The Beirut Art Film Festival: Participating in the Revolt with Thought-Provoking Films

The Beirut Art Film Festival: Participating in the Revolt with Thought-Provoking Films

the cedar green trees with the mountains

The films featured at the Beirut Art Film Festival (BAFF) are not your average run-of-the-mill movies you see at your local cinema. They are carefully selected to offer audiences documentaries and films that are thought-provoking, educational and artistic. Founded by art gallery owner and art history teacher Alice Mogabgab Karam, the film festival is now in its fifth year.

The current BAFF kicked off Dec. 5, 2019. Since then, it has been holding screenings at various locations in Beirut with two weeks at the American University of Beirut (AUB), followed two weeks at the Académie Libanaise des Beaux-Arts (ALBA) and a week (Jan. 28 – 31) at Saint Joseph University (USJ).

Additional screenings are also being held in participating cultural centers: Dar El Nimr for Arts & Culture in Beirut, Municipality of Zahle Maalaka and Tanayel, ASSABIL Friends of Public Libraries Association in Beirut and Palmyra Hotel in Baalbeck.

The fifth week of screenings (Jan. 28 – 31) at USJ include the film La Bataille du Cèdre” by Laurent Sorcelle about a lifetime project of Lebanese people dedicated to save the iconic cedars tree forest of Becharé. Another screening is for “Mosques: Art & Space” by Antoine Flandrin, who takes viewers on a journey to the heart of six of the greatest jewels of sacred Islamic art. The week closes with “The Great Buster – A Celebration.” The film by Peter Bogdanovich celebrates the life of a true cinematic visionary, the American filmmaker and comedian Buster Keaton.

a mosque with light coming in from the windows

Like other scheduled cultural events in Lebanon this year, the BAFF team chose not to cancel due to the onset of the revolution and economic crisis. In a moving testimony, the organization released a statement about its decision to go on with the film festival: “It is indeed a hard launching of this BAFF – Edition V; no less hard than the difficult circumstances we are living through. However, it is our conviction and will to declare this launching as an integral part and determined participation in the revolt of Lebanese women and men, aiming at a better future for them and for their children.”

Soon Week 6 will unfold, marking the next phase of this year’s BAFF. The location and the featured films will be posted on the BAFF website. Screenings of subsequent weeks will also be announced on its website in due course.

All the films at BAFF are free of charge and there are no bookings (on a first-come-first-seated basis).