Beirut to Embrace European Film Fest
The 8th European Film Festival to be held in Beirut between December 6-13, will give Lebanese film-fans the opportunity to see some of the most recent European productions, according to The Daily Star.
The event is organized by the European Commission, several European embassies and the Culture Ministry.
“The annual event was a true exchange of cultures,” the daily quoted the European Union ambassador to Lebanon, Patrick Renauld, as saying.
Renauld, flanked by the European delegation’s information officer, Bushra Shahin and Ghassan Abu Shaqra, the Culture Ministry’s cinema coordinator, unveiled this year’s festival at a news conference Thursday.
Screenings will begin with Belgium’s Pleure Pas Germaine (Don’t Cry Germaine), while the second night will feature Michael Haneke’s Le Pianiste winner of the jury prize at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. The United Kingdom will be represented by Michael Thraves’ The Low Down and This Filthy Earth by Andrew Kotting.
The only Lebanese feature on the program is Assad Fouladkar’s Lamma Hikyit Maryam, (When Maryam Spoke).
The festival will also host two guest directors, Christian Carion from France presenting his feature A Swallow Made Spring, and Holland’s Karim Traida, presenting Truth Tellers.
The festival will also feature 18 Lebanese short films all student productions from the country’s six leading film schools, Saint Joseph University, l’Academie Libanaise de Beaux-Arts, Lebanese American University, Notre Dame University, Lebanese University and Kaslik Holy Spirit University.
One of the shorts will be awarded a prize of 1500 euros ($1320). This is the first time there has been a competition component in the festival.
“The prize is very much symbolic,” Renauld said. “But it was created with the intention of encouraging and stimulating young Lebanese producers rather than judging their work.”
The film selection, according to Renauld, was meant to cover different European currents and cultures. “They’re a sample of European society as witnessed by film makers,” he said.
He said that the films would not be subject to censorship. “We’re lucky enough to be enjoying a sort of extra-territoriality which guarantees that our films won’t be touched,” he said.
“Certain aspects of our European society might be shocking, but still, they mustn’t be stamped out.” – Albawaba.com
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