In 2012 Euromed hosted a round table on the Lebanese film industry and its productions. Although the Lebanon is reputed to be the second country for Arab cinema after Egypt, the films produced there are still struggling to get shown either locally or internationally. At that meeting Ghassan Abou Chacra, a film industry consultant to the Ministry of Culture and other participants were asked “How can we attract investors and access (or create) financial support; how can we revive the interest of the public powers and legislators in the need to make available for Lebanese films funding worthy of its reputation? What role can regional cooperation play in strengthening the capacities of a film industry in search of openings and new opportunities?”
This year, between April 24th and May 3rd, the Metropolis cinema and the Lebanese Tourist Office, in partnership with BLC Bank, have once again been hard at work on this question and put forward an original initiative: “Second Meeting: a journey across world cinema through Lebanese producers”. Antoine Khalife, co-initiator of the project, spoke to L’Orient Le Jour. For him, the aim of the festival’s programming is to “go for something bold and show what our producers have been able to do.”
The selection offered a wide range of films, including many classics, highlighting the role of Lebanese producers both in Arab cinema and the west. The Deuxième rencontre organised a retrospective in honour of Lebanese producers who have marked the film industry. So cinema-goers rediscovered classics of French cinema produced by Jean-Pierre Rassam, such as Robert Bresson’s “Lancelot du lac”, Godard’s “Tout va bien”, Maurice Pialat’s “Nous ne vieillirons pas ensemble”. But also those produced by Assia Dagher, Sylvio Tabet, Mario Kassar and many others. By opening the festival with Henry Barakat and closing it with Hasan al Sayfi, the Lebanese team wanted to acknowledge their neighbour and film partner, Egypt.
Sources: lorientlejour.com, metropoliscinema.net et eurmoedaudiovisuel.net