The Lebanese Minister of Tourism Michel Pharaon is taking great strides to promote Lebanese cinema and to encourage foreign filmmakers to shoot in Lebanon at this year’s Cannes Film Festival along with the constant support of the Tourism Office of Lebanon in Paris, and its director Serge Akl.

The Cannes Film Festival has arranged for Minister Pharaon to meet with Isabelle Giordano, president of UniFrance Films – the organization in charge of promoting French cinema throughout the world – and Olivier Poivre-D’Arvor, president of France Culture. The three parties met to discuss the profound importance of culture in an environment with compromised security, like in the Middle East.

UniFrance provided insight into how Lebanon could develop a similar institution to assist local filmmakers, and the industry as a whole, in their production. In parallel, France Culture, facilitated a discussion about the necessity of valuing culture in a society attempting to launch its cinema industry.

Pharaon also approached the Jordanian and Turkish pavilions at Cannes to discuss their respective film sectors and how they went about organizing them on an institutional level. Turkey has recently expanded its efforts to boost its cinema and television industry, which has become Europe’s 7th largest theatrical market in the past years. Jordan’s Royal Film Commission aspires to boost its local cinema industry through multiple initiatives, which encourages both local and international producers to shoot their films in Jordan. Since the inception of the Film Commission in 2003, Jordan has served as a shooting location for more than 88 productions, the most popular of which include Marvel’s “The Avengers” and director Kathryn Bigelow’s “The Hurt Locker”.

For the past eleven years, the Tourism Office of Lebanon in Paris has financed the presence of the Lebanese pavilion at the Cannes Film Festival, as well as providing the means for Lebanese filmmakers to be able to attend and showcase their work at the festival each year. This edition, Serge Akl and his team from the Lebanese Tourism Office in Paris assisted in giving rising Lebanese filmmaker Ely Dagher exposure in Cannes, by organising press within the festival and a red carpet event for the Lebanese delegation to announce his film.

It’s apparent from Pharaon’s activities in Cannes that the Lebanese Ministry of Tourism is expanding its efforts to encourage the growth of Lebanese cinema. With the re-announcement of the financing initiative, IDAL, and the Ministry of Tourism’s latest endeavours, the future of Lebanese film looks more promising then ever.