Category Archives: Movies & Television

Zoomaal’s Must See Film Challenge

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Zoomal is kicking off a challenge called “The Must See Film” to empower the film scene in the Arab world. This initiative aims at given an opportunity to filmmakers in the Middle East to present their project and get 1$ from Zoomal for every 1$ pledged by a funder. The rules are simple and explained below:

Geographical focus: Films must be directed by Arab filmmakers. We encourage everyone from the region to apply
Impact: The project needs to be innovative and/or pioneering. Where unique stories from the Arab World are highlighted. Stories that are told in ways beyond the traditional feature film are encouraged to apply.
Up to $25,000: Only projects that require a maximum budget of $25,000 will be allowed to apply in the challenge.
Not Zoomaal Prohibited: project must pass Zoomaal’s screening criteria that ban charity, religious, political, alcohol, adult, and tobacco projects, while focusing primarily on creative and sustainable development projects in the Arab world.

Based on previous challenges, matched funded challenges get 5 times more funding than normal sponsorships so this is a unique opportunity for all film makers to present their project and maybe get the needed money to finish their movie.

Check out more details [Here].

Is This What Beirut Will Be Like In 2050?

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I am surprised I’ve never heard of Darine Hotait before. She has 3 short films such as ‘Beirut Hide and Seek’, ‘The Far Side of Laughter’ and ‘Command or Truth’ that were officially selected and awarded at international film festivals. She was also a finalist for an Emmy award in 2012 for directing the animated video of ‘Ashur’.

I am going to download “Beirut Hide and Seek” and watch it as it looks like an interesting movie. As for Orb, it’s a science-fiction movie that Hotait is working on. Here’s what she had to say about it:

“My Beirut in 2050 is a place that gathers two kinds of human beings: the perfected ones and the brain dead ones. There is no place for a third kind. And if there is a third kind they are immediately killed.”

“The interesting thing is”, and with that Darine Hotait concluded our conversation, “that Beirut 2050 is not very different from Beirut 2014. More people are looking for perfection through continuous services that are being offered. More people are becoming brain dead due to the lack of freedom of thought. Consciousness is buried under the dramatized empire of capitalism.”

You can read more about it [Here] and support it [Here].

Youssef Nassar’s The Exhibition Banned In Lebanon

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The General Security has apparently banned The Exhibition by Youssef Nassar, which is a short movie that was showing at the Cabriolet Film Festival in Beirut. The reason is that there are topless Lebanese girls in the 10 minutes long movie.

Here’s what Youssef said:

Just came back from Vienna, what a beautiful city, the culture, the people, it’s just so perfect. Well here I am back in Beirut, I turn my cellphone on, loads of messages about the screening of Cabriolet Festival tonight at Gemmayze. Well, apparently the General Security in Lebanon banned my film to be screened in Lebanon for good. I’m glad The Cabriolet team is being supportive in that matter. It’s 2014 already.. time for a change I guess

I will never understand how censorship works in Lebanon to be honest. So what if there are topless girls or some nudity scenes? Do you really think the American series all the Lebanese watch don’t include nudity and sex scenes? Make the movie suitable for those above 18 and give the people the choice to watch whatever they want!

Review: Godzilla 2014

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I am not a hard core Godzilla fan but I enjoy monster films and I was looking forward to watching an action-packed movie with cool effects and in 3D. Unfortunately though, I almost got bored half-way through Godzilla and lost interest in the other half. The story takes time to pick up, the action scenes were pretty cool but weren’t that numerous and were cut out sometimes for no reason and there’s a lot of focus on the human element. For example, you see the two monsters fighting for few seconds then we move to another scene and are shown the damaged and leveled buildings afterwards. Add to that a lot of cheesy and unnecessary scenes.

Moreover, I didn’t understand what was going on with Godzilla at some point, as he looked like he was napping a couple of times before resuming his fights and then does something unexpected and left unexplained (I won’t say more). As far as the actors are concerned, Bryan Cranston’s acting was brilliant but I wasn’t too impressed with the other characters. Added to that, I thought the movie was too long just like most 3D movies this year. It’s as if movie makers insist on adding a good 20 or 30 minutes of pointless and stupid nice looking 3D scenes (not even action scenes) just to make use of the technology.

All in all, I am quite surprised the movie got a 7.6 on IMDb. I’d give it a 6 or 5 tops.

Burj el Murr: Tower of Bitterness

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Burj el Murr was built in the 1970s yet has only been used as a sniper hideout during the Lebanese Civil War. After reading about the Holiday Inn hotel being auctioned off soon, I tried looking for updates on the Burj el Murr but found none. Instead I ended up on this dark 11 minute video done by Lina Ghaibeh on the Burj.

PS: Just ignore the warning and watch it on VIMEO.