I personally wish to welcome you to our fifth edition of the Lebanese Film Festival. To this point, I am proud of the fact that we have entertained over 5,800 persons with the screening of over 100 films from across the world. The Lebanese Film Festival has captured the imaginations of many. As we head into this mileston edition, we hope to continue to enchant and challenge audiences, a journey which I hope you can be a part of.
The film selection for 2016 is one that demonstrates the broad cross section that is Lebanese cinema and its ongoing growth and development. Our films include student short films, which show strong promise in the future of Lebanon's film industry, as well as films by more established film makers Mai Masri, who used Lebanon to film her widely aclaimed film, 3000 Nights.
The broad spectrum of entries is a reflection of the diversity of Lebanese cinema and the many perspectives through which the tiny nation of Lebanon and it's larger than life diaspora can be seen. It is heartwarming to see that Lebanon's film industry continus to flourish amid the countries ongoing economic and political paralysis.
The ranges of films to be screened go from comedy shorts, to insightful documentaries and comic feature films. Features such as 'Halal Love’ show Lebanon's film industry is a mature yet truley unique one that pushes the boundaries of film making and story telling. Also back by popular demand is the animation film, ‘Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet’ directed by Roger Allers (The Lion King) and Mohammad Saeed Harib and starring some of Hollywood’s greatest talent Salma Hayek, Liam Neeson and John Kransinski. We have had ongoing requests throughout the year to rescreen this work.
As always, the line up of documentaries will continue to provide great insight into Lebanese issues. Films such as 'Home Sweet Home' and 'A Story of Emigration' highlight the highly internationalised Lebanese population and their experiences and connections to Lebanon when balanced with life abroad.
Furthermore, the shorts produced by both young and more established filmmakers continue to showcase the creativity and talent of Lebanon's future film makers.
We have an amazing year ahead, with the Sydney component of the Festival promising to offer a range of events and an unforgettable festival experience. We also anticipate taking the Festival beyond Sydney to ensure the best of Lebanese stories can be seen across Australia.
This year, my co-director Jessica Khoury visited Lebanon and Cannes, and once again, we've been blown away with the commitment and growth in Lebanese cinema. Amid challenging circumstances for artists and film makers, Lebanon continues to produce film that entertains, informs and communicates the many stories and experiences of this tiny nation.
I invite you to take up the journey this year and join is for another great program of Lebanese cinema.
Lebanese Film Festival