MENA region has declared (BlFF) Beirut International Film Festival to be the official film festival to submit your footage too. They have made it through turbulent times in Lebanon to make this establishment available to friends worldwide. They are keeping Hollywood on its toes lately with the quality that they encompass in the films viewed at their festivals. They have a history that is unlike many, it is a tough one that has a background of turmoil as the canvas. They have proven mighty by not being deterred and surging on despite this and have dominated the Lebanese region along with nations across Arab, European and American states in their span of 21 years.
Established in 1997, this film festival has seen more than its fair share of humble beginnings, this coming after it's postponement of having a festival in its much earlier years interrupted by the civil unrest in Lebanon. The films they were mostly showing at the time were politically driven, from terrorism to refugee. They have multitudes of categories to choose from lately. Having dominated the Middle East, that is ripe with budding talent in the film industry coming from its shores- nowadays they are taking over terrains Hollywood used to dominate on the global scale. Their movies have had major breakthroughs and won awards at the People's Choice Awards and Academy Awards. The first film showcases were held in huge tents. Fast forward 20 years, Metropolis, Empire Sofil, Achrafieh was the venue for the 17th edition of the film festival hosted over a hundred films in the eight days that it was active in Beirut.
The anticipation of prestigious actors and producers was infectious for the whole year round, they have hosted Hollywood's elite actors from Alec Baldwin to Sharon Stone -just to name a few of the many megastars that grace this festival. Legendary for throwing a great party, the Opening Night Gala featured an array of splendor when it came to ensuring a great celebration of the art of film. The ticket included interacting with the actors and welcoming the filmmakers on the red carpet as they got ready for the big night, this year's lucky guests had access to the best of both worlds the Lebanese festival had planned. After great performances both from the actors and the musicians, the night truly lived up to every bit of the hype. Food and beverages flowed in multitudes to keep the guests happy throughout the festivities of the show.
The featured film stars even had a live music show to keep people entertained as they danced away with their favorite actors in hand. They also hosted films, documentaries, short stories from around 25 countries in the world- with 25,000 guests showing up. Compare this to how it was in 1931, when movies had become so popular that a group of bewildered students decided to take matters into their own hands. They wanted movie ticket prices to be lowered so that the local films would have a fighting chance against popular Hollywood movies that were showing in the country. During the turbulent days back in the 1920’s, they had to be very careful where they met. They originally used to meet at the Crystal Cinema, and the rest is rather history at the origins of how the festival got going. It is not by chance that The Beirut Festival is taking over Hollywood and the global film industry. Their support of meaningful entertaining independent films and documentaries are about stories that unite people through the art of film. We surely can't wait for what the next Beirut Festival has in store for us all.
Beirut Film Foundation