Bidayyat for Audiovisual Arts in collaboration with SDI-Scottish Documentary Institute- announces the launch of the OPEN CALL for its third intensive training program “Introduction to Documentary Film Directing” for emerging Syrian, Lebanese and Palestinians filmmakers.


8 participants will be offered the opportunity to follow a practical and theoretical, hands-on intensive training. The emerging talents must demonstrate interest in arts and film and must have the desire to specialise in directing documentary films that engage and question society. The candidates must have an idea for a documentary film that will be implemented with the assistance of their instructors over the course of the training, resulting in a short film not exceeding 10 minutes.


Participants are required to finish their films by the given deadline.

Participants are entitled to the material and moral rights of their films.

Bidayyat can help distribute the films when applicable.


Application deadline        Sunday  July 2  2017 

Period of training            July – December 2017

Place of training              Beirut-Lebanon


The overall objectives of the training are:


  • Helping selected filmmakers develop and produce their 10-minutes documentary trough hands on  training and by allowing them to work closely with industry professionals.
  • Give participants creative tools in documentary storytelling and cinematic language to develop        engaging character-led stories that explore and challenge their societies.
  • Give participants essential skills in documentary writing, shooting and editing.
  • Give participants a background in documentary film culture.
  • Encourage networking and cooperation among emerging talents from Syria, Lebanon and    Palestinians residing in both countries.


The training content and timetable


The program will consist of 3 intensive modules of around 12 days each in alternation with individual mentoring phases and will be held over a period of approximately six months. Throughout this period, the participants will not only be introduced to basic theoretical knowledge about documentary cinema, but will also acquire specific skills that will be applied while directing the short documentary film. 

The curriculum has been developed with the help of specialists and educators in the field of filmmaking.

Professional trainers and filmmakers will instruct and supervise the participants in groups and in one-on-one sessions in addition to mentoring between each training module.


The training will be divided into the following stages:


➢   Session I - July/August 2017

  •    ntroduction to creative documentary through viewing sessions and practical exercises;
  •    Writing and developing film ideas in group and individual writing sessions;
  •    Basic camera, sound and editing skills.


In-between sessions: individual working phase 1

Research/Writing treatment/ Audio-Visual material (photos, video, sound)/ securing consent from characters, assisted by mentors.


➢   Session II - September 2017

  •  Masterclass with guest filmmaker.
  •  Shoot and edit a 2-3 min film-exercise in groups of 3.
  •  Advanced camera, sound and editing skills.
  •  Completing film proposals.
  •  Filming and analysing key elements from films.
  •  Pitching session in front of a panel.


In-between sessions: individual working phase 2

  • Filming with assistance of technical crew if necessary/wanted;
  • Presenting the filmed material to the mentors;
  • Finalize filming.


➢   Session III - November 2017

  • Screening and analyse of selected rushes.
  • Editing a rough cut with help from trainers



Films finishing timeline


  • Fine cut:10 days after end of session 3 to be reviewed by editing tutor in one on one sessions.
  • Final cut with subtitles: 20 days after end of session 3 to be reviewed by editing tutor in one on one sessions.
  • Final post-production operations (sound mix/color grading/credits): beginning of December.
  • Films delivery: 18th of December.
  • Films private screening: January 2018.


Conditions to apply


  • Be an emerging talent from Syria and Lebanon, including Palestinians.
  • Show a demonstrated interest in arts and film and the desire to specialise in directing documentary films that engage and question society;
  • Have an idea of a documentary film that can be implemented over the course of the training that does not exceed 10 minutes;
  • To be dedicated and available to all phases of the training: development, production, editing and in-between working periods;
  •  Submit a complete application, only complete applications will be considered for the selection. An audio-visual sample required, could be a completed film or a sample of work. 


Selection process


A first selection and shortlisting will be done based on the submitted application, the proposed film ideas and the motivation of the applicant.

The selection committee will interview the shortlisted applicants personally or via Skype. Based on the interview, the committee will select the final participants. 



What we are looking for:


Each film should offer an original insight to its specific theme/question through a personal/character led-story.

•  The characters will have a story attached to them which will reveal an aspect of their daily life in a specific context.

•  Character with an evolving story that you can go on filming for a longer period.

•  Characters that embodies a theme with a larger social/human relevance.


Be sure when you write your film idea you can answer the following questions:

•     What is the story? And what is the film about?

•    Is this story suitable for a 10-minutes film?

•     Who are the character(s) and what is their journey? What might be different for them from the beginning to the end of the film?

•  What is the central theme/question of your film?




All applications and supporting documents must be sent to: