Film enthusiasts enjoyed a second day of the 12th edition of the Beirut International Film Festival which kicked off Wednesday evening with the world-premiere screening of Lebanese film ‘Blind Intersections’ by director Lara Saba.
Organizers said this year’s edition is smaller because of the Arab Spring and the Syrian crisis which has affected film production in the region, but will still feature around a dozen feature films, and a number of documentaries and short films from approximately 30 countries.
“This year -- as you asked why (the number of films) has been reduced (in comparison to last year) -- it has only been a little reduced, we just lack ten or twelve feature films,” explained festival director Colette Naufal.
“But despite this, we still have a big number of feature films and what is different to before is that we have a lot of documentaries this year. It just happened this way because we received a lot (of documentaries,) especially about the Egyptian revolution,” said Naufal.
This year there will be no feature film competition but there are ones for documentaries and short films. This year's jury is made up by Lebanese film critic Emile Chahine and film producer Rita Dagher.
“The competition is smaller, we lost a number of feature films so we made the competition for documentaries and short movies, presided over by a small jury. What else? This year, there is something that reflects the situation we are living in, because whether we like it or not, the festival this year has become as if we are talking of the situation.”
‘Blind Intersections’ is the first feature film for Lebanese director Lara Saba who has been working the cinema field for years with films including ‘Passage’ (1997), ‘Cinécaravane’ (2003), ‘Beirut, Truth and Versions’ (2009) and ‘Zkak El Blat’ (2009).
“The film is great, it reminded me a little of the film ‘Babel’, it is also very pessimistic about Lebanese society, but it’s very good, bravo,” said movie-goer Nada al-Khoury, following the screening.
Bechara Atallah, actor and assistant director of ‘Blind Intersections’ said that although it is a smaller festival compared to previous years, it's a great achievement it’s taken place.
“This year, the Beirut International Film Festival, is maybe smaller than past editions but what is good is that the festival has continued. Even though the current situation in the region isn’t good, it’s great to have a cultural festival so we feel there is something helping this region to stand up again as it’s been hit a lot.”
The festival runs until October 11.