PriMed, the Festival of the Mediterranean in images, is celebrating its 22nd year in Marseille. Nearly 40 hours of free public screenings for cinema-goers in Marseille, with 25 films in competition.
Created in 1994 and organized by the Centre Méditerranéen de la Communication Audiovisuelle (CMCA), the PriMed (Prix International du Documentaire et du Reportage Méditerranéen) transforms what’s happening around the Mediterranean, its history and life, into images – not only through a wide-ranging and demanding selection of documentaries and news reports, but also through discussions and meetings.
The PriMed, a wonderful audiovisual week of Mediterranean life, promotes and rewards films which put quality and creativity first, both in terms of content and artistic forms.
From November 25th to December 1st in Marseille, the public can watch – completely free – films shot all round the Mediterranean: in Algeria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cyprus, Spain, France, Greece, Israel, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey. Fourteen of the films are being shown for the first time in France, and all will be followed by a discussion with the director.
The main themes
This year’s main themes are: paths of exile, from yesterday to today; growing up in the Mediterranean; the environment as a mirror of Man; art as a way of overcoming one’s own limitations; humans facing war – and finally, portraits of Mediterranean women.
The Audience Award
During a series of afternoon screenings at Mucem on Sunday, November 25th, the public will decide the winner of the Mediterranean Short Film Award. In the running this year, 6 short films from Spain, Algeria, Greece and Syria.
A week of screenings
There will be screenings at the Bibliothèque l’Alcazar from Tuesday November 27th to Saturday, December 1st. The films will be shown in their original version with French subtitles. Most screenings will be followed by a discussion with the director.
The award winners will be announced at a ceremony in the Prado Cinema on Friday November 30th at 4:30 pm. In addition to the 9 CMCA awards, 3 broadcasting awards will be given by member television companies: 2M (Morocco), France 3 Corsica ViaStella (France) and Rai 3 (Italy).
Musical entertainment will be provided by the Marseille group Radio Babel. The directors of all the films will be present, as will the members of the jury.
The award-winning films will then be shown again at the Bibliothèque l’Alcazar
Cinema-goers will have the pleasure (re)seeing the award-winning films on Saturday December 1st at the Bibliothèque l’Alcazar, from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm. Each day’s programme will be available on the PriMed web-site as from Friday evening.
A jury of people working in broadcasting, chaired by Lebanese journalist Gisèle Khoury, will pick out 4 award winners and 1 special mention. The jury members are:
– Gisèle KHOURY, journalist (Chair)
– Reda BENJELLOUN, head of news magazines and documentaries at 2M
– Nada DOUMANI, head of the “Communication and Culture” department at RFC Jordan
– Fabio MANCINI, commissioning editor of the programme “DOC3” on Rai 3
– Janane Fatine MOHAMMADI, film director
– Thierry PARDI, editor in chief at France Télévisions
In addition, 2,000 high school students from both sides of the Mediterranean will form their own PriMed jury. It is down to them to decide which of three films should win the Prix des Jeunes de la Méditerranée – with subjects ranging from the growth of street art in Tunisia, Spanish refugee camps in France and the fight against pollution in the Mediterranean.
Interview with Gisèle Khoury, jury chair
President of the jury of the 22nd PriMed, Gisèle Khoury is a Lebanese journalist whose career began in 1986 on LBCI. Currently presenting BBC Arabic’s “Al Mashhad” (The Scene), she has hosted political broadcasts on different channels throughout her career, including “Al-Arabiya” from 2003 to 2013. When her husband, journalist Samir Kassir, was assassinated in 2005 she created a foundation in his name, which she chairs and which organizes the Samir Kassir Award for Freedom of the Press, recognising journalists who have made a particular contribution to press freedom. The foundation also created the SKEyes Centre for Freedom of the Press and Culture. In 2009, she co-founded Rawi, a production company for documentaries about the lives of top leaders around the world.
Gisèle Khoury, what does it mean for you to chair the PriMed jury?
For me documentaries are the ultimate prestige of the journalist. Let me explain. A news reportage, a show, a dispatch are all sublimated in a documentary. Nowadays, journalism is about “story”. What better than a documentary to show that? For that reason, I feel both lucky and honoured to chair the jury of this year’s PriMed. I thank the organizers very much for the opportunity and look forward to meeting them.
In your opinion, what’s the documentary’s role in the evolution of the Mediterranean?
In our region the documentary has encouraged talented young people to tell stories in a part of the world where archives are not well preserved and there is no official or credible entity to manage them. The documentary is a witness; making one is an important act.
Real stories are close to the truth and far from political allegiances. To understand the complexities of the Mediterranean we need to be aware of everything which affects people. An example: a Franco-Lebanese film-maker made a documentary about the massacre of his own family during the civil war. He was able to find the person who had killed his mother. When I asked him didn’t he want to kill the man, he said, “Oh, I killed him with my camera.”
What are your criteria for giving a film an award?
There are several. A documentary is a mix of investigation and aesthetics. Either it is innovative and deals with a little-known subject, or it touches a nerve in us, but the most important thing is its credibility.
A new award in 2018: “Moi, Citoyen méditerranéen”
First they were part of a PriMed jury, now high school students are becoming film-makers. The “Moi, Citoyen méditerranéen” award is for two one-minute smartphone videos made by high school students. This year’s theme: “My action for the planet”, or how each person can fight against pollution. Their videos will be screened on Thursday November 29th at 6:20 pm at the Alcazar.
PriMed stops in Palermo, Cairo and Alexandria
PriMed’s organizer, the CMCA, decided to do more to involve young people around the Mediterranean. They went to various countries to show high school kids documentaries and then listened to their response. The aim is to encourage people of that age group to reflect about themes which matter to them, to listen to how they see the world around them and their ideas for changing it. In other words to give a voice to the citizens of tomorrow.
From November 13th to 17th, in partnership with RAI, PriMed’s co-organizer, the CMCA went to Palermo, Italy. A hundred high school students became our jury. Their votes, along with those of other high school students, help decide one of the winning documentary-makers at the PriMed Awards Ceremony. As part of the RAI’s Open Doors programme and during an educational tour of a television studio for teachers and students, the CMCA organised a special event about the Mediterranean: the screening of three films competing for the Prix des Jeunes de la Méditerranée, an award decided by young people around the Mediterranean. There were also two masterclasses: one for teachers led by sociologist Gianna Maria Cappello and a commissioning editor of RAI3’s programme “DOC3”, Fabio Mancini, and the other for students, led by professionals from broadcasting and documentary.
As part of the same project, the CMCA had also visited Egypt in September, this time working with the Centre d’Activités Francophones (CAF) of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina. 300 high school students from Cairo and Alexandria watched the same 3 documentaries, discussed them, wrote their comments and voted for the one they liked best. Two young members of the jury were chosen to come to Marseille to participate in PriMed.
Follow PriMed on the official web-site, on Facebook, Twitter and on Instagram
PriMed, the Festival of the Mediterranean in images
From November 25th to December 1st 2018, Marseille
– Bibliothèque l’Alcazar : 58 cours Belsunce, 13001 Marseille
– Mucem : Esplanade du J4, 13002 Marseille
– Le Prado Cinema: 36 avenue du Prado, 13006 Marseille
PriMed is organised by the Centre Méditerranéen de la Communication Audiovisuelle (CMCA), and co-organised by France Télévisions, Rai and the Arab States Broadcasting Union (ASBU).