Ammar Al Beik’s artistic career stems from unconventional roots. Abandoning his pursuit of a degree in business administration from the University of Damascus, he began experimenting with photography while working at a camera repair shop in the heart of the Syrian capital. Receiving rigorous training through this inadvertent apprenticeship, he began to work in photography and inevitably turned to filmmaking. Two decades into his artistic practice, Al Beik continues to alternate between photography and film, and recently added installation to his repertoire, effortlessly moving between media with an acute sense of capturing narrative structures through subtle nuances while using various conceptual approaches and experimental forms, all with an incisive interest in the potential of art as an act of rebellion.
Born in Damascus, Syria in 1972, Ammar Al Beik is based in Berlin, Germany. Al Beik’s artworks have featured in international exhibitions since the late 1990s, most recently at Photo Shanghai, China (2014); FotoFest Biennial, USA (2014); and Samsung Blue Square and the Busan Museum of Art, South Korea (2014); and are housed in private and public collections such as the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, USA (2013); and the Museum of Modern Art, USA (2010).
Al Beik’s films have been shown at numerous international festivals including (Locarno, IFF), Switzerland; (Rotterdam, IFFR), Netherlands; (Yamagata, YIDFF), Japan; (Busan, BISFF), South Korea; (Nantes, Festival Des3 Continents), France; (Paris, Cinéma du réel, DIFF), France; (Oberhausen, ISFF), Germany; (São Paulo, IFF), Brazil; (Singapore, SGIFF), Singapore; (FIDMarseille), France; (Carthage, IFF), Tunis; and (Dubai, DIFF), UAE. He is the only filmmaker to represent Syria twice at the Venice Film Festival with the long film I Am the One Who Brings Flowers to Her Grave (2006) and the short film The Sun’s Incubator (2011), both of which were shown in the Orizzonti competition.
As a filmmaker, Al Beik is the recipient of several awards, including the Doc/It Award at the Venice Film Festival, Italy (2006); the Bronze Muhr Award (Dubai, DIFF), UAE (2006); the Jury Prize at the (Busan, BISFF), South Korea (2012); the Golden Award at the (Tétouan, IFF), Morocco (2007); the Jury Award at the (Brisbane, BAPFF), Australia (2002); and Special Award (International Federation of Film Societies, IFSS), Switzerland (2002).
Al Beik’s recent film La Dolce Syria (2014) was screened at the 2015 Berlin International Film Festival.