EXCLUSIVE: Producers Orwa Nyrabia and Diana El Jeiroudi of Proaction Film have launched a new Syrian Film Institute in Berlin to act as a hub for Syrian filmmakers, who are either exiled or still in the country.

“The idea is to establish an institute to support Syrian filmmakers, wherever they are, with finance and practical support,” says El Jeiroudi. The institute is backed by Dutch social network company Hyves and George Soros’ human rights body, the Open Society Foundation.

The couple – who co-founded the pan-Arab documentary film festival DOX BOX – has been on the move for the past year having fled Damascus at the end of 2012.

El Jeiroudi is at DIFF this year with Sara Ishaq’s The Mulberry House, about the Scottish-Yemeni filmmaker’s return to Yemen after many years, which is a contender in the Muhr Arab Documentary competition.

Proaction has several other productions in the pipeline including Syrian director Ossama Mohammed’s Silvered Water, which is a co-production with Paris-based Les Films d’Ici. Mohammed, who is currently exiled in Paris, is collaborating with a young female video activist, based in the besieged city of Homs.

El Jeiroudi is also working on her first feature-length documentary since the 2007 Dolls: A Woman From Damascus. The film, which has the working title The Perfectionist, follows a Germany-based Syrian geneticist researching the implications of inbreeding in remote Syrian villages. 

Proaction’s Return To Homs, following rebels in the besieged city over the past three years, opened the recent International Documentary Festival Amsterdam (IDFA)