Made in Beirut: Syrians produce drama in Lebanon
A scene from the movie 'The Lover' (Photo courtesy of al-Akhbar)
Click here to add Abdel-Hadi al-Sabbagh as an alert
Disable alert for Abdel-Hadi al-Sabbagh,
Click here to add Aleppo as an alert
Disable alert for Aleppo,
Click here to add Ayham al-Agha as an alert
Disable alert for Ayham al-Agha,
Click here to add Bassem Mughniyeh as an alert
Disable alert for Bassem Mughniyeh,
Click here to add Beirut as an alert
Disable alert for Beirut,
Click here to add Damascus as an alert
Disable alert for Damascus,
Click here to add Dima Kandalaft as an alert
Disable alert for Dima Kandalaft,
Click here to add Hazem Sule as an alert
Disable alert for Hazem Sule,
Click here to add Imad Najjar as an alert
Disable alert for Imad Najjar,
Click here to add Mohammad Khair al-Jarrah as an alert
Disable alert for Mohammad Khair al-Jarrah,
Click here to add Mohammed al-Rashi as an alert
Disable alert for Mohammed al-Rashi,
Click here to add Myriam Atallah as an alert
Disable alert for Myriam Atallah,
Click here to add Rafic Ali Ahmad as an alert
Disable alert for Rafic Ali Ahmad,
Click here to add Reem Ali as an alert
Disable alert for Reem Ali,
Click here to add Roula Dhibian as an alert
Disable alert for Roula Dhibian,
Click here to add Samar Sami as an alert
Disable alert for Samar Sami,
Click here to add Syrian government as an alert
Disable alert for Syrian government,
Click here to add Takla Chamoun as an alert
Disable alert for Takla Chamoun,
Click here to add Talal El Jurdi as an alert
Disable alert for Talal El Jurdi
While fighting continues to rage across Syria, closing in on the capital of Damascus, Syrian producers of television drama series are working hard to find alternative ways to deliver content to various Arab satellite stations. The Syrian television industry has grown so rapidly over the past few years that it employs a virtual army of Syrian actors, writers, directors, and technicians who depend on constant production for their livelihood.
Some production companies, such as Clacket Productions, are relocating their projects to Beirut.
Clacket is currently producing a comedy series written by Hazem Suleiman and directed by Osama al-Hamd that tells the story of two neighboring Syrian villages and the settling of a long list of scores to do with the Syrian presence in Lebanon.
Imad Najjar, a young Syrian writer and actor, has just put the finishing touches on a script for a series called Beautiful Illusions, a joint Syrian-Lebanese production that explores the complex relationship of the two countries and their people.
"The main plot centers around a young Syrian man called Jawad who comes from a village outside Aleppo,” Najjar told Al-Akhbar. “The series follows his story when the severe shortage of job opportunities compels him to travel to Beirut in 2002. The story revolves around several themes. It shows how his family in Aleppo live and reveals his relations with his friends, his mother, who is in Beirut, and his sweetheart.”
“All this goes on in the capital city that shows no mercy to those who arrive in it,” he said.
The series throws light on how the Syrians in Lebanon live and the racism they suffer at the hands of the Lebanese, some of whom try to take revenge on them for the mistakes of the Syrian government and army.
Najjar plans to direct the whole series, but first he is working on a pilot with a group of Syrian and Lebanese actors which he will use to sell the show.
The Syrian actors include Abdel-Hadi al-Sabbagh, Mohammad Hidaqi, Roula Dhibian, Reem Ali, Mohammad Khair al-Jarrah, Mohammed al-Rashi, Myriam Atallah, and Ayham al-Agha, while the Lebanese cast consists of Rafic Ali Ahmad, Talal El Jurdi, Bassem Mughniyeh, Takla Chamoun, and Marie Salameh.
According to Najjar, most of the actors listed above took part in the pilot. The role of Jawad was given to the Syrian actor, Mohammad Hidaqi. Najjar thinks that the Syrian actors Samar Sami and Dima Kandalaft might join the series.
Najjar maintains that he is still in negotiations with a Lebanese company over producing the series and that no final agreement has been reached. However, Al-Akhbar has discovered that New TV is hoping to produce it on the condition that they have exclusive rights to broadcast it next Ramadan.
So, despite the quagmire that Damascus seems to have fallen into, Syrian drama producers have created a window of hope.
By Wissam Kanaan
- Politics played into Beirut’s bummer summer, shows slowed down
- Cyrine vs Sulafa: Abdelnour and Mimar go head to head in latest rumors drama
- Friendly fire in Syria? It's a wrap for new TV drama
- Lebanon to pilot the country's first bike-sharing system in Beirut
- Ramadan shows coming from Syria are fewer in number and poorer in quality