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Cannes: Lebanon Moves to Boost Its Film Industry

Despite ongoing turbulence in the country and region, Lebanese government organizations are moving to boost the country’s film and TV industries with several initiatives, including introduction of incentives for both local and international productions.

The Foundation Liban Cinema has expanded its role as a local-industry driver in several ways, including an agreement with the Investment Development Authority of Lebanon (IDAL) to introduce tax incentives to support production and post-production of projects that invest at least $200,000 in the country and employ at least 25 locals. Specifics on the incentives are still sketchy.

The agreement is backed by the Central Bank of Lebanon.

Though the Lebanese film industry has deep roots, recent international feature film shoots are scarce, with one notable exception being French director Olivier Assayas’ “Carlos,” which was partly shot there. Commercials shoots in Lebanon are more frequent.

Lebanese feature films are absent from the Cannes official selection this year. But a Lebanese animated short,  “Waves ’98,” above, by young director Ely Dagher, made the cut for the shorts competition. It’s an exploration of Dagher’s current relationship with his home country, told through the story of a teenager disillusioned with his life in the segregated suburbs of Beirut.

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