Tuesday, August 9, 2011

In: The Daily Star - Time to rethink the festival formula (Aug 4, 2011)

BEIRUT: Pierre Sarraf says the financial crisis did not kill Né a Beyrouth’s Lebanese Film Festival. The dodgy business practices that drove the juggernaut of deregulated global capital before 2008 may have had a crushing impact upon many states’ social welfare and arts funding programs, but it left Né a Beyrouth intact.

“Bank Audi [LFF’s official partner] had some major budget cutbacks,” Sarraf says. “They wanted to cut their participation but, during negotiations, they increased it a little from the original cut so it wasn’t so damaging.”

Festival director since LFF was launched in 2001 – under the name “Né a Beyrouth,” after the production company that created and ran it – Sarraf says that, the 2010 edition actually ran at a surplus.

“People … assume that that bank’s budget cuts are the reason we’re stopping,” he smiles. “Just like some other people will say, ‘Ah there’s a change of government! That’s why!’”

Since it was launched in 2001, the August event has opened Lebanon’s film festival season and come to fill a niche for Beirutis yearning to see their stories projected in air-conditioned comfort. LFF’s extinction is surprising, since its 2010 edition was more successful – in terms of box office receipts and film quality – than any other.

To read the full article: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/Culture/Film/2011/Aug-04/Time-to-rethink-the-festival-formula.ashx#axzz1U3jYjQD4

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