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Lebanon forges film commission

Ministries of culture, tourism team on pics

Lebanese film execs are taking their first steps toward setting up a film commission.

In a country better-known for its fractious political system, the government’s ministries of culture and tourism are coming together to promote Lebanon as a potential film destination.

The Lebanese Tourist Board of Paris is launching an initiative dubbed “At 35mm From Beirut” with a view to building relations between Lebanese and international producers. The program will fly international film execs to Lebanon later this year to familiarize them with locations and local film talent.

“It’s a first step toward setting up a commission,” said project director Serge Akl. “We used to make 20 films a year in the 1960s and now we make four to five films a year. We need to organize ourselves. We already have good film schools and a lot of talented young directors so now we need to invest in our framework.”

Though the Lebanese film biz is enjoying something of a renaissance with filmmakers like Nadine Labaki, Philippe Aractingi and Chadi Zeneddine gaining international recognition, their efforts have often been in spite of rather than because of government support.