Documentary film and photography

We promote dialogue and free expression through documentaries and photography

Documentary film has formed an integral part of IMS’ work to promote dialogue and freedom of expression in the Arab world and Iran since 2005.

Documentary film tells stories in a way that differs from most other media genres. A documentary is ‘a slice of life’, inviting viewers into a world of significance. Documentaries can provide historical records of events, big or small, investigate unknown territory or portray ordinary lives of people around the world through in-depth narrative storytelling. Documentaries are often a platform for alternative voices and views and portray tendencies and developments in society that are usually overlooked or more difficult to cover in mainstream media.

Facilitating the collaboration between film students, Arab, Iranian and Danish filmmakers is a key feature of our documentary film-making programme in the Arab world and Iran. Our work includes support for film productions, co-productions, film workshops, a film fund based in the IMS-supported Screen Institute Beirut, and support for documentary film festivals in Arab region and Denmark. Our documentary film programme is linked to Denmark’s strong tradition of documentary film-making.


A photojournalist’s job is to tell a story with pictures. The Internet, videophones and digital photography have created new opportunities for both amateur and professional photo journalists to share their pictures with the rest of world within seconds as documentation of historic events or works of art.

The availability of new media and technology has broken down barriers in many countries where photography has traditionally been viewed with suspicion. IMS conducts photo journalism courses which aim to empower reporters and citizen journalists to tell their stories through pictures, including  the legal and ethical elements of photo journalism. We support photo journalism festivals such as the annual Yangon Photo Festival in Myanmar and when circumstances have allowed it, we have organised the Cairo Photo Marathon.

What we do

Safety in journalism

We help journalists protect themselves and report professionally under pressure

Advocating media rights

We help bring attention to press freedom violations and advocate for change

Media law reform

We work for transparent and accountable media policy and regulatory frameworks

Professional associations and media centres

We support media and journalists’ associations, unions, and press councils

Media business development

We help media develop sustainable business plans and compete on the market

New media and technology

We work to safeguard the principles of independent and pluralistic media and Freedom of Expression online

Professionalising journalism

We work to improve the content and quality of media products