Despite the pandemic and cancellation of many summer cultural events, the Cabriolet Film Festival is determined to go ahead.
Taking place July 24-26, the 12th edition will once more climb the St. Nicholas Steps with a selection of 44 local and international short films – nonfiction and fiction, live action and animation – free of charge for viewers.
This year’s theme is “Dare,” with a selection of shorts that revolve around themes of bravery, truth-seeking, change and freedom.
“Sponsors are important but not everything is down to money. Even if we’ve cut costs, the team agreed we were going to go through with the festival no matter what,” festival founder Ibrahim Samaha told The Daily Star. “Lebanese directors have a lot to say and they need time to create, especially during these hard time, so it’s important to have this festival and let them know their work isn’t just going to sit in a drawer.”
The festival exchanges Lebanese films with 23 other events worldwide, projecting international films in return for the overseas festivals showing Lebanese titles.
“All the films are the creme de la creme of the massive selection we received and there is a lot of variety this year,” Samaha said. “The opening film is called ‘Punchline’ by Christophe M. Saber from Switzerland. It’s about two wannabe gangsters who can’t decide on the coolest thing to say before shooting a man.”
Other opening night highlights include “Ruins,” by Lebanon’s Valentina Khawand, about a women running from an arranged marriage. When her brother finds her and they drive back home, the siblings debate ideas of marriage, sexism and traditional values versus freedom of choice.
In terms of pandemic precaution measures, the festival will try as much as possible to advise viewers to act cautiously, bearing in mind the event is in a public space.
“We’ll be screening an awareness campaign on the screens about corona precautions but at the end of the day it’s a public space,” he said. “We’re going to provide more screens this year so people can space out more along the steps and hopefully everyone is going to be responsible.”