After winning the Palme d’Or in the this year’s Cannes Film Festival Short Film Competition, Ely Dagher is premiering Waves ’98 in Beirut’s most popular independent cinema, Metropolis.
Organised with the help of the Lebanese Minister of Tourism, the Tourism Office of Lebanon in Paris, and Metropolis Cinema, Waves ’98 will be premiering in Lebanon on Monday, July 20th, to the public. In light of his recent success at Cannes and abroad, we sat with Ely to discuss the venue for his premiere in Lebanon.
How has winning the Palme d’Or impacted you?The most important thing that came after winning the Palme d’Or was the opening of the market and the industry to me. I worked mainly on my own on Waves ’98, and I don’t have any classical cinema training or background in the industry. So winning the award allowed me to meet with producers, distributors, and it opened the bigger and wider cinema world.
Did you sell Waves ’98?I’ve signed with a distribution company and sales agent. I took the time during the festival in Cannes to meet with different sales agents, and ended up signing with Premium Films (Jean-Charles Mille), a French company that specializes in short films and, recently, feature films. They’re mainly focused on working with TVs, theatricals, and, hopefully, my film!
Tell us about how the Metropolis premiere happened.For the Metropolis screening, I met a few of the [Metropolis] board members during the Cannes Film Festival, and we discussed the possibilities of eventually showing the film in their cinemas. Because of Metropolis’ position in the Lebanese cinema industry, we felt like my film would fit in their programs. So eventually, we started talking about organizing a projection within the Semaine de la Critique rerun that they have. That’s happening on Monday with the help of the Ministry of Tourism.
Are you considering a wider distribution in Lebanon?I’d love to redistribute the film widely in Lebanon. It’s a bit more complicated at the moment, since it’s a short film. Theatrically, you can’t play it on its own; it has to be played with a feature film, so it takes a bit of time to find an adequate feature film and cinema. But I’d love to show it to a wider Lebanese audience.
What was your mindset when creating Waves ’98? What do you hope to give to your audience?Initially, when I started working on the film, it was out of a personal need to deal with some questions and issues I had with myself regarding my relationship with Beirut and living in Lebanon in general. But as the project evolved, I guess the biggest thing I wanted to achieve from the movie was to share my concerns with people, and to get them to ask the same questions, and – more importantly – revisit the same questions and find their own answers.