[vc_row][vc_column][vc_gallery type=”image_grid” images=”20316,20317,20318″ img_size=”176×150″][vc_empty_space][vc_column_text]Yesterday, the Lebanese delegation and representatives of the Mexican film industry participated in the MExico-Lebanon Bilateral Forum. The panel included: Georges Schoucair, CEO of Abbout Productions; Myriam Sassine, of Abbout Productions and member of Fundación Liban Cinema; Hania Mroue, CEO of Metropolis Art Cinema; Jana Wehbe, producer; Montserrat Sánchez Soler, Director of International PRojects and Events at IMCINE; José Miguel Álvarez, Director of Support for Filmmaking at IMCINE; José Nacif, producer at Ring Cine and Edher Campos, Producer at Machete Cine. The moderator was filmmaker Roberto Fiesco.
Two international co-production projects were presented in the first part. These are Todo lo que tenga futuro, introduced by director and screenwriter Laila Hotait, followed by Sangre libanesa, which featured its director and screenwriter Giselle Elías Karam, as well as Juan Pablo Bastarrachea, one of its producers. By the end of this presentation, the panel asked a series of questions.
Roberto Fiesco emphasized that an instrument of co-production must be developed between both countries, as well as the necessity to propitiate bigger encounters. The Lebanese panelists spoke of the landscape of cinema in their country, conditions and financing, distribution and the importance of networking to create collaboration webs and exhibition windows.
Monserrat Sánchez, Director of Special Events and Projects at IMCINE and José Miguel Álvarez, Director of Filmmaking Support in that same institution, shared relevant data for filmmaking in Mexico. They mentioned, for example, that 30% of the films made in 2017 were co-production with countries like Canada, France, Belgium, Spain, England, etc. This tendency has signaled growth in the industry.
She added that there are good stories and financing options in Mexico, particularly public funding. This is not the case in Lebanon, where a high percentage of filmmakers seek private sponsors or investors. However, in her words, “the pebble in the shoe” of the industry is distribution, for which she encouraged that the market and the exhibition windows need to be expanded.
Mexican producers José Nacif and Edher Campos touched upon several relevant points, such as public funds in Mexico (Foprocine, Fidecine and Eficine), the increase in co-production and the choices to achieve them in our country, their experiences and impressions.
Campos said that many collaborations with other countries have brought on opportunities for networking, such as film festivals. He spoke of a few barriers (like language) that get in the way of analysis and research before having a formal encounter with co-production to not limit it to the economic. Sharing locations, staff, technicians and the process of post-production are some possibilities that were brought to the table.
For her part, Jana Wehbe spoke of censorship in some films she’s worked on. Some of the panelists highlighted the importance of finding what the audience wants to see and if censorship is a barrier for creativity.
The audience present asked a few questions to different members of the panel. Roberto Fiesco offered a concluding message in which he highlighted the contributions of the Lebanese community in Mexico through figures such as Miguel Zacarías and Salma Hayek.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]