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The second edition of Maskoon Fantastic Film Festival will take place from September 13 to 17

August 31, 2017
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The second edition of Maskoon Fantastic Film Festival will take place from September 13 to 17

Maskoon Fantastic Film Festival takes place from September 13 to 17 at Metropolis Empire Sofil Cinema – Ashrafieh. The second edition of the Arab world’s first fantastic film festival distinguishes itself with a rich line up that features films about the politics of the Arab Spring, the refugee crisis and religious fundamentalism, all done with a genre flair. It also hosts international guests: actors, directors and producers who will present their films, masterclasses and be part of the jury for the Lebanese short film competition. The festival will close with a grand cine-concert featuring one of Italy’s most prominent film composers who will present with his band a live performance at the Music Hall – Starco.

Maskoon is organised by the film production house Abbout Productions in association with VOD platform Cinemoz, the organization Metropolis Cinema and the Lebanese Academy of Fine Arts, University of Balamand (ALBA).

 

Executive director Myriam Sassine said that she was pleasantly surprised by the success of the first edition “we were greeted with an overwhelmingly positive reception from film aficionados and industry personnel alike, affirming for us the need for this daring, highly atypical endeavor in Lebanon. All of these factors pushed us to develop Maskoon further and launch new initiatives for the second edition.”

Sassine also mentioned that “this year’s edition continues in the same vein, offering the best of genre cinema from all over the globe.” and insisted that “Maskoon will maintain its commitment to cultivate and promote genre film in the region by both showing and exploring the latest global trends and supporting aspiring filmmakers taking their first steps in this virgin universe. We ultimately hope to create a fitting setting for the regeneration of our local and regional cinemas.”

Artistic director Antoine Waked expressed that “it’s important to observe that three of the films in this year’s selection tackle hot-button topics directly related to the Middle East, be it the politics of post-Arab Spring, the refugee crisis or religious fundamentalism. These films have ventured to use the genre framework to reflect on today’s world in a subtle, clever fashion; highlighting in the process the meaty predicaments and challenges facing the region.”

The selection and the guests

 

Maskoon opens its second edition with the powerful Swedish film, The Nile Hilton Incident by Swedish Egyptian filmmaker Tarik Saleh, the film won the Grand Jury Prize for World Cinema Dramatic at the Sundance festival. It’s a film noir set in Egypt during the beginning of the Egyptian revolution and stars Swedish Lebanese actor Fares Fares in the lead role. Waked explains that “opening with The Nile Hilton Incident is a statement from the festival because it aims to show, that genre cinema could be done in Arabic and succeed to tackle subjects related directly to the region”

 

Two other films also focus on subjects related to the Arab world, from Austria, Cold Hell by Oscar winner Stefan Ruzowitzky is a feminist social thriller about religious fundamentalism featuring a badass performance by Violetta Schurawlow who will be attending the festival to present the film to the audience. From Hungary, Jupiter’s Moon by Kornél Mundruczó which was part of this year’s Cannes Film Festival official competition, tackles the Syrian refugees crisis using a fantasy thriller angle.

 

The other films in this year’s line up are very different and will please all tastes:

The Villainess by Jung Byung-gil is an insane and kinetic Korean action drama which also premiered in Cannes this year and features some of the most astonishing action scenes ever made including an 8 minutes sequence shot opening.

Dave Made A Maze by Bill Watterson is an inspiring and genuinely creative comedy from U.S.A, all done in an impressive low budget.

A Dark Song by Liam Gavin is an Irish horror drama, which offers a very novel take on the subject of grief.

Fresh from Locarno Film Festival where it won the Special Jury Award is Good Manners a Brazilian social fairy tale with a supernatural twist by the directing duo of Marco Dutra and Juliana Rojas, both directors and their producer Clement Duboin will be attending Maskoon to present their films and meet the audience.

Another guest also attending this year is acclaimed French filmmaker Eric Valette (Malefique, One Missed Call, La Proie) who will present his Melvillesque crime thriller Le Serpent Aux Mille Coupures.

 

Tribute to Italian Cinema, Cine-Concert and masterclasses

 

In collaboration with Istituto Italiano di Cultura-Beirut and Nadi Lekol Nas, Maskoon is doing a tribute to the two most influential Italian genre filmmakers of their time: Dario Argento and Lucio Fulci. In the Cult Classics section, the festival will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the horror masterpiece Suspiria, a true work of artistic visceral cinema.

A grand cine concert will take place at the Music Hall Starco where Lucio Fulci’s surreal masterpiece The Beyond will be screened accompanied by a live performance by the film composer Fabio Frizzi and his band. This impressive concert is an experience that was never done in this aspect before in Lebanon.

 

Fabio Frizzi who is one of Italy’s most prominent composers and whose music was used by Quentin Tarantino in Kill Bill Volume 1 will also give a public masterclass about music composition during the festival.

Another masterclass will be given by acclaimed Belgian poster artist Laurent Durieux. Durieux will introduce the audience to the art of alternative movie posters, his unique work has tackled in a fresh and innovative way the work of Alfred Hitchcock, Fritz Lang, Francis Ford Coppola, Quentin Tarantino, Steven Spielberg, among others. His Jaws poster became extremely popular and rare because Steven Spielberg fell in love with it and bought 25 copies for himself and his friends. Francis Ford Coppola had the following to say about him: “Laurent Durieux beautiful work takes poster art to a high level. The images, which are stunningly executed, express ideas and themes of the movies he has chosen in new terms. They communicate much without words, and stand alongside the wonderful tradition of illustrative art.”

 

Maskoon main partners and leading VOD platform Cinemoz are the first to encourage and produce genre initiatives in the region, they will present their new genre productions during an exclusive event that will take place during the festival.

 

 

Parallel activities

 

Just like last year, the audience attending Maskoon will be welcomed to the fantastic cinema world once they step inside a revamped Metropolis Cinema which will be decorated for the occasion and filled with exciting activities which will take place in parallel to the screenings: Lebanese illustrators will be live drawing, the Lebanese Otaku will be cosplaying and organizing workshops, the Public library Aleph B will organize a dolls making workshop and Game Cooks will be demonstrating the Lebanese virtual reality game Vindicta. Maskoon is also proud to present the first festival official merchandise which varies from t-shirts designed by Lebanese illustrators, handmade rag dolls, creepy candles, notebooks and much more… Maskoon will be encouraging an entire community to showcase their work and for fans to meet and discuss between screenings in an attempt to create a social cultural event around genre cinema.

 

Lebanese Short Film Competition

 

Maskoon also launches this year its first Lebanese short film competition, the aim is to encourage and push further Lebanese filmmakers to create their own genre films, the response exceeded expectations and the quality of the films promise a bright future for genre cinema. The films competing are 555 by Raja Moeen Tawil, The Howl by Sandra Tabet, Sahar by Mohamad Yassine, Redrum by Julien Kobersy, Aryan by Eli Saleme, Not a vegetarian movie by Peter Aoun, Ro3eb Laylake by Ziad Kamouh, La Geante Rouge by Maria Gosh, Daydream by Rayan Abi Raad, Merry Go Round by Joanne Ragheb, Abîme by Riwa Philips and Reprisal by Mike Malajalian. Two prizes will be awarded, the Maskoon award will entitle the winning film and the director to be part of the prestigious Sitges Film Festival in Spain and the film will be part of the official short films competition at Sitges. The Cinemoz prize will entitle the winning film to 1500$ cash prize and distribution from the Cinemoz VOD platform. The films will be judged by an international jury composed by industry guests: from Switzerland, Anais Emery the artistic director of Neuchatel Fantastic Film Festival, from Belgium, Thierry Phlips, producer, programmer and distributor and from France, filmmaker Eric Valette.

 

Tickets

 

Tickets for Maskoon Fantastic Film Festival will be sold at Metropolis Empire Sofil. Tickets for The Beyond Composer’s Cut Cine Concert will be sold at the Virgin Ticketing Box Office.

 

 

 

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