BEIRUT: Earlier this week, the Beirut International Women’s Film Festival rolled-out the red carpet and opened its doors for the Opening Ceremony at the Casino du Liban, and ushered the beginning of the festival’s second edition.
The ceremony’s main event was the honoring of legendary Lebanese actress Wafaa Tarabay, a woman of great talent, with a memorable mark on Lebanese cinema, television and theater industries.
The event was visited by many celebrities, respected ministers, and members of the film, television, and theater industries - from producers, actors, and directors, all who gathered to commemorate this grandiose affair.
This edition also announced the launching of the Beirut International Children and Family Film Festival, which will focus on expanding and educating the younger generation in regards to the power that cinema holds.
The celebration, which was presented by the actress Elsa Zogheib, started with the Lebanese national anthem, a musical segment with classical vocalist Layal Neemeh, who sang a series of nostalgic Lebanese songs.
This was then followed by a speech by the Chairperson of the Board of Trustees, Mona Farid Al Khazen, and a poem by Professor Suhail Mattar Al-Manbar dedicated to his unrequited love affair with the honored guest, Wafaa Tarabay.
The Chairperson spoke in her speech about the magic of cinema, describing it as a journey to other worlds as we, the audience follow the story and interact with it. She then focused her speech on the issues of women in the industry.
“The Beirut International Film Festival of women is not a festival about racial discrimination nor an attempt to prove femininity or the role of women, but simply to confirm the beauty of women as shown by the camera,” she stressed.
The founder and director of the festival Sam Lahoud thanked the team for their dedication and praised the support of all the festivals partners. He emphasized that cinema carries values, traditions, ideas and cultures and shares them with all the peoples of the world, and that is why it must be protected.
“Both festivals that we are hosting are seeking to achieve a set of goals that will contribute to one of Beirut Film Society's missions, which is to support a responsible film industry that engages in dialogue on humanitarian, national and environmental issues, and human-related issues as a whole… and since women's rights and children's rights are at the heart of human rights, then we must do our best to encourage the films and filmmakers presented during the festivals,” Lahoud spoke during his speech.
A short documentary about Wafa Tarabieh's career and its highlights was then screened.
Towards the end of the processions, the much-loved Lebanese actress Wafaa Tarabay was invited onto the stage and gifted with a golden statue in the shape of “Tanit” the Phoenician goddess, as well as traditional Lebanese garb.
The festival will continue until March 15th, at Grand Cinemas in ABC Dbayeh with a multitude of international and national films, a special screening of "Girls for Change" and panel discussions session on the daily challenges that exist for women in cinema.
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