REEF 2020 – (Rural Encounters on Environment and Film) will take place this year

REEF  2020 – (Rural Encounters on Environment and Film) will take place this year in both virtual, and in the physical sphere through an in-person, socially-distanced event in the Bisri Valley.

From October 8th until October 21st

wadad hachichou / Beirout Lebanon

After the success of the first edition of REEF in 2019, we endeavored to overcome the challenges of 2020 and launch the second edition of REEF, in a new format, all the while exploring urgent issues from our actuality, including COVID-19, nature’s generosity in times of economic crisis, and the fight to save the Bisri Valley against the construction of a controversial dam.

We would have loved to launch REEF 2020 in the Kobayat’s Silk Factory and to hold open air screenings, conferences, and environmental activities and to start off the yearlong training “Eating From Nature” through a Foraging day.

However, the spread of COVID-19 in Kobayat has made any gathering impossible, pushing us to amend the festival’s path.

This year, REEF will take place between October 8th and October 21st, in both the virtual sphere on, and in the physical sphere through an in-person, socially-distanced event in the Bisri Valley.

Between the Pine trees of Bisri, we will hold a panel entitled “The Bisri Valley victory… What’s next?” where we will hear from the residents of the region, the legal and environmental experts as well as activists who struggled together to save and protect the valley. The debate will be followed by the screening of “The Land” by Mohammad Sabbah

We launched a Short Film Competition for films that deal with the pandemic’s impact on our life and on nature. Twenty films will be screened on aflamuna and an audience award will be decided by public vote. The online platform will also feature a series of films centered around three strands: Portraits of Rural LivesLand is Political, and Rethinking the World.

REEF: Rural Encounters on Environment and Film is the first festival in Lebanon and the Arab world dedicated to rural lives and their representations.

This event was born in Kobayat, Akkar, in the North of Lebanon. One of the most remote areas in Lebanon, this region is known as the multi-confessional and multi-ethnic home of more than 400,000 people. And yet, it remains, to this day, devoid of any film theatre or cinematic activity.

Through the screening of films from around the world, short film trainings and competitions, debates, and the discovery of the environmental resources and cultural heritage of Akkar, REEF harnesses the power of art and cinema to explore the diversity of this region and all that its rural culture has to offer.

REEF is organized by the Council of Environment of Kobayat, in partnership with the cultural association Beirut DC. Both partners strive for inclusion, access to culture and cinema as a driver for social and environmental change.


20 Short Films on COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing crisis pushed us all to re-think our entire perception of the world and, specifically, our relationship to the environment and to nature. We launched a competition for Lebanese youth and asked them to create short films translating their emotions and reflections on the crisis.

Twenty films were selected. A jury composed of singer Rima Khcheich, actress Carole Abboud and filmmaker Ahmad Ghossein will award two prizes and a third award will be granted by the public. Please vote for your favorite short on between 8th and 14th of October.

Portraits of Rural Lives:

In rural spaces across the world, in times of crisis, of economical struggle against neoliberalism and depletion of opportunities, in time of social and political struggle to anchor one’s existence and identity: Who leaves? Who stays? At what price?

From Lebanon, Algeria, Morocco, Palestine, Iran, Macedonia, France and Italy, come stories of unique rural women, men, children and elderly people who are defying everything and everyone, for the simple right to stay.

Land is Political

This week, as we celebrate the first anniversary of the October 17 uprising, we present to you a film program that highlights the political struggle for and through the Land. What battles are people leading to preserve their lands and fight for their rights? What have they achieved What have they lost?

From Lebanon, Palestine, Tunisia, Egypt, Sahara and Venezuela, we chose stories that portray groups of people challenging oppression and corruption to regain some justice and dignity in times of obscurity.

Rethinking the World

What are the economical, environmental and lifestyle alternatives at our disposal, as we strive for a better, more humane world?  Two films from Switzerland were chosen to inspire us re-imagining the world as we know it.

The Film list that will be available on AFLAMUNA (8-21 October):


20 short films on COVID 19  by 20 filmmakers/ Lebanon

Ard Bayye (My father’s land) by Muriel Abou’l Rouss/ Lebanon

Al Marj (The Land) by Mohammad Sabbah/ Lebanon

Mayyel Ya Ghzayyel (Those who remain)  by Eliane Raheb/ Lebanon

Roshmia by Selim Abu Jabal/ Palestine

 Moug (Waves) by Ahmed Nour/ Egypt

The Wanted 18 by Amer Shomali and Paul Cowan/ Palestine

Damn be the Phosphate by Sami Tlili/ Tunisia

Samir in the Dust by Mohamed Ouzine» / Algeria- France

Turtles do not die of Old Age by Sami Mermer and Hind Benchekroun/ Morocco

Hamada by Eloy Seren/ Spain- Sahara

Beloved by Yaser Talibi / Iran

Honeyland by Ljubomir Stefanov and Tamara Kotevska / Macedonia (To be confirmed)

Noci Sonanti by Damiano Giacomelli and Lorenzo Raponi / Italy

One upon a time in Venezuela by Anabel Rodriguez/ Venezuela

Demain Genève by Gregory Chollet and Elisabeth Fernandes / Switzerland

Frugale Nature by Carole Messmer/ Switzerland

Finally, we would like to thank our following partners for their continuous support:

Tripoli film festival, AFAC, Legal Agenda, The French institute in Lebanon, The Swiss embassy in Lebanon, Polish Aid, “Save the Bisri Valley” campaign

and the local TV of Kobeyat Citycable


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