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Panel Discussion on Palestine Filmmakers and the World Film Organization
by Shelly Schoeneshoefer

This panel discussion introduced the World Cinema Fund, which was created by the German Federal Cultural foundation. The WCF started here in Berlin in 2004 and has so far supported 43 projects. The idea of this foundation is to help support films from regions where the cultures are threatened of endangerment through economic or political crises.  They support regions in Africa, Latin America, the Caucasus as well as the near, middle east/central, south East Asia.  It is all about cooperation and it is a work in progress.  They are currently trying to buy film equipment and a network of production teams.

At this conference they explained how Palestinians filmmakers could apply for funding and if the profile as well.  The main problem for the Palestinians is that they do not have a set infrastructure, which makes it difficult for them to make films. So in another words, those living in Europe or the US could receive the funding as well as long as the subject was on this ethnic origin topic.  Many of the filmmakers described their problems as frustration since the West only wishes to see terrorist movies but not individual stories about this ethnic group.  Goethe Institute are also supported the cultural activities in all Palestine areas including Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.  Shatshat is the only ongoing annual women’s film festival in Arab world. Alia Arasoughly was the spokeswoman who explained the importance and problems that this festival has but also explained how important it is to have it. Many of the film makers voiced their frustrations and do not want to be under the canvas of an Israeli film-maker but it looks like there is hope for them since there is financial support there.