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Shooting in Lebanon, Part II

Shooting in Lebanon, Part II

A lack of state funding in Lebanon has stifled diversity in moviemaking, but plucky independent initiatives have borne some fruit. Part II.


October 15, 2009 9:44 by

Promotion abroad also falls into private hands: since 2005, the Lebanese Cinema Foundation has presented Lebanese movies at Cannes. Perhaps a sign of more goodwill in the future is that the Ministry of Tourism now pays for the $50,000 rental of the pavilion. In 2007, eight Lebanese films made it to Cannes. Boulos hopes to promote Lebanese movies at the next Dubai Film Festival in December.

There’s a chance the government could implement a law demanding that TV stations broadcast and support local productions. “Until now, TV stations have not been interested in the type of [intellectual] films being produced, either for production or distribution,” de Freige says. “It’s a whole chain of players, both public and private, that need to join efforts at the right time: banks, insurance companies, writers, cinema schools, distributors, producers and even advertisers.”

Beirut may not be either Hollywood or Bollywood, but it is home to a cinematic creative force on the verge of making its mark. Sarraf says a young Lebanese director, Chadi Zeineddine, recently signed a deal with Disney to write and direct its first feature in Arabic. This is a sure sign that moviemaking with a Lebanese touch may be more profitable than many people thought.

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