1. HassJulien | Vine channel
The shorter the story, the harder it is to tell – and HassJulien, a cinephile and pianist (how cool), is a master of short storytelling. I have yet to come across any 6-second vine of his that isn’t funny. If not laugh-out-loud (which they usually are), his vines (in)appropriately poke fun of Lebanese social-economic issues, class issues, the economy and just plain annoying things that we live with. Others have tried and failed because they’re so heaving handed and self-aware – HassJulien is neither of those things, he’s just pure funny.
2. The Wanted 18 | Documentary
The Wanted 18 tells the story of a group of Palestinian citizens from the town of Beit Sahour during the first intifada. They legally purchased 18 cows and began the civil disobedience movement of boycotting Israeli products; starting with dairy. They were so successful, Israeli intelligence deemed them a threat and those cows became a symbol of resistance. A mixture of interviews, archive footage, and animation, this documentary takes storytelling to a whole new level.
3. Waves ’98 | Short animation
A special screening at Metropolis Sofil of Ely Dagher’s Cannes short-film winner was so popular, they had to open another screen to accommodate. There was a buzz of excitement as the screening began and a collective gasp of awe. Wow. Visually stunning animation. We see a young man who feels isolated in Beirut and deals with the loneliness by climbing into a large elephant, and then somehow getting out of the elephant as it floats above the city. After the screening, so many people had so many explanations about what the story literally meant and how much they loved it and understood it. All I could think was, just because something hangs in a museum, doesn’t make it good art and doesn’t make you a smarter or better person if you “get it.” With that said, I didn’t get it, from a story point of view, but I loved it. It resonated with me emotionally, and so, I stopped trying to rationalize it and let the film soak in.
4. Theeb | Feature film
This is the best movie I’ve seen in a long, long, long time. The best. I can’t say anything else. Adding it to this list is kind of a tease, sorry about that, because it’s really hard to find. Tweet to the film and search for it, but you might just have to wait until it makes its festival rounds and wins a bunch of well-deserved awards. It’s more than worth the wait.
Their imdb tagline reads:
In the Ottoman province of Hijaz during World War I, a young Bedouin boy experiences a greatly hastened coming of age as he embarks on a perilous desert journey to guide a British officer to his secret destination.
But it’s just so much more than that.
Watch the trailer:
5. Episodes | Series
A Showtime comedy series about two screenwriters who are asked to bring their British hit show to America. When they reach Hollywood, the industry swallows up their show and their personal lives and vomits out a disgusting version of each. Episodes is a hilarious look at the Hollywood culture as it makes fun of itself and its star, Matt LeBlanc (Joey!). Special soft spot: the lifestyle of being a writer is not romanticized, but so subtly placed, it feels real and relatable.
The trailer for season 1 is so appropriately “Hollywood”
Screenwriting & Filmmaking Workshops in Beirut, Lebanon