2016 MENFF

Showcase of Greenhouse Films & Work in Progress, followed by a discussion and Q&A

Middle East Now Film Festival 2016


The Greenhouse program at the 2016 MENFF included screenings of  'Baglar' (2015) by Berke Bas and Melis Birder from Turkey, 'Sbitar' (2016) by Othmane Balafrej from Morocco, and the Work in Progress of a project from that year GH cycle 'Mr. Gay Syria' by Ayse Toprak & Ekin Çalışır from Turkey, who screened 10 minutes from their work in progress, and discussed with the audience the process of making their documentary.

The attending filmmakers, along with GH's Director Sigal Yehuda, held Q&A sessions at the end of each screening, during which they discussed the process of making their films as well as their experiences in Greenhouse and the impact the program has had on their films.



Berke Bas & Melis Birder / Turkey, 2015

An underdog basketball team from hard scrabble Diyarbakir in Southeastern Turkey goes beyond winning games in their mission to rise above prejudice, poverty and political turmoil, all created by the decades long conflict between the Turkish state and Kurdish rebels, fighting for local autonomy and cultural rights.

Melis Birder and Berke Bas (both Media Studies graduates from the New School for Social Research, New York) are co-founders of inHouse Projects production company and authors of a number of award-winning documentaries.



Othmane Balafrej / Morocco, 2016

Sbitar is a pure observational manner film that follows the medical staff and its patients in the Rabat State Hospital, the largest hospital in Africa. Through this close observation, a detailed portrait of Moroccan society and its weaknesses unfold. 


Mr. Gay Syria

Ayse Toprak, Eli Çalışır / Turkey

Mr. Gay Syria

Set in Istanbul and Berlin, Mr. Gay Syria follows two Syrian gay refugees who are trying to rebuild their lives after having been forced to leave their country. Husein is a 24-year-old barber in Istanbul. He is married with a kid and lives a double life - one as a father in the outskirts of Istanbul, the other as a gay man in the city center. Mahmoud is the founder of Syria’s LGBTI movement. He lives in Berlin as a refugee and works part time at an NGO, helping recent arrivals with their paperwork. What brings them together is a crazy dream: To join the international beauty contest, Mr. Gay World. For Husein, this is a way to first come to terms with his identity, then make his family understand. For Mahmoud, this is THE place to launch a campaign for visibility for Syrian gay refugees.