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Beirut Celebrates IDA in First Docuday Festival

By Betsy McLane

The First Beirut "DocuDays," took place September 28 through October 4 in the capitol of Lebanon. The festival was organized by Marcel and Mohammed Hashem of the Arab Company for Radio Television and Cinema, and was partly sponsored by the Eastman Kodak Company and Paris-based Capa Productions. It was named in honor of IDA’s own DocuDay, and IDA Executive Director Betsy McLane was honored as one of six international jurors who attended as guests of the festival.

The majority of the works shown at the festival were produced in Lebanon by Lebanese documentarians. Currently there are four colleges in Beirut offering courses in production, however, there is no film lab in the country. All of the works were shown at the festival in the video format and were screened in a commercial four-plex cinema that is housed in a shopping center at the new Marriott Hotel in Beirut.

Prizes were given in both student and professional categories. Student films capturing honors included Etc… by Rani Bitar, and Ahmad the Jap by Rabih Al Amin. Winners in the professional category included To You by Souraya Al Far, Living Icons, by Dimitri Khodr, A Story of Waiting by Mona Saaydoun, I Don’t Need Money by Emir Kreidieh, and Poetic Sensibility by Nirna Chbako.