Arab filmmakers make their mark with documentaries

People often think of the Middle East as a place of political unrest and perhaps, a region with a lot of oil and money. The former has attracted many broadcasters while the latter has brought in a lot of investors. But now, there is a third lot that have started to see immense potential in this region — the creative lot; specifically documentary makers and filmmakers.

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By  Vijaya Cherian Published  May 30, 2006

|~||~||~|People often think of the Middle East as a place of political unrest and perhaps, a region with a lot of oil and money. The former has attracted many broadcasters because the media loves to report on such things while the latter has brought in a lot of investors. But now, there is a third lot that have started to see immense potential in this region — the creative lot; specifically documentary makers and filmmakers. They have come to realise that this region is teeming with stories that they have never seen or heard in other parts of the world. No doubt, they are still tales that deal with basic human nature; only, they are replayed in a different environment with a whole new culture and lifestyle. Joining them is a new generation of homegrown documentary makers who have felt the pulse of their people and have enchanting stories to tell. What’s more, a significant number of them have also had the privilege to go to the West and learn the tools of the trade and have now come back with the know how to tell their tales effectively through the medium of film. This means we can now expect to see more quality documentaries emerging from the Middle East. Al Jazeera Channel seems to have taken the lead in this area by investing in a documentary channel and showing films made by Arab filmmakers. But there are also other regional broadcasters and pay TV operators that are now beginning to invest in locally produced documentaries. Even if their investment is currently small, this is a good start and, if it continues, we can expect to see some engaging documentaries emerge from this region. ||**||

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