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The Joy of Beirut
International production house Joy Films has great expectations as it officially launches in Lebanon.
June 29, 2009 3:20 by Nathalie Bontems
Production house Joy Films officially opens its first branch in Lebanon in June, homed in a beautiful traditional house in the Gemmayzé quarter of Beirut. The company, based in the UK, with offices in the US and Dubai, differs from most production houses in that it is director-based. That is, it is director-owned and uses a pool of freelance producers; most houses work the other way round.
The Joy Films Middle East plan is a simple one: the company will be split between a main operation in Lebanon, and the Dubai office. The Lebanon branch will include research and media, with film and photography production work organized through outsourcing and freelancers; the Dubai office will retain client servicing and limited production facilities.
“When we started in Dubai [in October 2008] many agencies and production people asked why not in Lebanon,” says Ali Azarmi, managing partner. “We had Lebanon on our radar, as well as India later on, but Dubai is where most headquarters of clients are based and it was important to be close to immediate contacts.”
The Lebanon lure. Joy Films was considering a relocation to Studio City in Dubai when Lebanese executive producer Rita Hachem was recruited in early 2009. She’s the one who put Lebanon firmly on the drawing board instead, and she will now supervise both the Dubai and Beirut operations. Hachem says it was the global downturn that provided the final push to her plan – one that was always in the back of her mind.
“Recession is a very good time to start,” she says. “Such a revolution creates opportunities; our projections are not based on 2008, when everything was going up. We have geared ourselves very specifically.”
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