SlowMedia Filmmaking Workshop | TELLING THEIR STORIES

Download the full workshop brochure and application guidelines.
Applications are open. Deadline Extended. Midnight, April 27th, 2017


“Your story only needs to do one thing. It needs to give people a reason to care. If you stop trying to convince people to think differently, but change how people feel, then you have told your story well!” Mark Abouzeid

Most people know how to tell a good story, especially if it is their own.  Our experiences have tastes, smells, sights, sounds and more from which to draw.  Emotions are felt again, then shared, connecting us with our listeners. When we tell the stories of others, we often lose this connection.

In this workshop, you will learn the empathy needed to share amazing stories with the same fullness as your own.  You will learn the fundamental rule of SlowMedia work: you cannot share an emotion until you actually have experienced it yourself.

Applications are open. Deadline Midnight, April 27th, 2017

Mark Abouzeid Keynote Speech on Epic Failure

Epic Failure Conference, Florence, September 2015

What did you learn from your failures, both professional and personal? How did these failures lead you to create a specific project? Ultimately, how did these failures bring you to where you are today?

Mark Abouzeid shares his trials, exploits and lessons learned in a rare personal talk on the importance of Epic Failure.

About Mark Abouzeid

Born in 1962 to a Lebanese American immigrant, Mark Abouzeid has been filming the oral histories, living culture and human endeavours of people around the globe for over 15 years.  His short film, “Interview with an Assassin”, was shortlisted by the Florence Film Festival and his documentary work on the Dying Seas will be the centrepiece of exhibits at the Maritime Museums of Valencia, Barcelona and EU Maritime Museum in Marseille.

He is currently making a feature length documentary film, Growing Cedars in Air, and a short film, Finding Lebanon.  Each are based on Abouzeid’s own personal discovery of his roots and what it means to be Lebanese, today.

About Epic Failure Conference

A process is not always linear, but non-sequential and always navigated by failures. Consequently the goal of EPIC FAILURES is to gather professionals into sharing their stories, their process; how they overcame their mistakes and how failures, more often than not, open new doors. We live in an area where there is an over emphasis on achievement and so this creates an alliterated vision of reality. The stories of errors are not told; yet success is always paved by mistakes! We need to embrace our past flaws in order to move forward. Creativity and Failure go hand in hand. EPIC FAILURES is a conference talk that celebrates creativity and entrepreneurship, built through failures, by providing a networking-platform across industries and communities. We are a bimestrial event, hosting between four to five speakers.

Mark Abouzeid & Cedars Productions Launch “My Lebanon” Initiative

My name is Mark Abouzeid and I am the Director of Growing Cedars in Air. I am Lebanese; I wasn’t brought up Lebanese, but I am beginning to understand just how Lebanese I am.

Last year, before my father died, I interviewed him about my own family heritage, something he had never spoken of before. That moment was the start of a personal discovery which became the basis for the upcoming film.

During the course of getting to know the Lebanese people, I came across this poem by Gibran at the same time as the people I met spoke with similar pride of their homeland. So I decided to start asking anyone, “What is your Lebanon?”

The results have been incredible and the impact overwhelming. The question reminded Lebanese to appreciate what matters, caused foreign viewers to question their view of Lebanon, and helped me find my own Lebanon.

The response has inspired us to launch My Lebanon as a social initiative through videos and with the help of social media. Anyone can contribute with a My Lebanon video. In this video, are just a few My Lebanon examples.

What does My Lebanon mean to you? Is it an album of photos, an object, a person, a song, a poem?

Share your Lebanon with us and you might find yourself in in our next My Lebanon video or in an international feature film. Send links, video files, or written submissions to, share your Lebanon with others and witness the impact of your statement.

Visit or on Facebook: Growing Cedars in Air for more information.

October Storytelling Workshop | using words and images to capture your audience


Starting October 18th
Lessons: Saturday October 18th & 25th, Nov 1st & 8th from 11:00 to 13:00.

Cost: €250 all inclusive, payable at preregistration online via credit card or paypal on registration

Pre-registration required:

Workshop Registration Form

This October, I will be teaching a special workshop together with published writer, Ela Vasilescu on Storytelling using words and images for students of all ages and experience.

Stand out, spread your message and make a change through words and image.

Good stories surprise us. They have compelling characters. They make us think, make us feel. They stick in our minds and help us remember ideas and concepts in a way that numbers and text on a slide with a bar graph don’t.

Unfortunately, in the era of PowerPoint and Facebook status updates, many of us have forgotten how to tell a good story. As blogs, vlogs, selfies and social/work sharing tools transform our digital lives, storytelling is becoming uniquely essential. And as we spend increasing amounts of time consuming content by the streamful, storytelling is a skill that every professional and private individual will need to master.

There’s a Native American proverb that says, “Those who tell the stories rule the world.” As technology increasingly intertwines us, it is increasingly true. It’s our job as businesses and parents and community leaders to make sure the good guys are the ones telling the best stories.

And like any skill, we’re going to need practice at it.

Lesson Plan

The course will meet four times on Saturdays starting October 18th from 11:00 to 13:00 at a meeting place in central chosen for that specific lesson plan. Each lesson includes a discussion on technique and theory followed by practical application in a creative and enjoyable environment. Each student is given individual guidance based on their specific knowledge, insight and experience.

Saturday, October 18th
Perfecting delivery | how to tell a joke.

Saturday, October 25th
Balancing words and imagery | cave paintings, bedtime stories and Powerpoint.

Saturday, November 1st
Creating harmony and rhythm | all photos, no words.

Saturday, November 8th –
Defining a voice and keeping the thread | blogs, updates and family tales.

Mark Abouzeid, Visual Storyteller | Mark Abouzeid is an award winning freelance visual journalist & storyteller based in Florence, Italy. Abouzeid has recently returned from work around the Mediterranean capturing the oral histories of the sea faring cultures as part of the OralMed Project.

His years of experience in the field, often under extreme conditions, allows him to build compelling features and documentaries based upon his creative, sensual and bold imagery. He regular teaches workshops and at Universities, foreign and Italian, around Florence.

Ela Vasilescu, Author | Ela Vasilescu is a published writer and a freelance journalist based in Florence, Italy. She is currently working on her new book of short stories and is part of the Writers Group in Florence. She has created and conducted the journalistic project The human behind the artist which consists in interviews with English speaking artists living in Florence.

She believes that stories can make us look inward, to explore and verbalize our emotions better; she is always on a quest to finding those stories which cannot be seen with the naked eye. She has conducted a series of theater workshops and this year she has created a storytelling workshop for children “Let’s invent stories together!”

Lesson Details & Requirements

The workshop is open to any individual, aged 16+, who wants to improve their storytelling skills and understand better how to apply it to their work and personal life. Each lesson starts in an agreed location selected for the theme. No prior knowledge or experience in photography, writing or public speaking required.

This is supposed to be fun…students can bring iPods to listen to their own music when working individually independently but will be asked to remove them when working in groups. Comfortable clothes are recommended since we will be moving and working with basic art supplies (scissors, paste, markers) from time to time.

Please feel free to call me regarding the course or ask any questions: 339/7483966 or email

BHP Video: The camel races at Wadi Rum, Jordan

Modern meets tradition at the camel races in wadi rum, jordan. A Bedouin rides a camel in a camel race in the desert of Wadi Rum on July 16th, 2009 in South Jordan. Spectators from Jordan and Saudi Arabia follow in their truck the popular traditional bedouin sport. (Photo by Mark Abouzeid/Bedouin Heritage Project)