, can films speak for themselves as yet others claim?
In film talks I briefly introduce the film and am available for in depth discussion after the screening. I give lectures in single events as well as in the framework of conferences. Form and length of the talk depend on the kind of the event.
Talks in Arab countries or for Arab film professionals usually focus on questions of funding, co-production and distribution.
The examples below focus on events that have online references in English, the German page is more exhaustive.
On Solidarity and Dependency – The beginnings of PLO-GDR filmmaking in the 1970s
at the Special: 70 Years Nakba at ALFILM, the Arab Film Festival Berlin / Germany 2018
in the program „For an Invisible People, Camera Would be Their Weapon” (Elias Sanbar) Lecture and Talk with Irit Neidhardt and Mohanad Yaqubi
When the Palestinian Liberation Organization PLO and the GDR, the socialist German state (1949-1990), started to cooperate in film-making in 1974 both were just diplomatically recognized by the majority of the UN member states and received their respective seats at the United Nations. The PLO was an affluent liberation movement operating from exile and the GDR was a sovereign state with a weak economy. In addition to their sincere anti-imperialist convictions, there was a big portion of pragmatism beneath the almost twenty year long cooperation in film and television between the two partners. This short lecture gives an insight to the first coproduction agreement between the GDR’s DEFA and the PLO’s Department for Culture and Information as well as the films made on this basis.
Cooperation with Germany
1st Kuwait Film Festival 2017
Germany is, next to France, the country in Europe that has been putting the highest funds in international co-productions in recent years. The lecture gives an overview of the funds and their regulations. To understand the German interest in Arab films Irit Neidhardt will talk about some examples of theatrical releases as well as about the image the media is creating of the Arab. Both is important in order to think if and how to approach German funds and co-producers.
The Image of the Arab World in German Cinema
at the conference: Film, Flight and Interculturality in the framework of LUCAS – International Festival for Young Film Lovers, German Film Institute Frankfurt 2016
Arab films provided ‘first insights into a very different being’ the German Commission for Film Classification wrote in Haifaa al-Masour’s film Wajda. Images are especially hold for true if the name of the director is Arab. Using the example of Wajda, Irit Neidhardt is asking who reading what in films.
program online | conference flyer (PDF)
Who is paying for the Arab images we see?
at the conference: Images of the "Middle East" – Reception and Responsibility, Philipps University Marburg / Germany 2016
In times of war or crisis the demand for images from the respective societies increases. Authenticity is requested. The demanding side, the one that has the facilities for distribution and exhibition of films, is situated in Western Europe and North America while the crisis that the focus is on most regularly is the Middle East. Despite scarce budgets for the creation of films, the means of production Arab societies own are limited and the technical quality the machines provide does only in rare cases satisfy the expected standards for the Western silver screen or TV broadcast. The stories told by Arab film-makers often are not regarded as relevant or urgent by Western programmers, buyers and audiences. How are the films we see are made? By whom and for what purpose? Using the examples of Palestine and Syria the paper looks at the histories of film-production from independence in the Syrian case and liberation struggle with regard to Palestinian to programs of external democratization that started in the mid-1990s in the Palestinian case and the mid-2000s in the Syrian.
More | Flyer (PDF)
Together – German-Arab Cooperation in Film
Zukunftsakademie NRW HUNA/K Schauspiel Dortmund / Germany 2015
German Arab Cooperation in film has been existing for almost 100 years now. One of its peaks was the collaboration between the Palestinian Liberation Organisation PLO and GDR, the German Socialist State (1949-1990). Using the exapmle of „The Dream – al Manam“ of renown Syrian director Mohamad Malas, Irit Neidhardt gives an insight into the ideas and practices of the mutual support.
program booklet (Arabic and German)
Funding Guide for Arab Producers
at the Beirut Cinema Platform / Lebanon 2015
What kind of funding is accessible for Arab producers? What are the interests behind the different funding bodies? Why do some funds require a national co-producer of the fund’s country? This presentation is discussing conditions and hurdles of international low budget film financing by acting out some fictitious financing strategies. More
As if They do not Exist
at the international conference: Palestine and the Moving Image, University of London, SOAS - Centre for Palestine Studies / UK 2013
Since more than 150 years photos, and later films, of Palestine are commercially distributed in the Western world. It was not before the late 1960s that Palestinians started producing their own films. By that time an image of Palestine was sufficiently known. What aspects did Palestinian filmmakers add? And to what degree was and is the audience willing to change its view on Palestine?
On naked yearning and political intervention. Women and the images of women in Arab music videos.
at the: Dortmund|Cologne International Women‘s Film Festival, Germany 2011
They flicker incessantly across the flatscreens, there is hardly any escape from them, either in private or in public. Music videos are ubiquitous in the Arab world. Most of them are produced in Lebanon and broadcast via transnational Arab satellite TV stations, in particular the Saudi Rotana Music station. The songs are usually sung in Egyptian dialect, as Egypt continues to be at the heart of the large Arab entertainment industry. Continue
The Image of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
at the Beirut Media Forum: Mobilisation on Stage. The Image of the Real and the Verity of the Image, Lebanon 2009
It seems that over the last 40 years no other conflict was displayed as much as the Israeli-Palestinian. It was filmed for TV, reflected in films and recorded in still photography. Most of the images we know are shot in the territory of the conflict itself, a territory which is not accessible for the vast majority of Arabs. A conflict documented by foreigners who are usually not speaking the respective language and are illiterate to the codes of the societies and place, or explained by those who are part of it. What are the images we are presented? What is their purpose and what do they reflect? Do they mobilize or document still stand? What is an image of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? What is its image? Despite of the pictures promptly associated with the catchword “Israeli-Palestinian Conflict” there is number of films, photographs, and literature that create refection and imagination off road the dominant image-codes.
go to program (in French)
Film Talks: Je Veux Voir and Salt of this Sea
at the: freiburger filmforum, Municipal Cinema Freiburg / Germany 2009
the fim talks: Je Veux Voir (directing: Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige, Lebanon / France 2008, 75 min) and Salt of this Sea (directing: Annemarie Jacir, Palestine 2008, 109 min)
go to program ( PDF in German)