RESIDENCY (MENA) is the first financial support project launched by DOX BOX in early summer 2015 with the support of the Transformation Partnership Program of the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

RESIDENCY (MENA) aim to support sociopolitically-engaged documentary films reliant on the recontextualization of a pre-existing audiovisual heritage stemming primarily from citizen journalist and video activist material.

Filmmakers must be from the Arab countries, specifically documentary filmmakers and video activists who predominantly live in Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia, Palestine and Yemen.

As financial support, RESIDENCY (MENA) provides editorial teams (directors and editors) the opportunity and resources to edit their films to completion in Berlin, Germany. The support includes accommodation and costs of living in Berlin, as well as providing a fully-equipped professional editing suite, technical and artistic support, supervision by a team of experts, and most importantly, dramaturgic consultation by internationally-acclaimed filmmakers and editors.  RESIDENCY (MENA) is not only a technical and financial opportunity, it offers the grantees a safe, enlightening and professional environment in which to reach best decisions in the editing of their films. Each Residency award is supplemented by a tailored program of inspirational sessions including screenings, discussions, recreation, networking and personal visits with industry professionals.

The duration of each award can range from three to twelve weeks and is determined according to the length and nature of the material submitted, level of experience of the filmmakers, stage of editing, and the specific needs of the project.

The application can be completed in Arabic, Tamazight, Kurdish, English or German. Eligible are projects of any documentary film genre and all documentary filmmakers and video activists regardless of age (18+), previous experience or academic achievements, or political, national, ethnic, religious or artistic background.

If after reviewing the information here and in the FAQ you have further questions, please send an email to

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  • The duration of  the individual RESIDENCY (MENA) award can range from 3-12 weeks. It is determined based on the  length and nature of the material submitted, the level of experience of the filmmaker(s), the stage of editing, and the specific needs of each project. This is evaluated by the selection committee and decided by DOX BOX depending on available allocations.
  • Professional editing facilities for each project/team will be provided.
  • When a project is selected but has no editor, an experienced editor could be assigned by DOX BOX provided available allocations.
  • A consultant editor and a number of advisors shall provide in-depth analysis and feedback to the creative team on structure and style.
  • Accommodations in Berlin for the duration of the RESIDENCY (MENA) award will be provided for all grantees.
  • Per diem and local transportation for grantees for the entire duration of the RESIDENCY (MENA) award will be provided in Berlin.
  • Support and assistance in arranging for the German visa shall be provided. DOX BOX provides no guarantee that a visa shall be granted.
  • Eligible documentary filmmakers (including video activists) are:
    • of any age over eighteen,
    • of any level of professional and educational experience,
    • from the following countries: Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia, Palestine and Yemen.
    • currently in an advanced editing stage of an eligible documentary film project.
  • Teams of director(s)/editor(s) or director(s)/activist(s) are eligible.
  • There is no prerequisite for an applicant’s proficiency in English or German.
  • Only documentary film projects are eligible. Fiction is not accepted.
  • All documentary film genres of any duration are eligible. (Please visit the FAQ for further details.)
  • Film projects must be based or reliant on video activist footage or citizen journalist videos. (Found footage and archival could also be eligible. Please visit the FAQ for further details.)
  • Projects should address topics related to human rights and justice or be situated in a related sociopolitical context. (Please visit the FAQ for further details)
  • Regional and international co-productions are eligible. (Please visit the FAQ for further details.)
  • Since this program is aimed at helping directors and editors finish their films, well-developed film projects (clear treatment, structure, visual material, etc.) will be considered.
  • Only independent productions are eligible. Propaganda films, commercial films, and films commissioned by corporate, political and religious institutions are not eligible.
  • Successful applicants will be requested to sign an agreement that is binding and only revocable in the event of force majeure (natural disasters, war, death).
  • Successful applicants are required to sign and return the agreement within one week of receiving the offer from DOX BOX. In case of non-compliance, DOX BOX reserves the right to revoke the Residency fund and offer it to another applicant.
  • DOX BOX expects the full participation and investment by grantees in all RESIDENCY (MENA) award duration and sessions, including being present full-time in the editing suite.
  • Grantees are required to submit an evaluation of their award and experience upon completion.
  • Grantees are expected to complete their films by the end of their RESIDENCY (MENA) award period.
  • DOX BOX requires acknowledgement in the credits of the film and on all promotional materials.
  • DOX BOX reserves the right to include the finished film in the DOX BOX online Academy, in archive, and in educational workshops.

Applicants have up to one month to apply after the application cycle opens (subject to change). For  2016, application periods are:

  • Spring 2016 cycle:  open on October 15, 2015 – November 15, 2015 | Application Cycle closed
  • Summer 2016 cycle:  open on April 1, 2016 – April 15, 2016 | Application Cycle closed
  • Fall 2016 cycle:  open on May 1, 2016 – May 31, 2016 | Application Cycle closed
  • Spring 2017 cycle: open on September 1, 2016 – September 20, 2016 | Application Cycle closed
  • Summer 2017 cycle: open on February 1, 2017 – February 20, 2017 | Application Cycle closed
  • Fall 2017 cycle: open on May 1, 2017 – May 20, 2017 | Application Cycle closed

Application periods are subject to change. Potential applicants should check the DOX BOX website regularly for updated information.

  1. Who is eligible for the RESIDENCY (MENA)?

    The program is designed for documentary directors and editors from the Arab world. This includes citizen journalists, activists and artists who want to make films. Applications are welcome from both emerging and experienced filmmakers over the age of eighteen.

  2. Which nationalities are eligible?

    Applicants who come from the following countries and live predominantly in Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia, Palestine and Yemen..

  3. Can international directors or producers making work in the region apply?

    This is a support program aimed at empowering local documentary filmmakers/artists/activists from the Arab countries who face multifaceted political, educational and economic challenges.  Priority is therefore given to projects with main creative and production teams from the Arab countries, as well as projects featuring stories and themes stemming from the region and intended for audiences from the region and its diaspora.

    Co-production projects with international production teams and shooting locations can be considered, provided that the “nationality of authorship” is, in essence, regional and that the film addresses themes and audiences of the Arab region and/or its diaspora.

  4. How is “nationality of authorship” defined within international projects?

    Factors to be weighed when considering the nationality of authorship include the nationalities of the main creative and production team (including that of (co)directors, (co)producers, editors, writers, and creators of footage), location of shooting, intended audience, content/theme, and context of any archival material used.

  5. May we apply as a team?

    Yes, director/editor and director/activist teams are eligible to participate and apply. There can also be more than one director or more than one editor working on the film. On the application be sure to note all names, roles, and contact numbers of every team member. A total of three team members from a project are eligible to attend the Residency.

  6. When may I apply?

    You can only apply during the application cycles specified on the DOX BOX website. There are several application cycles announced annually. The application cycle opening dates and deadlines are subject to change, so it is best to check the DOX BOX website  regularly to plan the preparation of your application.

  7. I have never made a documentary film before. Can I apply?

    Yes. The merit of the documentary film project is more important than the experience of the applicant.

  8. Can my producer submit an application on my behalf?

    Yes. In such a case, the producer should provide the complete information of his/her director(s) in the application form.

  9. I am a producer. May I attend the RESIDENCY (MENA)?

    The Residency is intended for directors and editors.  As a producer you can apply on behalf of your director(s) and editor(s), and you can visit your team while attending the Residency at your own cost.

  10. Why does the RESIDENCY (MENA) support the editing only?

    Due to the various financial, political, and institutional challenges facing documentary filmmakers in the region, it has become commonplace for many to forego the time needed to properly discover and develop their points-of-view and voices as storytellers, especially in the crucial process of editing. Therefore the RESIDENCY (MENA) aims to provide filmmakers with a safe, professional and inspirational space to bring their edits to completion.

  11. What are the topics and contexts considered as related to human rights and social justice?

    This can be interpreted quite broadly. Examples include: The civil rights and discrimination of minorities based on ethnicity, religion, gender, sexuality, etc.; conflict and peace; transparency and the press; the democratic process; women’s rights; children’s rights… etc.

  12. Why is the RESIDENCY (MENA) only geared towards films that are reliant or based on citizen journalist material?

    DOX BOX seeks to facilitate collaboration and exchange between filmmakers, video activists and citizen journalists. Documentary films that are based on citizen journalist material acknowledge and activate the existing  context in which events, conflicts and stories are unfolding in the region. These films revive and recontextualize the existing audiovisual heritage and citizen involvement as a collective response to documented events.

  13. How is a film determined to be based or reliant on citizen journalist material?

    The material must be integral to the narrative. In other words, the film could not exist without it. The citizen journalist material must not have been originally produced for the film project. However projects including archival or personal audiovisual material are eligible.

  14. Which kinds of materials are considered archival and which are considered to be citizen journalist material?

    Citizen journalist material includes film, video, audio, text and photos, of any source, format or running time. Archival material includes national and collective archives, as well as  family and personal documentation. This can also include diaries, audio recordings, photos, and video material, as long as the material is substantive enough to support the film’s narrative.

  15. What if the footage upon which my project is based is only one-minute long?

    The audiovisual element can be any running time, as long as the whole documentary film project is reliant on it.

  16. I do not have any funds secured to date. Can I still apply?

    Yes. Prior funding commitments are not required.

  17. I applied and was rejected. Can I reapply with the same project for subsequent cycles?

    Yes. Unsuccessful applicants may reapply with the same project for subsequent RESIDENCY (MENA) cycles if the project has developed significantly since the last application.  In some special cases, the selection committee might turn down an application based on the belief that the project requires further development. In such a case this will be clearly communicated to the applicant, who will be invited to reapply when more substantial development is evident.

  18. I participated in the RESIDENCY (MENA) with a project. May I reapply with a new one?

    Yes. Grantees may apply with a new project for future cycles, provided he or she has successfully completed the film from the past RESIDENCY (MENA) and delivered all obligations (including reports and DVDs when applicable).

  19. I am not a DOX BOX COMMUNITY member. Am I eligible to apply?

    Yes, you don’t need to be a DOX BOX COMMUNITY member to be eligible for the RESIDENCY (MENA) .

  20. Can I apply with a project if I am related to a DOX BOX employee or General Assembly member?

    Projects in which DOX BOX employees and/or General Assembly members have a professional and/or financial stake are not eligible.  All projects are vetted exclusively on their own merits and eligibility criteria and that all applications are evaluated according to a fair and sound process.

  21. What editing platforms are supported by the RESIDENCY (MENA)?

    Projects can be edited in multiple versions of Avid and Final Cut Pro.

  22. I do not speak English or German. Can I be accepted and participate in the RESIDENCY (MENA)?

    Yes. For participants who don’t speak any English or German, a volunteer translator will be provided.

  23. How do I get a visa for Germany?

    DOX BOX shall provide all necessary assistance  for obtaining the proper visa.  As soon as you are selected for the Residency, DOX BOX will contact you to guide you  through the visa process.

  24. Is there an application fee?

    No, applying is free of charge.

  25. Do I need to pay for anything?

    All Residency costs – including editors’ and consultant editors’ fees and studio rentals in Berlin – are covered by DOX BOX, including participants’ per diem and accommodation (for non-residents of Berlin). However, applicants must pay for their  travel and visa costs or seek mobility funding for it. There is a possibility that DOX BOX might be able to offer support depending on existing secured  financing.

  26. May I apply with a short film or web series?

    Film projects of any duration or documentary genre (investigative, artistic, observational, animated documentary, hybrid, etc.) are eligible. Documentary films for this program are expected to be in the range of 20 to 120 minutes.

  27. I want to edit a teaser or a trailer. May I apply for the RESIDENCY (MENA)?

    No. You are only eligible if you are working to complete the editing of a documentary film.

  28. At what stage of editing should my film be at the time of applying?

    You should have at least an assembly edit up to a rough cut. We expect that you have completed all principal photography and that all your audiovisual material has been edited into an initial working cut.

    Films are expected to reach picture lock (completion) by the conclusion of the Residency period. Therefore, it is best that you apply when the film structure, narrative and style are shaping.

  29. What kind of visual material should I submit when applying?

    A full assembly edit or rough cut that demonstrates the use of citizen journalist material and is no longer than 180 minutes.

  30. Do I need to subtitle my visual material?

    You do not need to provide subtitles if the language of your visual material is in English, Arabic, German, Tamazight or Kurdish. However, subtitles in English and/or Arabic are appreciated

  31. In what format should I submit my visual material?

    We accept samples with online streaming links or file-transfer services (i.e., Vimeo, Dropbox, WeTransfer… etc) or on a DVD to be received in our office by the deadline.

    Important Note:
    If you choose to send your editing rough cut either via POST or Transfer service, please make sure they should arrive at our office during our working hours before the deadline. Otherwise, your application will not be considered as complete and will not be processed for evaluation committee.

  32. Will I be notified when my application is received?

    Yes, you will be automatically notified of your application’s receipt upon electronic submission.

  33. When will I be notified of the results of my application?

    You will be notified by email within six weeks of the application deadline.

  34. Will there be an interview?

    In some cases yes, when further information or clarification is required before the selection committee is able to make a fair and informed judgement.

  35. Are any specific factors taken into consideration by the selection committee?

    The selection committee shall strive for a balanced and thoughtful deliberation that reflects the diversity of the Arab region, when possible. However, there is no specific quota with regard to nationality, gender, religious and ethnic background, level of experience, age, and artistic styles and genres. The merit of the film is more important than the experience level of the filmmaker(s). DOX BOX reserves the right to solicit candidates to apply.

  36. How many Awards are granted annually?

    This depends on the number and quality of applications that we receive during each cycle.The goal is to be able to accommodate up to five teams annually.

  37. How are the timetable, duration and conditions of each RESIDENCY (MENA) determined and granted?

    The selection committee makes decisions on the final selection for each cycle. Depending on the  length and nature of the material submitted, the level of experience of the filmmaker, the stage of editing, and the specific needs of the project, each applicant shall be assigned a Residency with a definite duration, timetable and conditions. This could range from three to twelve weeks.

  38. Can I participate in the RESIDENCY (MENA) and remain anonymous?

    Yes. In the case that film projects, filmmakers and/or protagonists must remain anonymous in order to protect the parties involved and/or to realize the film, the participant and project can participate anonymously. However, in order to process the application, for the selection committee and staff of DOX BOX, identities shall be revealed internally within the DOX BOX organization.

  39. What topics can be explored during the RESIDENCY (MENA)?

    Each Residency is customized to accommodate each project’s specific needs and status.  Participants should expect to explore questions related to the following documentary filmmaking topics:

    • structure, style, language
    • international and local audiences
    • objectivity vs. subjectivity
    • ethics of point-of-view filmmaking and the contextualization of footage
    • the tools and methods of the protection of participants and witnesses
    • legal clearances of audiovisual rights, including creative commons, fair use, royalties and intellectual properties in the audiovisual industry
    • distribution and circulation of documentary films
    • post-production and finishing (color correction, sound design, mixing).
  40. Does the RESIDENCY (MENA) include post-production (finishing)?

    At the conclusion of the RESIDENCY (MENA) your film should be at picture lock or final edit.   The film should be ready for finishing and post-production.

  41. What if I do not complete the editing of my film during the RESIDENCY (MENA) period?

    Films are expected to be completed (picture lock/final cut) at the conclusion of the Residency. The selection committee will take this into consideration when selecting projects that have a realistic chance of being completed during the Residency and shall accordingly award an appropriate number of weeks to achieve this goal.

  42. Will DOX BOX be a co-producer or acknowledged funder of my film project?

    DOX BOX is a grant-giver and will not hold shares. The RESIDENCY (MENA) is legally considered as a grant into the shares of Arab-World director(s)/producer(s). DOX BOX retains the right to make the film available for free viewing in our online Academy, accessible to DOX BOX COMMUNITY members only.

  43. Will DOX BOX own my film?

    The RESIDENCY (MENA) is a financial support that comes in form an editing grant managed by DOX BOX.  Since no funds need to be recouped, none of your exploitable rights are encumbered. Our contract requires acknowledgement in the final credits of the film and on your promotional materials, that the final film be included in the DOX BOX Online Academy, and that a final narrative report and evaluation form be submitted. We may ask you to offer professional support to other filmmakers and the independent film field globally.

  44. How is the value of the support and shares determined?

    The RESIDENCY (MENA) agreement to be signed by awarded filmmakers shall state clearly the value of this grant.  The value of this grant shall be transferred to the producers’ or directors’ shares in the film’s financing.  Detailed agreements shall be extended to grantees upon selection.

  45. Is the fund meant to empower the director or the producer?

    DOX BOX encourages directors to hold shares in their own films.  However, it is the applicant, whether the director or producer, who will be granted the value of DOX BOX’s financial contribution and assigned shares, provided he or she is from the Arab region.

  46. When a team applies, who receives the financial value of the RESIDENCY (MENA) ?

    Shares are split 50-50 among the director(s) and producer(s) when applicable. If the application is filed by a director or producer NOT from the Arab region, the fund and shares are granted automatically to the partners that are from the Arab country attached to the project.

  47. If I am invited to participate in the RESIDENCY (MENA) , what are the terms of the contract?

    A complete agreement detailing all obligations of beneficiaries shall be extended for signature upon agreement (all briefed in this FAQ). Conditions of participation include:

    • All participants shall enter into agreement with DOX BOX.
    • DOX BOX reserves the right to include the finished films online in its  FILM LIBRARY.
    • DOX BOX must be cited in the credit sequences of finished films and in all forms of promotional materials as a supporter based on DOX BOX’s identity guidelines.
    • Participants are required to submit a narrative and evaluation form for DOX BOX at the conclusion of the Residency.
  48. What kinds of follow-up support will DOX BOX offer at the conclusion of the RESIDENCY (MENA)?

    If a grantee is not yet a member of the DOX BOX COMMUNITY, he or she receives automatic membership.  Films completed at the Residency will be highlighted by DOX BOX at industry events, in our annual film CATALOGUE, newsletters and other public relations and communications materials.

  • The online application form is available in Arabic and English. The application form can be filled out and submitted in Arabic, English, German, Kurdish, or Tamazight.
  • A complete application should include a link or DVD with a rough cut of maximum 3 hours that reflects the filmic style and narrative structure. (Please visit the FAQ for further details.)
  • Shooting should be completed and all other footage (archival, video activist material, citizen journalist audiovisual material, etc.) should be on hand by the time of application.
  • A complete application form must provide at least two references (local and regional/international) and their full contact information.
  • While filling out the online application form, it is not possible to save entries and return to the application at a later date. Therefore it is advisable to save responses to questions requiring written text statements in a separate document in advance in order to avoid losing responses in the event that the internet connection is broken or browser quits.
  • All applicants will be notified of the results of their application within six weeks of the application deadline.
  • Successful applicants will be required to apply for a visa at the German consulate in their country of residence. DOX BOX shall assist with the visa procedure. DOX BOX provides no warranty or guarantee that a visa will be granted.
  • In the event that a visa is not granted to a selected applicant, DOX BOX reserves the right to offer the RESIDENCY (MENA) position to the next candidate on the waitlist.

Application Cycle closed