IDAL Improves the Lebanese Film Industry with the Help of UNDP
“We were able to gather a significant audience to our screening. We have definitely made new connections” and “we are now contacted by different film festivals that are interested” said Nadia Eliewat, a Lebanese producer who attended the Cannes Film Festival.
Nine of the brightest and best Lebanese film makers were given the chance to participate and represent their country in one of the most important international film festivals. These filmmakers successfully showcased their films with the aim for Lebanon to become a filming destination and a regional hub for the film industry.
One of the Investment Development Authority of Lebanon’s (IDAL) greatest contributions was to the media sector. In fact, for the 2nd consecutive year, IDAL in partnership with the Lebanese Tourism Office in Paris and Fondation Liban Cinema (FLC), continued its support of the Lebanese film industry in Cannes through the sponsoring of the Lebanese Pavilion, the screening of Lebanese movies at the Cannes Film Market and the participation of Lebanese Filmmakers in workshops held during the festival.
The participation of the Lebanese film makers in the Cannes film festival was made possible due to the financial budget that UNDP allocates to IDAL. As Mr. Nabil Itani stated, “Last year our presence was restrained, this year it was more audacious”.
This IDAL initiative was of great benefit to the Lebanese film industry. To begin with, workshops by experts were carried out in Cannes for film makers, producers and directors to provide the necessary training, practices and technologies needed to increase the quality of movies.
Moreover, Lebanese film makers had the chance to screen their movies in an international film festival, which provided them with the opportunity to reach the international market and to network with professional experts from the worldwide film industry. “Cannes is not only an international festival of cinema, but it is also a very important film market. It is therefore essential for the Lebanese film makers to participate and easily offer their work”, claimed Mr. Serge Akl, from the office of Lebanese tourism in Paris. Some buyers were also interested in completing the unfinished Lebanese movies.
“It is important to note that not all countries are represented in Cannes. It is therefore a double pride for Lebanon to assert its presence”, said Mr. Serge Akl. The success that this initiative experienced continues to encourage IDAL to promote Lebanese directors in participating in the international Cannes film festival, especially since three Lebanese movies were awarded for the first time at this festival.
Established in 1994, IDAL is the national investment promotion agency which aims to promote Lebanon as a key investment destination, by attracting and retaining investments in the country, and improving the business environment.
IDAL has been responsible for encouraging foreign and local investments through identifying those sectors with the potential and readiness for growth, but unfortunately lack the needed financial support from the government.
By 2003, a UNDP team section was in close partnership with IDAL in order to provide tactical, financial and advisory support for the implementation of its functions. UNDP has also helped in satisfying the shortage in IDAL staff and in its technical capacity.