Lebanese filmmaker Khalil Zaarour will be releasing scenes of his feature film, “Nour”, at the Fondation Liban Cinema Rough Cuts Screening of this year’s Cannes Film Festival.

“Nour” tells the story of a 15-year old relishing the carefree summer days with her friends in a remote Lebanese village. In an unexpected turn of events, Nour’s parents arrange for her to marry Maurice, a wealthy villager. Overnight, she is forced to take up conventional wife duties and bury her childhood dreams. In a last attempt at a life, Nour decides to elude her fate by escaping with Wassim, her childhood love.

We spoke with “Nour” director and producer Zaarour to get to know a little bit more about the film.

What inspired you to write “Nour”?

My main concern as filmmaker is tackling real life issues – particularly human rights and women’s rights. Producer and co-writer Elissa Ayoub and I met over 50 women who were married at a very young age, and we started to write the screenplay of “Nour” based on their many true stories. With our dramatic adaptation, we managed to finish a full fiction feature script.

Tell us about the cast.

We held a lot of auditions for the main role of “Nour”, until Elissa discovered Vanessa Ayoub, who was a perfect match. In the secondary roles, we have: Julia Kassar, Aida Sabra, Yvonne Maalouf and Nibal Aracji.

Who financed it?

I had the support of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Beirut, The Canadian Embassy, Skillz Beirut, some friends and I’m still looking for grants and funds, which is why we created a crowdfunding campaign.

How did you get to Cannes?

Fondation Liban Cinema knew that I was working on a feature and asked for a 20 minute rough-cut, which was submitted to the panel. Thankfully, it was selected to be screened there.

What are you expecting to gain from Rough Cuts?

Exposure. Possibly co-production and distribution.

“Nour” will be screened on May 21st, 5.30 PM at the Palais H – Film Market.