The main objective of “Beirut Animated-1st edition” was to focus on the new independently produced animated films that are rarely screened in Lebanon. Such films included the award winning films Sita Sings the Blues and Mary and Max (both of which won top awards at the Annecy and Berlin film festivals).
The animation in the Arab World was at the core of this first edition’s lineup. The public was able to discover several Arab and local shorts which premiered in Lebanon during the festival as well as Thread of Life, a Syrian film for children, considered to be one of the first animation features in the Arab World. In doing that, the festival served as a platform in which professional animators, students, emerging filmmakers and animation lovers met, discussed and shared their appreciation for the world of animation.
But the festival was not only about film screenings. Several parallel activities enriched the festival’s selection:
The screening of the Japanese animated TV series dubbed in Arabic was one of the festival’s hits. It brought back the audience into their early childhood with episodes of: Grendizer, Jazirat Al Kanz, AL Rajul Al Hadidi and Hayao Miyazaki’s Adnan wa Lina
Lebanese singer Sammy Clark, performer of the Arab version of Grendizer’s opening credits, gace a moving speech when he recalled the times when such series were successfully screened on the Lebanese TV channels.
A Carte blanche was given for the acclaimed Lebanese illustrator and animator Lena Merhej.
Adaptation from comics to animation was the theme of the presentation given by Samandal before the screening of Mind Game.
Vj sessions by Lebanese band LaboStrongsky.mov were the experimental section of the festival.
Closing night: a film and a rock concert
For the festival’s closing ceremony, experimental Lebanese rock group XƐFM gave a stunning performance of a soundrack the band has composed to accompany the screening of the first European animation film, The Adventures of Prince Achmed (1926).
Since no animation festival is complete without screenings for children, Beirut Animated dedicated two screenings for the Lebanese young audience with the Lebanese premiere of Ponyo, the latest feature by renowned Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki and Thread of Life by Syrian animator Razam Hijazi