>> Arab Documentaries - Recording Whose 'Reality'?
>> Organised by the Arab Media Centre, Communication and Media Research
>> Institute (CAMRI)
>> Date: Friday 11 April, 2014
>> Venue: University of Westminster, Regent Street Campus, 309 Regent Street,
>> London W1
>> Call for papers ­ Deadline 16 December
>> Arab documentary films that have proliferated since the start of the Arab
>> uprisings are part of a much longer and wider success story. Demand for
>> documentaries increased with the rise of Arab-owned 24-hour news channels. At
>> the same time, rapid technological changes enabled young Arab film-makers to
>> circumvent censorship barriers, not only by filming more discreetly and
>> cheaply but also by distributing their work online. As a result, genre
>> boundaries have become blurred. Does mobile phone footage of torture in
>> police cells or military action against protestors count as documentary film?
>> In 2007, Egyptian bloggers saw the annual Cairo Film Festival as an
>> opportunity to run a parallel event featuring videos of torture in police
>> cells shot on mobile phones. In 2011 Egyptian activists used outdoor
>> screenings to bring documentary evidence of brutality and human rights abuse
>> by security forces to public attention and challenge the silence of
>> mainstream media.
>> Whose reality finds expression through documentary film and what kind of
>> Œreality¹ is represented? Does so-called Reality TV qualify as a sub-genre?
>> Are Arab documentaries filling a gap where investigative journalism should
>> be? Historically, in other regions, documentaries were mainstays of
>> television broadcasters seeking to meet requirements for public service
>> programming that would educate and inform, especially since easy translation
>> of voiced-over narratives makes documentaries relatively easy to trade. In a
>> region where the public service ethic is either not yet established or is
>> heavily contested, do state broadcasters source documentary films locally or
>> abroad?
>> An increase in Arab funding and training for aspiring documentary makers
>> seems to reflect increasing appreciation for local topics and talent.
>> Prominent supporting bodies include the Doha Film Institute and the Arab Fund
>> for Arts and Culture in Beirut, and prominent venues for documentary
>> screenings include film festivals hosted by Qatar, Dubai and Abu Dhabi. But
>> what became of the Dox Box that started in Syrian cities in 2008, and how has
>> the annual Doc ą Tunis event fared in the wake of Tunisia¹s political
>> upheavals? Despite some apparently positive changes affecting the filming and
>> exhibition of Arab documentaries, questions remain about who exactly is
>> commissioning and financing them, especially those that tackle sensitive
>> topics. Are new voices really being heard and how far do film-makers still
>> have to rely on foreign, mainly European, funding, despite the possible
>> implications for decisions on content? Is crowd-funding a realistic
>> alternative?
>> We welcome papers from scholars and film-makers that will engage critically
>> with particular aspects of Arab documentaries. Themes may include, but are
>> not limited to, the following:
>> * Processes and power relations in commissioning, funding and distribution
>> * Voices and representation: Who gets to tell which story?
>> * Film festivals and their impact on public access to documentary films
>> * Film schools and the teaching and learning of documentary making
>> * Current debates about documentary ethics and aesthetics
>> * Documentary making and political engagement
>> * Authorship rights and the law
>> * Implications of digital media for the status and circulation of documentary
>> films
>> * Impact of new media technologies on documentary filming and editing
>> * Archiving practices
>> Programme and registration
>> This one-day conference, taking place on Friday 11 April 2014, will consist
>> of plenaries, parallel workshops and selected screenings. The fee for
>> registration for all participants, including presenters, will be £99, with a
>> concessionary rate of £49 for students, to cover all conference
>> documentation, refreshments and administration costs. Registration will open
>> in February 2014.
>> Deadline for abstracts
>> The deadline for abstracts is Monday 16 December 2013. Successful applicants
>> will be notified early in January 2014. Abstracts should be 300 words. They
>> must be accompanied by the presenter¹s name, affiliation, email and postal
>> addresses, together with the title of the paper and a 150-word biographical
>> note on the presenter.
>> Please send all these items together in a single Word file, not as pdf, and
>> entitle the file and message with ŒAMC 2014¹ followed by your surname. The
>> file should be sent by email to the Events Administrator, Helen Cohen, at
>> [log in to unmask]
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