How the film community used International Collaboration Grants

Khartoum Bites - Sudan

As we head towards the deadline for our next round of International Collaboration Grants, here's an outline of eight remarkable film-centred projects that were given life from the first round of Grants in 2022.

This is a brief overview of eight collaborations each illustrating the creative possibilities that can grow out of strong mutual cultural relationships. The grants generated powerful short films on global topics, gave spaces for dialogue between young, culturally diverse filmmakers, and included film festival platforms, workshops, screenings, masterclasses. Together they have fostered new international film networks and lasting exchanges between film communities across the UK, Sudan, Turkey, Nepal, Egypt, Bangladesh, Kenya, Lebanon, Tunisia, and Poland.

Stories Across Cultures

...strengthened an existing partnership between two like-minded documentary film organisations: Docubox in Kenya and the Scottish Documentary Institute in the UK. Six, 10 minute documentary short films were made through a workshop programme with the aim to help redress the power balance in the field of independent and creative documentary by supporting filmmakers to tell the stories from their own communities, challenging narrative appropriation and creating a peer support network, encouraging transnational collaborations in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Read more here.

Camara Chica: Beyond Borders

...was a partnership between Into Film, the UK’s leading charity for film education, and the Kathmandu Mountain Film Festival in Nepal. They invited three young filmmakers from Egypt, Nepal and the UK to convened online together and share new ideas and themes for films reflecting their different cultural experiences, identify potential challenges and make shared creative decisions. The result? A truly collaborative short film from young voices, made across and beyond borders. Read more here.

Bangladesh-Cymru Climate Stories

...was a global filmmaking exchange programme between the Dhaka DocLab (a pitching and mentoring platform for South Asian documentary filmmakers) in Bangladesh, and the WOW Wales One World Film Festival. Filmmakers from both countries participated in a development workshop and pitched short film proposals drawn from local stories about women in coastal and river communities building resilience in the face of climate change. Four short documentaries were produced as a result, ‘Doprujhiri’ by Asma Bethee and ‘Latika’ by Samsul Islam Shopoon from Bangladesh, ‘Our Home, the Sea’ by Mared Rees and ‘She Sells Shellfish’ by Lily Tiger Tonkin from Wales, UK. The films have been screened at the British Council COP28 UAE pavilion, WOW One World Film Festival and beyond. Read more here.

Latika by Samsul Islam Shopoon (Bangladesh-Cymru Climate Stories)

The Future of Film Festivals

was a two-day forum convened between the UK’s Independent Cinema Office and the mBank New Horizons International Film Festival in Wroclaw, Poland (where it also took place). The forum was attended by 44 film festival professionals representing 41 international film festivals based in 24 different countries. The aim of the programme was to bring together international film festivals to ensure that the sector continues to thrive and innovate. This was an opportunity for film festival colleagues to network, share mutual challenges and learnings, and collectively problem-solve together. The forum instigated breakout conversations about audience engagement, staff wellbeing within the festival workforce and issues around diversity and inclusion. Read more here.

Reclaim the Frame x International

...was a collaboration initiated between the Beirut International Women Film Festival (Lebanon), Birds’ Eye View now Reclaim the Frame (UK), Flying Broom Foundation (Turkey), Women Make Waves International Film Festival (Taiwan) and Regards de Femmes Festival (Tunisia) due to their shared mission to increase gender diversity and inclusion in cinema. The project supported culturally diverse and non-binary filmmakers from 5+ countries through the circulation of film work, collaboration and a bespoke professional development programme. Read more here.

Women in Film: Bristol and Kyiv

...was a shared initiative between two leading international film festivals committed to supporting new and emerging talent, Encounters in the UK and the Kyiv International Film Festival Molodist in Ukraine. The programme brought together two groups of female identifying student filmmakers to create 90 second short films in response to the theme of shared social experiences.

New Shoots International

...brought together an artist collective formed by Solis Film in Algeria, and the UK community filmmaker’s network Shooting People, to create an arts workshop programme for four filmmakers in each country. The project included a joint series of creative masterclasses bringing the selected filmmakers together online. The masterclasses, feedback from participants and profiles of both Algerian and UK filmmakers were then shared on newly developed online platform providing continued connection and collaboration between the participants and a wide community of fellow filmmakers. Find out more here.

I learned a lot about working in a group with other artists and professionals in movie making. I learned about the importance of festivals and how they worked. I also learned about how to "sell" a film and the importance of building a network. (Aghiles Ermou - participant, New Shoots International)

Khartoum Bites

...was a unique collaboration between Sudan Film Factory, UK based production outfit Native Voice Films, and the non-profit AYIN Media Network who held a series of workshops in Khartoum calling on Sudanese digital storytellers to create short documentaries across issues such as disability, environment, aging and equality. The aim was for authentic Sudanese stories to reach a global audience. In fact, the collaborating filmmakers went on to form a larger single work that has since garnered support from major international industry partners such as BBC Storyville, Doha Film Institute, The World Cinema Fund and IDFA Bertha Fund. The project was presented as a work in progress showcase at QUMRA festival in Doha in February 2024 and will have a release in early 2025 with UK, African and Middle East theatrical premieres.  

You can read an illustrated case study about the Khartoum Bites project here

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