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Cinema’s going outside the box for the second year running, as Beirut hosts the 2012 Outbox International Short Film Festival. Downtown’s Roman Baths will be transformed into an open-air cinema from 8pm-midnight on June 14-17, when the festival will run in collaboration with the Lebanese Ministry of Culture, Solidere and the Goethe-Institute.
The event begins on June 14 with an opening party organized by event planning group Jnoon, and 27 short film screenings from 16 countries, including Lebanon. German short films are the focus on June 16, with 8 screenings from Berlin and beyond. On the final night, a short concert will be held in tribute to director, actor and music composer Charlie Chaplin. A live band, directed by Scarlet Saad, will play a selection of film scores and other songs in a non-classical formation.
Following the closing ceremony, winning films – voted on by the audience, rather than a jury – will be announced. The winner of the Best Lebanese Director and the Best Foreign Director award will receive free scriptwriting consultancy for a feature film from the award-winning writing team at Cinephilia Productions, an independent production house based in Los Angeles and New York. Cinephilia Productions is also granting winners financial and fundraising consultancy for their films, and the possibility for co-production.
An exhibition will run in conjunction with the festival, a retrospective of original Lebanese and Arabic movie posters, and old Polish posters, contributed by the Polish Embassy in Lebanon.
This year’s festival sees several new partnerships that will fuel the promotion of Lebanese films abroad, including a collaboration with the Sydney-based Lebanese Film Festival, Outbox’s guest for this edition. ÉCU, Paris’ European Independent Film Festival, are members of the judging panel for Outbox 2012’s screen selections.
Beirut-based 109 Architects will heighten the transformation of the 2,000 year-old Roman Baths with an inspired installation and agency Leo Burnett is behind the festival’s advertising campaign.