Yesterday was the second day at the festival and we’re settling into the surroundings. The greatest part of the festival is actually something you don’t see in television because it’s a real marketplace. People discuss ideas and everyone’s looking to either buy or sell films. There’s a lot of nitty gritty that happens behind the scenes.
There’s a steady stream of Lebanese filmmakers getting into town and their first stop is checking in at the Lebanese Pavilion. Joe Bou Eid, whose film Tannoura Maxi hit Lebanese cinemas a fortnight ago, stopped by to say hey.

Another young and promising filmmaker, Celine Wafa Halawi, is in town to find funding for her film Cello, which looks like it’s going to be one of the great Lebanese films. She stopped by to have a chat and discuss how she can go about getting partners for her production.

Like any conference or fair, you get a lot of people who just come by grab leaflet or a nugget of information. We got asked questions about filming conditions in Baalbeck by an interesting short movie maker from Portugal who seems convinced that it wasn’t built by the Romans. When asked if he thought aliens had built it, he said there were lots of valid theories. Fun times. Another filmmaker from England wanted to know if there were still neighbourhoods that looked a bit decrepit that could stand in for Gaza as a film set. We said that sadly there were plenty and that people coming and filming in Lebanon is one of the solutions to boosting the country’s economy.

Later in the evening, Serge Akl, the Director of the Lebanese Tourism Office in Paris, headed to the airport to greet Gaby Layoun, the Lebanese Culture Minister who had just gotten into town, ahead of today’s reception on the Lebanese pavilion.

by Nasri Atallah