'Dare'...Lebanon's Cabriolet Film Festival Kicks Off
In the open air, with social distancing measures in place, the Cabriolet Film Festival, which will screen short films from Lebanon and abroad, was launched on Friday. The Gemmayze Stairs near downtown Beirut, a heritage site, will host the festival, as is the case every year.
The program, which runs until Sunday, July 26, includes discussions and debates held between Lebanese directors, in which they tackle films, the value of cinema and its positive impact on the Lebanese people, and freedom of expression.
Ibrahim Samaha, the festival’s organizer, tells Asharq Al-Awsat: “In the 12th edition of the festival, about 40 short films, selected from the 600 films that had been submitted, will all be screened under the theme''Dare”.”
He points out that the festival attracts an audience from all social classes in Lebanon and adds: “This year, the edition bears the name of the Lebanese director George Khabbaz, as we wanted to honor his rich artistic journey and theatrical and cinematic works. We also host several Lebanese directors, including Valentina, Elie, Yara, Philip Abi Zaid, and others, in various panel discussions, always under the headline “Dare”.”
Explaining why this title was chosen for this edition, Samaha tells Asharq Al-Awsat: "We decided on this title last summer, as we see the festival as a catalyst for change. For daring is required of every person if we are to have our demands met and obtain our rights. Also, change begins with the individual himself, before coming back to include groups of people.”
The festival was inaugurated with the fantastical Swiss film Punchline. The first day of the festival, in which 16 short films ranging from one to 15 minutes were screened, was concluded with a film by the Danish director Mahdi Fleifel.
“Every night of the festival, which begins at eight in the evening and continues until eleven, we decided to screen a short film to open the show. It discusses the need to follow preventive measures to curtail the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. It is an educational film that raises awareness about the need to adhere to the required procedures and maintain social distancing. We also ask those attending the festival to wear a protective mask.”
One of the short films that will be shown today (25th of July) is the documentary Bashkimi United, directed by the Swiss director Las Lander. The Loop by Carlos Kyriakoz and another documentary, The Fear of Fire by Elie Fahd will also be screened; both are Lebanese.
On the last night of the festival (26th of January), My Daughter Yoshiko, an American movie, Oxygen, a Spanish movie, On the Other Side from the Netherlands, and "Iris Apres la Nuit" from Belgium will be screened.
Discussing the film that the festival will close with, Samaha says: “It is an Italian movie by Giuseppe Carlo. Parru pi tia tells the story of two fiances’ final moments of farewell following the girl’s family’s decision to immigrate from the Italian city of Palermo. The customs of love stories in the city require that the two lovers reclaim all the gifts they had given each other once they decide to separate. All 14 minutes of the film depict the warm and romantic events of this touching story.”