Thursday, August 23, 2012

DAILY STAR: "Lebanese Film Festival rides again"

August 22, 2012 
by Jim Quilty

BEIRUT: About a year ago, Pierre Sarraf and his colleagues at Né a Beyrouth decided it was time to put down the Lebanese Film Festival. Everyone has the privilege to change their minds.
The production company had good reasons to discontinue the festival, then on the brink of its tenth edition. In 2011, Sarraf told this journalist, the shape of the film festival landscape in Lebanon and the Middle East had changed a great deal since LFF was launched in 2001 (under the name “Né a Beyrouth”). With the number of festivals competing for Lebanese film premieres swelling, it was becoming ever harder to find new films for LFF.
Sarraf envisioned a new formula. Rather than devoting so much energy to a once-a-year festival, he and his colleagues imagined smaller events tailored to individual films.
Then this spring Metropolis, Beirut’s independent art house cinema, launched “Scrapbook,” a program that gave a bundle of recent critically acclaimed feature-length films Beirut premieres followed by theatrical release.
“When I saw that Metropolis had started” Scrapbook, Sarraf recalls. “I said, fine, let’s keep the festival and try to coordinate [with the cinema in] releasing films in this way.”

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