Amman Filmmakers Cooperative (AFC)
March 15, 2005
1) INTRO TO DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKING WORKSHOP, SAT MAR 19, 2005
2) OPINION: BIT BY BYTE, JORDAN'S INDEPENDENT CINEMA EVOLVES
INTRO TO DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKING WORKSHOP
W/LIVE DEMO & IN-CLASS FILM PROJECT - STILL FREE!
In this workshop, students will learn the basic skills to produce
documentaries, using a digital video camera and computer-based editing
software. There will be a live demonstration of the workings of the DV
camera and film editing software. Students and instructor will
together produce a 1 minuet documentary.
Saturday Mar 19, 2005 |10am-7pm
Abdulhameed Shoman Library. Between 1st and 2nd Circle.
Workshop will be held at the movie theater on 2nd Floor.
For inquiries contact Hazim Bitar.
Phone: 079/5308232 / Email: AmmanFilmmakers@...
To confirm registration, interested participants should SMS
079/5308232 with their full name. No confirmations will be accepted
for more than once person per phone number.
This workshop is FREE for students who confirm their registration no
later than 48 hours prior to workshop start time/date and show up no
later than 10:15am on date of workshop.
* Unconfirmed walk-in students will pay 5 JD.
* After 10:15am, late participants will have to pay 5 JD.
* Confirmed students who do not show up and fail to cancel at least 48
hours prior to registration will have to pay 5 JD to attend any future
* Any student who confirmed for a past AFC activity but did not show
up and did not cancel 48 hours before will have to pay 5 JD to attend
this or any future AFC activities.
THE ABOVE GUIDELINES WILL NOT BE RELAXED. Just because our workshops
are for free, it does not mean our time and effort and those of our
punctual students are not valuable to us. CONFIRM ONLY IF YOU PLAN TO
ATTEND, CANCEL 48 HOURS BEFORE, IF YOU CAN'T MAKE IT.
10:00am-11:00am | PART I - DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKING HISTORY, CONCEPTS, &
- What is the Amman Filmmakers Cooperative?
- Assumptions, expectations, and plan of action.
- Screening of selected short documentaries produced by AFC
- Common mistakes committed by beginners.
- Ethics of the business: defamation, staging, objectivity,
copyrights, and fair use.
11:00am-12:00pm | PART II - PRE-PRODUCTION PLANNING
- Structuring the story.
- Interview preparations.
- Permits & clearances.
- Location scouting.
- Shooting script.
12:00pm-1:00pm | PART III - PRODUCTION
- Video camera basics.
- Shot angles.
- Framing the shot.
- Conducting the interviews.
- Logging footage.
- Audio issues.
1:00pm-2:00pm | Lunch Break
2:00pm-4:00pm | PART IV - POST-PRODUCTION
- Editing workstation configuration.
- Editing tools of the trade.
- Logging the relevant film cuts.
- Capturing footage from camera to PC.
- Arranging film footage using editing software.
- Music track.
- Incorporating photos/graphics.
- Assembling the rough cut.
- Exporting to CD.
4:00pm-7:00pm | PART V - REAL-WORLD FILM PROJECT
Putting it all together: The instructor will demonstrate key
filmmaking concepts described in the workshop by producing a short
Content of workshop may change without notice. The coordinator of the
workshop and management of the host facility have the right to refuse
participation to anyone. For updates, visit:
ABOUT THE AFC
The Amman Filmmakers Cooperative (AFC) is a not-for-profit cultural
initiative and talent incubator that aims to promote and encourage
independent filmmaking through training, experimentation, and
2) OPINION: BIT BY BYTE, JORDAN'S INDEPENDENT CINEMA EVOLVES
By Hazim Bitar
Now you see it now you don't. Such is the state of Jordanian cinema
since its inception back in 1950s when the film "Struggle in Jarash"
was released to the handful of Jordanian theaters and was met with
Folktales abound of the overwhelming difficulties that members of the
production team had to endure and the limited means by which they had
to cope. These tales form the mythology of the trials and tribulations
of Jordan's independent cinema.
Jordanian film critic and historian, Najeh Hasan, in a recent study,
pointed to a cyclical pattern whereby Jordanian cinema moves to the
forefront only to descend into a state of hibernation.
When asked about the cause of this lack of sustained presence, pundits
offer a wide range of theories such as the limited official support,
brain drain, limited career opportunities, lack of capable educational
institutions, poor private sector support, limited base of capable
screen actors and scriptwriters, and a host of other challenges often
encountered in many third world countries.
GIVE ME DIGITAL VIDEO OR GIVE ME DEATH
The recent digital filmmaking movement has arrived to Jordan, possibly
to stay and change the landscape of independent cinema.
The tools for digital filmmaking are falling within reach of many
middleclass Jordanians, and the democratization of filmmaking in the
Arab world is now a reality.
The ease by which digital films can be produced and distributed has
rendered government censorship and controls all but obsolete. The
monopoly of institutional video production houses has also been
With a compact DV camcorder, personal computer and video editing
software, a CD burner, and an internet connection, films can be made
in Jordan and screened in any part of the world.
The explosion of Arabic satellites and regional film festivals meant
more opportunities for independent Arab filmmakers to distribute their
Still, the legal code governing film production and distribution in
many developing countries do not differentiate between institutional
filmmaking and personal filmmaking. Such laws are still unduly strict
and outdated, with punishments ranging from thousands of dollars in
fines all the way to imprisonment, Jordan not withstanding.
These edicts hang over the heads of independent filmmakers, waiting to
fall whenever a director or scriptwriter crosses an imaginary line of
official tolerance, a line no one knows where it starts or ends. Yet
for most Jordanian filmmakers, this risk has been worth taking.
THE WESTERN FACTOR
Cultural trends which start in Europe are often mirrored, over time,
in the developing world. The recognition of video as an acceptable
medium to cut film was a turning point in Europe and, recently, in the
The impact of this shift was more pronounced in the developing world
where the cost of celluloid is prohibitive to the point of keeping it
out of reach for most aspiring filmmakers and institutions supporting
With the expanding definition of cinema and film to include video,
it's no longer a rite of passage to have to expose celluloid to be
called a filmmaker. Today, 120 minutes of video can be legitimately
called a feature film.
THINK GLOBALLY, PRODUCE LOCALLY
Over the course of the last two years, Jordan's cinema intelligentsia
had to undergo a transformation, sometimes reluctantly, to embrace the
new more inclusive definition of cinema to include video and short
films. This change was dictated by the respectable showing, at
regional film festivals, by the first generation of Jordanian
The acceptance of Jordanian shorts in high-profile festivals such as
Carthage Film Festival, Dubai Film Festival, Ismailyah Film Festival,
Beirut Film Festival, and so on, helped many ambivalent onlookers in
Jordan to embrace the new generation of films.
Today, the short Jordanian film is accorded the recognition it
deserves, considering the severe limits in production resources; where
before, only an hour and a half worth of projected content would
qualify the author for the title of filmmakers and director.
Governmental and non-governmental entities supporting Jordanian cinema
are continuing to sprout.
The Royal Film Commission is tasked with promoting Jordan as a viable
location for filming.
The Amman Filmmakers Cooperative, a volunteer cultural initiative,
which mentors young filmmaking talents has, in less than two years,
put Jordan on the regional independent cinema map, with its young
filmmakers claiming 70% of Jordan's film festival credentials.
Jordan's Cinema Club, also a not-for-profit initiative led by Jordan's
leading film critic Adnan Madanat, offers cinema education via
screening of independent films not typically released in Jordan's
dozen commercial theaters. Books@Cafe, Darat al Funun and Makan House,
both cultural centers, have also been active in holding screenings of
These efforts might seem very modest when compared to, lets say,
Sweden's cinema culture, but considering the near absence of
independent cinema in Jordan a couple of years ago, both on the
production and consumption sides of the equation, this is a
JACK, FACE THE CHANGES
The newfound respect for independent filmmaking in Jordan and the high
induced by the film festival experience have hooked many first-time
filmmakers to the point of changing careers or pursuing advanced
studies in filmmaking or multimedia, letting go in the process of
better paying jobs for the promise of making a film that will show off
their creative talents to a global audience and to tell stories they
have always dreamt of telling using the language of cinema.
All of the above factors are accelerating the growth of independent
Jordanian cinema. In a year or so, we expect long-form and
feature-length films to make a respectable presence regionally and
internationally, if the current trend continues.
There are many reasons to believe this creative energy will persist,
unlike Jordan's past cycles of growth and slumber.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Hazim Bitar is founder and coordinator of the Amman
Filmmakers Cooperative. For more information about the
Cooperative visit http://AmmanFilmmakers.alif.com
Author can be contacted at: AmmanFilmmakers@...
(c) 2005 By Hazim Bitar.
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