BEIRUT: The 11th edition of the Lebanese Film Festival came to a close Tuesday evening with a sparkling awards ceremony at Metropolis Cinema-Sofil.
Founded by the film production company Né à Beyrouth, and managed since 2012 by Bande-à-part, LFF is under the direction of Sabyl Ghoussoub. The organizers boasted consistently full houses during the festival’s five days of projections.
The ceremony saw the competition jury – comprised of film directors Nadine Labaki and Hern?n Bel?n, playwright Charif Ghattas and journalist and critic Pierre Abi Saab – fete six films, one feature and five short and medium-length works.
The award for Best Fiction went to Zalfa Seurat for her film “Sporting Club.” The 26-minute short depicts the story of Alex, who’s celebrating her 60th birthday at a popular seaside resort. While she awaits her friends who will never arrive – and in particular Frank – she’s amused by her waiter Ali and Gina, a “Russian dancer” who has fled her pimp.
The jury awarded a special mention to Cyril Aris’ 14-minute fiction “Siham,” about a young couple who are anxiously awaiting the birth of their first child, until a routine ultrasound delivers disheartening news.
LFF’s Best Fiction prize is sponsored by Total Lebanon.
The Best Documentary prize was awarded to Zeina Daccache’s 80-minute “Scheherazade’s Diary.” Based on Daccache’s drama therapy-inspired stage play of the same name, it shows women inmates from Baabda Prison delving into their personal experiences of confronting patriarchy.
The Best Doc prize was sponsored by The Lebanese National Commission for UNESCO.
The prize for Best First Film was shared by two shorts. In Roy Dib’s 20-minute “Mondiale 2010,” a Lebanese couple take a road trip to Ramallah, a forbidden journey that one of the men chronicles on film.
Odette Makhlouf’s film “The Wall” is set in Mary’s house, where the narrator’s family and neighbors used to hide together during Lebanon’s Civil War because it had a reinforced concrete wall. Twenty years on, the wall is about to come down, unveiling the neighbors’ confessions and memories.
The Best First Film prize was sponsored by Gras Savoye Assurance.
The Best Experimental Film award went to “Incarnation of a Bird from an Oil Painting,” a collaboration of Omar Fakhoury and Roy Samaha. The film recounts a tale of a dinner party during which the spiritual leader Dr. Dahesh appeared to remove a living bird from an oil painting of a bird on a tree branch, leaving a patch of blank canvas behind. The bird was placed in a cage and remained there for several years.
The Best Experimental Film prize was sponsored by Artheum.
Following the closing ceremony was a projection of “Par le regard des mères,” “Vol libre au Liban” and “Beyrouth de pierre et de mémoire,” three out-of-competition films by Lebanon’s Philippe Aractinji.