International Relief Fund

Two Lebanese cultural institutions selected by the International Relief Fund for Cultural and Educational Organizations set up in response to the Covid-19 Pandemic.

Metropolis Cinema Association and Zoukak Theater Company have been selected from more than 140 applicants worldwide to receive grants to carry out projects to strengthen their institutional resilience and outreach.

The International Relief Fund is a joint initiative of the Federal Foreign Office, the Goethe-Institut and further intermediary organizations. It was set up as a direct response to the crisis caused by the Covid-19 Pandemic, to support cultural and educational organizations in countries where both sectors have no or very few alternative means of support to cope with the effects of the crisis. Selected projects are to be implemented in the period ranging from September 2020 to December 2020.

  • A call for applications has been launched for independent organizational structures, which have long been operating at the local level and that undertake activities to guarantee spaces for pluralistic societies and artistic freedom, inviting them to propose projects with a budget of up to 25,000 Euro.
  • This aid fund is designed to provide short-term financing for projects with a precise objective and timetable for maintaining, rebuilding and developing infrastructure. At the same time, it aims to cover the additional costs of activities such as the acquisition of new equipment or the development of new digital formats in response to the needs that have emerged with the crisis, so that institutions can continue to operate properly.

From Lebanon, Metropolis Cinema Association and Zoukak Theater Company have been successful in the application process with the following proposed projects.

Metropolis Cinema Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting independent cinema in Lebanon and the MENA region through diverse programming, industry training, young audience outreach, and preservation of film heritage in order to allow for greater accessibility to alternative films locally and regionally.

Metropolis on Wheels is a mobile cinema project that consists of indoor and outdoor film screenings followed by discussions in various cities and villages across Lebanon. At the heart of this project are the partnerships with various cultural institutions and venues in the country that will be collaborating with Metropolis to open up its programs to new audiences. In a time of socio-political and economical instabilities, Metropolis wishes to decentralize its screenings to create a more flexible program, one that can move, transform and adapt according to the new challenges. The screenings will be followed by discussion sessions that will focus on the cinema as a space for a shared collective experience of dialog and exchange.

An article by Jim Quilty about the project

Zoukak Theater Company was founded in 2006 as a non-hierarchical structure dedicated to theater practice as a social and political engagement, with a belief in theater as a space for collective reflection and in collectivity as a position against marginalizing systems. The theater company positions itself outside the dominant discourses through direct actions within marginalized communities.

Recovery of Zoukak Studio is a project that was launched as a direct response to the explosion that took place in the heart of Beirut on August 4, 2020 - noting that Zoukak's studio is located a mere 1 kilometer from where it exploded. The company believes that in times of severe social crisis, culture is as important as humanitarian aid and heritage restoration, as it enables the creation of a variety of narratives that help residents stay, dream, feel, work and live. The team has come up with an initiative that positions the studio at the crossroads of different paths of action, and which is driven by three main guidelines; the first is to create a safe space for groups from civil society to gather and plan their next actions; the second is a hub for psychological support for those affected and through tools of theater therapy, while the third is a space for artistic creation for a number of associated artists, aspiring theater makers and young trainee.

The international 2020 Relief Fund for Organizations in Culture and Education was set up on the initiative of the Federal Foreign Office and the Goethe-Institut together with partners who came together in a consortium for this purpose. The Foreign Office provided basic funding of three million euros, the allocation of which is coordinated by a team at the Goethe-Institut. Numerous cultural organizations and private donations from Germany, including the Berliner Künstlerprogramm of the DAAD, the German UNESCO Commission, the S.Fischer Foundation, the Stiftung Mercator, the Robert Bosch Stiftung and the Siemens Stiftung and the Goethe-Institut, have also provided funds or are participating with their own projects.

The International Relief Fund is an initiative of:
AA + GI En

Consortium partners are:
Bosch + Fischer