Libya Movie Awards come to successful conclusion

After a seventh-month delay, it's a wrap for Libya’s first post-revolution film fest for young Libyan filmmakers

Events and Festivals, Libya

Libya Movie Awards come to successful conclusion

The Libya Movie Awards finally came to their conclusion in Tripoli last Saturday, some seven months after having been interrupted by a security scare last April, reports Libya Herald. Libya’s first post-revolution film festival for up-and-coming Libyan filmmakers was hastily cancelled last April on its second of three days after the hotel hosting the event, the Mahari Radisson-Blue, received a credible security threat.

Those who attended were able to see the eight films selected for the competition. These covered themes as varied as lost hope, street art, torture, the outbreak of the revolution and boxing. Revolution in Overall came second (but was Best Amateur Film) and Living the Dream won third place, while professional filmmaker Naziha Arebi’s Between the Ropes won the first prize overall.

As a winner of the festival that started last April, Arebi had already attended the Cannes Film Festival together with the winners of Euromed Audiovisual's MADE in MED short film competition last May.

Opening the festival's last day, director of the Italian Cultural Institute Rubens Piovano told the audience that he was impressed with the around 400 people who turned out to the initial event in April and equally impressed by the organisers’ ability to have collected over 80 films from all over the country: “Libya needs to put culture in the hands of its youth, not guns”, he said.

“Dreams do not come true by just dreaming," added minister of culture Habib Lamin. "They need hard work and self-development. Arts and culture will not be directed by the government anymore as innovation needs freedom, and we have freedom now. Your dreams are bigger than me and the ministry. They need more than a year. I expect that the next minister will have more opportunity and budgets to achieve. Ideas need time and budgets."

On the morning of the same day, the Euromed Audiovisual programme was invited to a round table with selected Libyan professionals to discuss needs and priorities of the film sector in Libya. Some 40 participants took part in the discussions. The debate was extremely passionate and gave a clear picture of the participant’s needs. 

There are virtually no production or distribution companies in the country. Filmmakers self-produce their works, whether short films or documentaries, as there is no financial support from the ministry of culture. There are several public broadcasters, but, according to several participants, the quality of their programmes is quite low. Public television does not commission any kind of works from the independent sector.

Before the revolution, there was one cinema operating, but now it is closed, for security reasons. The only possibility to go to a “cinema” is a film club that shows films on DVD twice a week.

“I’m frustrated because of the isolation we suffer,” declared a young participant. “We cannot get feedback on our works from professionals outside Libya. I would like to know what a foreign professional thinks of my films and learn from my errors. We really need to establish networks and contact with our neighbouring countries."

From the discussions, it was clearly stated that training is a real issue, in all disciplines, from production to scriptwriting or editing.

Several participants also expressed their wish to have support for the establishment of professional associations to start a dialogue with the authorities in a structured and constructive way.

The Libya Movie Awards were jointly organised by the EU delegation, the Italian Cultural Institute and the Libyan NGO 1Libya, and the organisers hope that the awards will now become an annual event.


Source: Libya Herald, Euromed Audiovisual

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