Jerissa festival: a new generation of sound and image pros

Ben Schwag sitting on stage

Brussels, December 15 2022 – Young sound and film-making talent in Tunisia is emerging. The “Festival indépendant du premier film des 2 rives” in Tunis is already in its fourth year, and the upcoming  Festival international du Film des Mines à Djerissa is hosting a special event around the subject of sound in film. It will be run by Benjamin G Schwagrowski, PhD in Cinematography and Sound Engineering. The American (AKA Ben Schwag) is a regular visitor to Tunisia, where he has lectured among other places at the CFT academy and overseen a number of productions. He is also a veteran music producer, with credits going back to the eighties, including names such as Curtis Mayfield, Rufus Thomas and Johnny Guitar Watson.

“One of the tragedies of Tunisia is the lack of prospects for its creative youth,” he says. “Rather than creating their own music, cinema and TV shows, they are the passive spectators of other peoples’ dreams. I’d like to help people think again about that.”

A spirit of enterprise

No Boundz Asbl is a non-profit body set up in Belgium with a unique focus on communications, continued education, distant learning, and youth training. Its principals, active in the music and communication sectors, see the potential of creating a spirit of enterprise among young people, including in Tunisia.

“What I see is that many young people remain unemployed, accept jobs below their skills or emigrate,” says Schwag. Yet other countries have managed to create more positive outcomes for young people in the face of difficult circumstances.

In Europe, despite its lack of natural resources, Ireland has successfully developed knowledge-based sectors – notably music and to a lesser degree cinema. Romania has established itself as production hub and is renowned for its film orchestras. In the middle east, Jordan is now a respected supplier for various productions.

More professional results from a more professional attitude

“Getting young people to achieve more professional results starts with them acquiring a more professional attitude,” he says. This creates ambition and employment, cuts emigration and also helps the existing theatre, cinema and music productions become more competitive on an international level. “We are working with local bodies and professionals to improve the professionalism of music and audio-visual production in Tunisia,” he adds. “The combination of training, contacts with existing professionals, new technology and the support of the festivals and other bodies can lead to a new generation of storytelling in Tunisia.”

For more information about NoBoundz training activities, use the contact page.