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Beirut Intl. Film Festival

When: Oct. 1-8

Where: Beirut, Lebanon

Festival dir.: Colette Naufal

Web: beirutfilmfoundation.org

Set up in 1997 with the support of private coin, the Beirut Intl. Film Festival could finally become the glitzy, trouble-free event it has longed to be ever since its inaugural edition.

With a new president and government following months of political void and infighting between rival factions, fest director Colette Naufal is moving full steam ahead with her plans for this year’s event.

Last year’s festival had to be canceled because of the political situation; this year, the indomitable Naufal has already set Paolo Sorrentino’s “Il Divo” as opening night film. Sorrentino is expected to travel to Beirut for the preem.

Other fest highlights include the Coen brothers’ “Burn After Reading,” starring George Clooney and Brad Pitt.

The fest will also be holding its most extensive competish ever for Arab cinema, with films expected from across the region. “We’ve had films submitted for the first time from Saudi Arabia, Oman, the U.A.E.,” says Naufal. “It’s a real pleasure to include countries we’ve never had films from before. Also this year we finally have a president, a cabinet and everyone wants to keep quiet ahead of the planned parliamentary elections next year so we’re expecting this to be a good year.”

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