ANHAR (The Arab Network for Human Rights Films) held its eighth annual meeting on Sunday, December 18, 2022, which was attended by 13 members*, 2 special guests,, in addition to one of the members joining via Zoom.
The members demonstrated their activities and the developments of their festivals and projects, which faced serious challenges due to the circumstances of the member states that are still experiencing crises on various levels. The most prominent of these difficulties is the lack of funding, most strikingly with Karama Beirut and the ACTIF Association in Tunisia.
Other members face security restrictions that impede their movement while organizing their activities, as is the case with the Gaza Red Carpet team in Palestine and Karama Yemen. Despite this, the members were able to hold their festivals, follow up on their activities, achieve their goals, and promote positive strides towards human rights awareness through cinema. The attendance was distinguished by the majority of young people and women in all festivals and activities, as noted particularly in Palestine and Yemen. The festival became the only event for attending films, especially with the difficulty of communication and commuting, where people became thirsty for cultural activities that were threatened during war, clashes, and restrictions.
The members addressed the challenges and transformations that ANHAR must address. In an effort to accelerate the progression of their projects and focus on the essential turn against the mainstream through films. The members welcomed a guest member Mohamed Idoumou the director of UMAM Human Rights Film Festival, Mauritania, as well as hosting the director Sawsan Qaoud, the founder and director of the Palestinian Cinema Club in Ramallah, as a special guest in the closed meeting.
The participants discussed partnership mechanisms with Arab and international distributors and festivals. The discussion focused on the issue of the monopoly of the film distributors, which limits the opportunity for film screenings in human rights festivals. Confronting the battle with the distributor was raised through connecting with the global network and attending international cinema focused events. The members presented a set of recommendations and the coming strategy. An action plan for joint productions was agreed upon after discussing their topics and the need to organize educational and advocacy screenings among the members and be engaged in more training workshops addressing how to organize and manage human rights film festivals. These activities and projects will be supervised by a group of committees that will be formed from members of the network.
*Participants to the ANHAR meeting and members of the network:
- Sawsan Darwaza – Festival Director Karama HRFF (Jordan)
- Ehab Al-Khatib – Artistic Director Karama HRFF (Jordan)
- Haytham Chamas – Festival Director Karama Beirut HRFF (Lebanon)
- Najwa Kondakji – Program Manager Karama Beirut HRFF (Lebanon)
- Hala Galal – Film Director, Producer, SEMAT Productions (Egypt)
- Rym Ben Mansour – ACTIF, Human Screen Festival Director, Karama Tunisia (Tunisia)
- Nasser AlMang – Festival Director Karama Yemen HRFF (Yemen)
- Ezzeddin Abu Shaar – Digital Media Officer at YWT – Karama Yemen HRFF (Yemen)
- Achraf Laamar – Association Action 216 – (Tunisia)
- Ayman Bardawil – Technical Advisor and Founder of the ANHAR Network
- Ashraf Shakaa – Project Manager of the ANHAR Network
- Ayed Nabaa – ANHAR Network Coordinator, Filmmaker
- Fadwa Maroub (via Zoom) – White Nights Festival Director (Morocco)
- Special Guest: Sawsan Qaoud, founder and director of the Palestinian Cinema Club- Ramallah
- Special Guest: Mohamed Idoumou – Director of UMAM Human Rights Film Festival- Mauritania.