Screen Institute Beirut Calls for Support in Fight Against Severe Budget Reductions
For many years Screen Institute Beirut (SIB) has been a key resource for filmmakers from the Middle East (incl. documentarians) to achieve high quality productions and acquire the financial means to create their films. Having been funded by a variety of development grants in the past, the Institute has recently been hit hard by budget cuts related to grants formerly coming from Denmark and other Nordic countries. SIB is now trying to fill the financial gap and calls for support and donations in order to be able to continue their mission.
Since its creation in 2009, SIB has offered financial support and access to production equipment and post production facilities for filmmakers in the Middle East. SIB also hosted a series of short courses that deals with documentary story telling methods and structuring the material in the editing process, with 7 intensive group courses and 15 mentoring events held so far. Having assisted with professional expertise throughout the various stages of the production and distribution process, SIB is today an important resource in the region regarding the development of the film industry (incl. the documentary sector). However, many development grants that allowed SIB to support filmmakers, have recently been cut or downsized following political changes - among them are grants from Denmark and the other Nordic countries.
More than 240 filmmakers involved in key roles in the productions (director, producer, cinematographer, editor and sound engineer) from Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Jordan, Egypt, Iran, Tunisia, Iraq, UAE and Morocco have benefitted from SIB's financial support and course activities. More than 80 projects have been funded and are in various stages of production; by the beginning of 2016, 39 and more films are in distributions already.
SIB supported projects have been accepted to film festivals and markets in the Arab region, Europe, Far East, Latin America, the United States and Canada; many have been screened publicly in cinemas while distribution on DVD and internet sites as YouTube and Vimeo have made the films available to larger groups of individuals and communities.
Development grants breaking away
The Screen Institute has benefitted from the support of International Media Support (IMS), a Danish independent organization that receives its operating budget from DANIDA (Danish International Development Agency, Ministry of Foreign Affairs). Additional support has come from SIDA and NORAD, the Swedish and Norwegian Development Agencies. Due to radical changes in the Danish Government's development policy, IMS has suffered severe budget reductions and is now unable to secure the Screen Institute's production grant program. SIB has been offering approx. 16 production grants $10.000 and $20,000 yearly making up between $200,000 - $275,000 each year - a total of $1.2 million from 2010 to 2015.
The Screen Institute is therefore looking for grant support in the order of$300,000 to $400,000 per year. SIB can only achieve its goals with the assistance of generous donations from members of the community.
For a detailed overview of SIB's activities and film catalog - visit the SIB website: www.screeninstitutebeirut.org
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