Projects   >   WELCOME TO BEIRUT



Authorship: Diego Hurtado de Mendoza

"Welcome to Beirut" chronicles the rebirth of a war-torn film festival in Lebanon. Shot during the last weeks before the 2008 Beirut International Film Festival (BIFF), the film captures the effects of war on lebanese filmmakers. Using a very vibrant style the documentary mixes genres to show how the border between fiction and reality in Beirut is as thin as it is between life and death.

I landed in Beirut in mid-October 2008 just a couple of weeks before the opening ceremony of the Beirut International Film Festival.
My task was to document the rebirth of the film festival after a year of absence due to the extremely tense situation in Beirut.
In 2007 the festival had not happened because Hezbollah had set up a tent city in downtown Beirut that had paralyzed the whole town. They were pushing to force the resignation of Prime Minister Siniora and many considered the situation a coup d'etat and feared another civil war. In such a scenario could the festival effectively get back on its feet?
 I chose to follow the lives of a number of filmmakers that took part in the festival, either by being part of the jury or by presenting their films there. Their personal experiences, the story of their country and of their own films all mix up to create a visual travel guide of one of the most vibrant cities in the world.
Beirut is a place populated by characters that have come to accept that life might end up tomorrow and live their everyday life with a passion and energy that is truly unique.
The work of these filmmakers, showcased by the Beirut International Film Festival, rings an alarm on the mistakes of the past and creates possible scenarios for a better tomorrow.

Directed by the Fabrica filmmaker Diego Hurtado de Mendoza

Produced by Fabrica 2009

In competition at Tarragona International Film Festival and Beirut Film Festival.




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