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Lebanon: Art, theatre group launches mobile film festival in response to pandemic

A Lebanese art and theatre have launched a mobile film festival to encourage artists,to be creative during the pandemic-related lockdown
A Lebanese art and theatre have launched a mobile film festival to encourage artists to be creative during the pandemic-related lockdown, 21 May 2020

A Lebanese art and theatre association has launched a mobile film festival to encourage artists, photographers and videographers to be creative during the pandemic-related lockdown.

The festival is set to feature a series of films, which are between two and five minutes long and have been shot entirely on mobile phone cameras, documenting the world in the creator's eyes.

The Tiro Association for Arts has received films from across the world, including submissions from Chile, America, Spain, Italy, Tunisia, Algeria and Palestine, co-founder of the association, Kassem Istanbouli told MEMO.

Some of the films, which are presented in a variety of languages, depict life during coronavirus, with many only featuring footage from indoors. Others, however, depict life three or four months ago, before COVID-19.

Submissions will be judged under the categories of best film, best filming and best idea, by members of association, taking into account viewing statistics, with voting potentially open to the public during the two days of screening.

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Normally the association runs a series of eight culture festivals, including a short film event, which are screened in a the Istanbouli Theatre in the southern Lebanese city of Tyre.

This year, however, the festival has been forced to go online as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and has taken on a new mobile form in efforts to encourage everyone, including those with limited resources, to get involved.

Istanbouli told MEMO, the group took their other work, which includes teaching drawing, cinema and theatre, online at the start of the pandemic and experienced an upswing in interest.

One project, "Story from every home", involved people from all over the world videoing and sharing stories. Now, Istanbouli says, the project has become a mode for people to share the burden of the coronavirus lockdown.

We see that the people who send us stories from Italy and the people who send us stories from Lebanon or Jordan are the same because now we have shared the same things. In this period, we see we are all together, all the same, all searching for hope.

Istanbouli says the association hopes the film festival will have the same galvanising affect.

Submissions to the festival will be screened on the 20 and 21 June on the association's Facebook page and website.

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