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14th TDF: EDN Award Ceremony (3/17/2012)


The European Documentary Network (EDN) has established an annual Award to honor people and institutions in Europe who have made a significant contribution to the documentary field. This year, it was given to the founders of the Syrian DOX BOX festival, Orwa Nyrabia and Diana El Jeiroudi. The ceremony took place on Friday, March 16, 2012 at the Excelsior lounge of the Electra Palace Hotel, as part of the 14th Thessaloniki Documentary Festival.

EDN Director Ηanne Skjodt noted: "This is the eighth time the EDN gives an award to a person, a group or an organization for their outstanding contribution to the documentary community. This year the choice was easy. The Damascus DOX BOX festival started in 2008 with the purpose of promoting domestic films and supporting independent filmmakers without any censorship. It was founded by two amazing people: Orwa Nyrabia and Diana El Jeiroudi”. She added: “DOX BOX has already become the most important festival in Arab-speaking countries. This year was like a clear condemnation of the regime. While the people of Syria are losing their lives for their freedom, you, as exceptional and creative people founded the DOX BOX GLOBAL DAY. Through this initiative, you managed to present the best international documentaries in Syria, and screen selected films from your country at festivals around the world. I thank you very much for sharing two documentaries with us at the 14th Thessaloniki Documentary Festival on the occasion of DOX BOX GLOBAL DAY. You are indeed remarkable people, with vision and strong willpower. You never stop fighting for the documentary profession and for freedom, under conditions that are so repressive we can’t even begin to understand in the slightest. On behalf of the EDN community I would like to express our deepest respect for your work and for all you are doing for Syrian filmmakers”.

The two award winners, receiving the award accompanied by lengthy applause, and visibly happy, spoke. Mr. Nyrabia thanked Ms Skjodt, the EDN and the Thessaloniki Documentary Festival: “I thank you all. We are one of the newer festivals, we only started five years ago and we realized it would be difficult right from the beginning. It involves hard work, fear, maybe even a nervous breakdown, but there is a simple ‘DOX BOX recipe: having good friends. From the first moment we had the idea of organizing the festival we had guidance, support and encouragement from the Amsterdam International Documentary Festival. I am obliged to mention this, in the presence of its Director, Ally Derks, at the 14th TDF. They truly encouraged us and of course the same is true of the EDN. I would like to also mention director Omar Amiralay, our ‘spiritual father’ who died last February, as well as many other people from our country. This is not something we are doing by ourselves alone, we have many friends and a strong team and they all work just as hard”.

Then Ms El Jeiroudi spoke. “I thank you very much for this award. I believe that making documentaries is addictive, and this is why I think this award should go to other people as well, so that they can also become ‘addicted’ to loving and serving the documentary genre.”

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