Things may be shaky back in Lebanon, but Berlin is proving surprisingly fruitful for the country’s film execs.
Execs from Beirut D.C., a local film collective, are in town to promote the beleaguered country’s film biz as part of Med-Screen, a program financed by the European Commission.
Beirut D.C. is repping a number of Lebanese and Arab features to buyers and fests, and their efforts are garnering attention from some unlikely places.
“We’ve had a buyer approach us on behalf of a client in Japan. He’s interested not just in the films we have here but in our back catalog, too,” said Hania Mroue, one of the founding members of D.C.
Selection of seven films include Lebanese helmer Ghassan Salhab’s “The Last Man,” about a vampire in modern-day Beirut, Mai Masri’s “Beirut Diaries” and Wael Noureddine’s “July Trip.”
Mroue has also been busy meeting with sales agents and distributors in her attempts to get Metropolis, Beirut’s first arthouse theater, up and running again, which was disrupted by the war last summer.
“The distributors wanted to charge us two or three times as much for each print,” she said. “What if I bring the film but then I can’t screen it because of the situation?”
Mroue has inked a deal here for Hou Hsaio-Hsien’s “Three Times” and expects to announce news of further deals by the end of the fest.
Her determination is mirrored across the Lebanese production sector, with more features being shot than ever before, a feat all the more remarkable given the country is teetering on the brink of civil war.
Among the upcoming projects are Chadi Zeneddine’s “Waiting for Beirut,” Nadine Labaki’s “Caramel,” Danielle Arbid’s “Un Homme Perdu” as well as features from Salhab, Philippe Aractingi and Dima Al-Horr.