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"There are so many ways to see and discuss and celebrate documentary film," Orwa Nyrabia observed, "well beyond festival premieres and competitions".Nyrabia has had some experience celebrating cinema. In the early 2000s, he and his partner, filmmaker Diana El Jeiroudi, launched Syria's first independent film production company. In 2008, Nyrabia and Jeiroudi co-founded DOX BOX, Damascus' independent documentary film festival. One of cinema's most influential documentary film platforms, IDFA stages a prominent documentary competition, year-round exhibitions and, through its Bertha Fund, finances documentaries from the "global south" and parts of Eastern Europe.Nyrabia and his collaborators have long been advocates for the "next level" of documentary film practice -- easing the form away from the journalistic premises of some of its early practitioners and closer to cinema.Those notions are "geared to 'subject' and 'information' and 'analysis,' rather than documentary being a cinematic experience.Within the global shift in documentary film, Nyrabia sees Arab directors facing a unique range of opportunities and challenges -- though the story's not a black-and-white one.
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