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Berlinale: Take 'Ajami' Director Scandar Copti's Workshop on Directing Actors

Thompson on Hollywood By Sophia Savage | Thompson on Hollywood January 2, 2013 at 12:31PM

If you are attending the Berlinale, there's still time to register for Scandar Copti's two day workshop on directing actors. The intensive workshop, limited to 25 participants, takes place February 16-17 and will focus on Copti's method to elicit natural performances from actors.
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Ajami
'Ajami'

If you are attending the Berlinale, there's still time to register for Scandar Copti's two day workshop on directing actors. The intensive workshop, limited to 25 participants, takes place February 16-17 and will focus on Copti's method to elicit natural performances from actors. It is intended for directors, actors and film students.

Copti's 2009 film "Ajami" won the Camera d'Or Special Mention at Cannes, and was also nominated for the Best Foreign Language Oscar (watch the trailer below). More info on the workshop is below and here.
 
Workshop info:

Filmmakers often use the element of surprise to direct actors for certain scenes to get authentic emotional responses.

The directors of AJAMI based their film entirely on this principal. Unlike other forays into improvisation, AJAMI had a very precise screenplay and a well-constructed plot that demanded precise emotional responses from its actors.

The actors ended up acting out a story, without being aware that they were being directed according to a pre-written script. The film is a work of fiction which shows “real” people acting in situations that are orchestrated by the directors, but very “real” to the performers, resulting in the actors projecting emotions on camera that they actually experienced at the time.

This was achieved over specialized workshops, in which the actors were brought to each character’s emotional and psychological state as written in the script.

In these workshops, the participants didn’t learn about text, goals, mise-en-scene or acting tricks. The focus was on the psychological journey of the characters through dramatic role-playing. Eventually, each actor deeply identified with his or her character as though the character was an extension of their own personality.

When the cameras started rolling, something magical happened – the actors forgot that they were in a fictional situation and their minds believed that what was happening was real.

Throughout the 2 days-workshop, participants will learn and experience the technique that Scandar uses during the preparations of his actors as well as during the shoot.

16 hours
Dates: 16-17 February 2013
Location: Berlin
Price: 369 €
Vacancies: 25

This article is related to: Ajami, Scandar Copti, Berlin International Film Festival, Festivals, Festivals, Directors


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.