2017-2018 Program

The first seminar of the 2017/18 Greenhouse Program concluded five days of intensive work in the La Roseraie Hotel in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco. 15 participants from Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia and Turkey worked with mentors, John Appel, Hans Robert Eisenhauer, Nino Kirtadze and Petra Lataster-Czisch on the development of their written proposals, visual materials and trailers.


The participants watched three feature length documentaries - 'Those Who Said No', 'No Burqas Behind Bars' and 'Prison Sisters' - by Iranian filmmakers and GH graduates Nima Sarvestani & Maryam Ebrahimi. The screenings were followed by a conversation with Sarvestani and Ebrahimi, during which they showed excerpts from their films, including Ebrahimi's 'Stronger than a Bullet, developed in Greenhouse, which will have its World Premiere this month at IDFA in Amsterdam. Sarvestani and Ebrahimi discussed their storytelling techniques, cinematic approach, mutual work, the different styles of their films and their relationship with their characters. They also spoke about the risks of making strong social and political films in countries like Iran and Afghanistan and how to secure the safety of the characters and the film crew.


In addition, on the first day of the seminar, Yair Lev, Greenhouse's Head of Studies, gave a lecture on how to define the themes and styles of a project, with an emphasis on storytelling. He presented excerpts of important documentary films and discussed the difficulties and resourceful solutions found by the filmmakers of these films.


The next day, Sigal Yehuda, Greenhouse's Director, opened with an introductory session, during which she presented Greenhouse's objectives and historical context, the program structure and achievements over the past 12 years and guidelines for the current program. Following this session, the participants and their mentors began five days of intensive work. Together with their mentors, each participant reconstructed the project's synopsis, director's statement, visual approach and main axis of the film. In addition, mentor Hans Robert Eisenhauer gave two lectures – one on the written proposal and trailers, and the other on working with international broadcasters and commissioning editors.


On the final day of the seminar, the filmmakers presented their projects to the Greenhouse team, mentors and filmmakers Nima Sarvestani & Maryam Ebrahimi, and received feedback on their projects' content and footage, as well as concrete advices on how to further develop and improve their projects.


At the end of the seminar, the Greenhouse team and mentors gave each of the filmmakers individual assignments. These assignments touch upon research, writing, filming and editing footage, which the filmmakers will need to complete in preparation for the second seminar, scheduled for February 2018.