Events News

Ben back in Tunis for workshops

With the support of No Boundz, Ben will be back in Tunis for two workshops in March 2023.

“I’ve noticed that many people in the puppetry world are now more aware of the power of images,” he explains. “But many professionals would like some support to do this properly.

How to film puppet shows

In two events, Ben will give a quick overview of issues you have to look at to better film what was first intended to be a puppet theatre show. “It’s a different medium,” Schwag notes. “It’s important to look at it from the ground up and look at it with new eyes.”

For that reason he will walk the participants through the basics from the script up to the final editing. This include staging, lighting and production and post-production issues.

The time for puppeteers to learn is right now

“The time for puppeteers to learn these skills is right now,” says Schwag. “Puppetry does not get the exposure it deserves. At the same time, it has never been easier to find new audiences on streaming platforms such as YouTube, while promoting them though social media. The future really is in the hands of the creators.”

The puppetry workshops will be held at:

March 15, Douroub cultural centre. 45 Avenue Jean Jaurès , Tunis,

March 16, 5pm: Carthage Puppetry Arts Days (festival Théâtre de Poche (Cité de la Culture), Av. Mohamed 5, Tunis. For details, +216 70 028 319

Puppet-masters: get in touch

If you work with puppets, why not get in touch to see if you want Ben to provide coaching on how to film puppet shows, going “From Stage to Screen” as he puts it. Ben is a qualified cinematographer and sound professional with extensive international experience, including film production. He runs workshops in film schools and festivals.

Events News

Ben Schwag to run workshop at Jerissa festival

As part of the upcoming Jerissa festival (full name Festival International du film des mines à Djerissa) in Tunisia on 22-24 December 2022, our partner Ben Schwag will be running a workshop for film professionals. Invited by No Boundz, CFT, and IBDAA, his goal is to encourage greater professionalism among young sound engineers and filmmakers entering the profession

Young sound and filmmaking talent in Tunisia is emerging. The “Festival independant du premier film des 2 rives” in Tunis is already in its fourth year. The upcoming Festival international de cinema des mines de Djerissa festival is hosting a special event around the subject of sound in film to be run by Ben (who just happens to have a PhD in Cinematography and Sound Engineering). Ben 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 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

“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.

Poster of the Jerissa festival du film des mines

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.”

Details (in French): Jerissa festival


Results of the 2 Rives festival 2022

In September 2022, we were honoured to be part of the international jury for the Festival 2 Rives for first films and short movies. Ben Schwag also held a workshop dedicated to writing and sound in short movies.

Ben Schwag at the 4th Festival 2 Rives, Tunis.

The jury of the festival of first films was composed of:
Imad Oueslati: President
Moncef Baldi: Member
Adel Eyet Ammar: Member
Nasser Berkhissa: Member
Adel Khammssi: Member
Ikbal Sfar : Member

International jury:

Ben Schwagrowki (president)

Guus Fluit

Michael Leahy

Thierry Tirabasso

On September 22, 2022, after having viewed all the 20 works nominated by the selection and viewing committee from a total of seven countries (Tunisia – Morocco – Iraq – Libya – Mauritania – Egypt – Palestine) they announced the winners. Given that the level of the works and their sources were different, they were classified into two categories.

The institutional films open to students only, had more than ten works nominated for this category.

The first prizes for the two films “Pars” and “Sin” were shared equally between the two students: Dkekra Al-Askari – Nour Al-Huda Nasri
Malek Sokouhi from Tunisia 2nd prize* ABDOU MOSLEM
ABDOU MOSLEM 3rd prize for precision*.

The second category was for first films and professional productions, and 12 works competed for prizes:

  • Earth Brick: Egypt/1
  • Shash: Iraq/2
  • Stop: Morocco/3
  • Jury Prize: Une Minute de Silence: Mauritania *
  • Creativity Award: Left Foot: Iraq*
  • Environment Award: Malgin: Tunisia *
  • Challenge Award: Asmaa Jabali / Emna Al-Jami: Zaman / In the Blink of an Eye: Tunisia

The committee also noted the Palestinian documentary “Sanabel sans têtes/Sanabel without heads”.

Read more about the Festival winners


Writing/sound workshop in Tunis, September 2022

Bew Schwag in Tunis for a workshop on sound and writing in short movies

We were lucky enough to be invited to the 2 Rives festival of first movies in Tunis last year. We were on the jury for short movies and were impressed by both the movies and the spirit of the people that attended.

The event was organised by Ibdaa, a body that trains audiovisual professionals. At the time, we mentioned the importance of giving young people a broad understanding of what producing a good short movie involves.

Fast forward, and here I am in Tunis again to sit on the film jury and conduct a workshop on writing and managing the sound on short movies. It will take place at the Ibn Rashiq centre on September 22, 2022.

As well as actually conducting the conference, I’m looking forward to meeting people from the field and – of course – the next generation of audiovisual professionals in Tunisia and other countries (films from across the region were screened last year).

You’ll find all the details on the Ibdaa Facebook page.


RIP: Stan Wade

The Trammps
The Trammps with Stan Wade (top left)

We’re sad to hear that Stan Wade, singer and occasional bassist with The Trammps, passed away in January 2021 from complications following Covid. The Trammps were the Philly band that had a runaway hit with the single “Disco Inferno”, which featured prominently in the hit musical “Saturday Night Fever” in 1977. The track was released twice and hit the n° 11 spot in the Billboard charts the second time.

But The Trammps – and Stan – go back to the sixties and the doo-wap band such as The Volcanoes and Zing. We started working with Stan in the eighties, when he was living in Antwerp, Belgium. We recorded material for him and he also contributed his voice and wisdom to tracks for George Williams and others.

So long, Stan. And thanks for everything.


Reggae nights with One Root

This is going back a bit. Our man “Pierrot” Amhigo has played a lot with the reggae collective One Root in concert. The band has performed well over 100 gigs in Belgium and the Netherlands over the years, ranging from small venues to big festivals.

This video was from a gig they played at the Vooruit venue in Ghent, when they were opening for The Wailers. You’ll see Pierrot on sax, playing that big upfront riff.

Who can tell me what song this is? 😉 Click on “Comments” above the video.

Pierrot is currently working on new material with Ben Schwag in Brussels.


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