Arab distributor MAD Solutions has taken world sales on Lebanese director Myriam El-Hajj’s timely feature documentary “Diaries From Lebanon” ahead of its upcoming premiere in the Berlinale’s Panorama section.
El-Hajj’s new doc features three characters from different generations who are looking for their place in Lebanon, a country “haunted by a past that continues to pollute the present,” as the doc’s synopsis puts it.
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The protagonists, named Georges, Joumana and Perla Joe, have different perspectives on whether to change Lebanon’s dismal national narrative “through war, politics or revolution,” the description continues.
But as Lebanon’s ongoing mayhem prompts personal quests for meaning and survival, they are all confronted with the same basic question: “Is it possible to sustain our dream in the face of a crumbling world around us?”
El-Hajj’s previous doc “A Time to Rest” examined Lebanon’s Civil War and premiered at Switzerland’s Visions du Réel festival. Besides being a director, she is an academic and a founding member of Rawiyat-Sisters in Film, a collective of female filmmakers from the Arab world and its diaspora.
“‘Diaries From Lebanon’ has been a seven-year voyage, both intimate and political,” El-Hajj said in a statement. “We are happy to finally be able to share this story in tandem with MAD Solutions, our Arab and world sales partner who accompanied us from early on with lots of attention and sensitivity.”
“Diaries From Lebanon” is produced by Myriam Sassine of prominent Beirut-based shingle Abbout Productions (“Costa Brava Lebanon”) and Carine Ruszniewski of France’s GOGOGO Films with support from France’s CNC, Qatar’s Doha Film Institute, Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Fund and Morocco’s Atlas Workshops, among other entities.
Commented MAD Solutions co-founders Alaa Karkouti and Maher Diab, “‘Diaries From Lebanon’ shows countless moments of beauty amidst the struggle. We are proud to have acquired this film for world sales and couldn’t be more excited to bring it to audiences around the globe.”
MAD Solutions in 2023 moved from being a top local distributor into world sales of Arab movies at Cannes with Sudanese director Mohamed Kordofani’s “Goodbye Julia,” which it has now sold to more than 15 territories. Other titles on their world sales slate include Ahd Kamel’s Saudi drama “My Driver and I”; Laila Abbas’ Palestinian first feature “Thank You for Banking With Us”; and Tunisian director Nada Mezni Hafaiedh’s debut”Take My Breath,” which premiered at the Warsaw Film Festival last fall.
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