Last year, I was in Tunis during the JCC. And I attended some screenings. It was a very important experience for me. But I'm not talking about the quality of the screenings, about remarkable films. I'm talking about the audience. The participation of the audience was impressive, the way of watching films, of being part of the "festival ritual".
Somehow I felt that everybody was enjoying the opportunity of watching films, discussing about cinema as a moment of a general cultural-political attitude. I felt the potential of a democratization process, the need and joy of being active citizens in the framework of an engaged civil society. A great atmosphere.
This is one of the reasons why I feel very grateful to Dorra Bouchucha for starting to talk about a possible collaboration with the Berlinale World Cinema Fund (WCF) and the Berlinale and for introducing me to the Director of the Festival, Ibrahim Letaief.
We, as Berlinale feel passionately and internationally committed to democracy, tolerance and freedom of expression. We strongly believe in building international networking structures and cooperation.
My impression was that the JCC in Tunis shares the same spirit and the same values.
A common project took shape, also thanks to the passionate support of the Goethe Institute: in the framework of the " JCC ", the "Berlinale Spotlight" is going to show several films supported by the WCF during the last years as well as other films that were in the Berlinale-programme.
I'm very happy that Ibrahim Letaief agreed to screen some great films which on different levels exemplary stand for the WCF idea of cinema and its particular funding activities. I'm talking about ambitious and committed cinema, about innovation, both considering artistic profile and content, the visual identity and cultural-social-geographical context. A cinema pretty far away from the mainstream.
But The "Berlinale Spotlight" is not "only" about cinema supported by the WCF: some of the most important German films of the last years are part of the JCC-Berlinale Spotlight.
Last but not least: thanks to the co-operation with the section "Berlinale Shorts" and its Curator Maike Mia Höhne the Berlinale Spotlight is also showing a great programme with amazing short films.
In the name of the Berlinale I wish you a great JCC.
Berlinale World Cinema Fund Project Manager
Berlinale Festival Delegate for the Maghreb and Mashrek countries.