On Location: Lebanon

Lebanese filming locations and service providers in the spotlight.
Analysis, Content production
Analysis, Content production
Analysis, Content production
Analysis, Content production
Analysis, Content production

Share

DPme.com takes a look at filming locations in Lebanon and the services the country offers to filmmakers

Lebanon is renowned for its diverse cultural landscape, rich history – which includes occupation by the Phoenicians, Ottomans and Romans – and a unique climate.

These factors have helped the nation become something of a hub for documentary and TVC filmmaking in recent years.

Documentary films such as West Beyrouth have put Lebanon on the filmmaking map. In feature films and fictional stories, however, the country has trailed many other nations in the Middle East, in spite of some attractive urban and rural settings. Caramel, a romantic comedy which received widespread international acclaim, provides the major exception to this assertion.

Lebanon’s vibrant capital city, Beirut, sometimes nicknamed ‘the Paris of the East’, is unique amongst the region in many ways. The remnants of French occupation during the first half of the 20th century are still evident in Lebanon’s architecture and culture.

Beirut has played host to a number of big-budget TVCs for several high-profile companies such as Pepsi and McDonalds, using the city’s busy urban atmosphere as a backdrop.

Drawbacks

Lebanon’s most negative production attribute is that it lacks the comprehensive filmmaking infrastructure of some of its neighbours such as Jordan and Morocco.

The reason for this is not the lack of demand for services but the reluctance of many international production houses to establish a base there.

In the period leading up to the July War of 2006, many international production firms were contemplating or planning a move to Beirut. However, some companies told Digital Studio that they felt compelled to delay such plans due to the outbreak of conflict.

Since this time, it seems location services providers and other companies involved in the film production industry have been waiting for a prolonged period of stability before reconsidering a move to the country.

Natural features

Lebanon’s terrain is unique among MENA nations. In a region dominated by rocky deserts and palm oases, this Levant nation provides a stark contrast with its greenery, (sometimes snow-capped) mountains and unique flora and fauna.

Lebanon’s landscape resembles much of Europe, and is littered with pines, oaks, cypresses and cedar trees.

Wildlife includes bears, wildcats, hedgehogs and martens and a variety of birds, including eagles, buzzards, kites, falcons, hawks, woodpeckers and owls, which nest in the country’s mountains.

While milder than most of MENA nations, Lebanon’s climate varies greatly depending on different seasons and altitudes. During winter, enough snow falls in the country’s mountains to host a number of alpine ski resorts.

Man-made features

The bustling port cities of Beirut and Tripoli (not to be confused with the Libyan capital) are unique in their mix of architectural influences. Remnants of French, Roman and Ottoman occupation still exist today.

A number of stunning and unusually well-preserved historical sites exist throughout Lebanon. The ruins at Baalbek, or Heliopolis as it was once known, are without a doubt under-utilised by the region’s filmmakers.

Once Rome’s bastion in the Middle East, the ruins provide a stunning backdrop for any filmmaker. The historical sites of Tyre (Sur) and Echmoun and many others throughout Lebanon also provide perfect locations for both fictional and non-fictional filmmaking.

In the future

Many production companies (and businesses of all varieties, for that matter) are beginning to return to Lebanon, Beirut in particular, following the July War of 2006.

While the recent history of the nation has inspired many independent filmmakers to create documentaries and war-time dramas, political stability will be a pre-requisite to restoring economic consistency to the country. This will, in turn, bolster its production infrastructure.

In comparison to other countries, Lebanon’s location service infrastructure is also wanting. While there are still some large and very capable production houses situated in the country, most are shackled by a lack of faith in the local market.

The restoration of confidence in the local industry is something that is beginning to occur. However, the process will be gradual.

FILMED IN LEBANON:
Caramel (Sukkar Banat)
Falafel
Bosta
Khalass
West Beyrouth À l’abri les enfants (West Beirut)
A Perfect Day
Sukkar banat
Hors La vie

LOCATION SERVICES PROVIDERS

Bassem Charanek - +961 3 351 512
Big Kahuna Films - +961 199 1919 – info@bigkahunafilms.com
Charisma TV productions - +961 1 362 162 – info@charismatv.com
Clap Productions - +961 1 876428 – clap@clap.com.lb
Darkside Productions - +961 1 750 280 – info@darksidetv.com
Filmworks - +961 1 203216 – info@film-works.com
Independent Productions - +961 3 845 076 – info@independent-productions.com
Mad 4 Films - +961 1 566377 – koussay@mad4films.net
Minime Production - +961 1 568 700 – info@minimeproduction.com
Odyssee Productions - +961 3 602 940 
Olive Tree Productions - +961 1 612500 ext 2040 – info@olivetreeproductions.tv
Rahbani Productions – +971 4 338 9000 - rahbani@emirates.net.ae
Revolution Film - +961 3 949 790 – info@revolution-film.com
Solo films - +961 3 075 870 – abir@solofilms.net
Standby Production Services - +961 1 696 646 – info@standbyprodservices.com
Stewart Innes - +961 7028 1596 – stewart@stewartinnes.com
The Talkies - +961 1 511 116 - info@thetalkies.com
Upside Down Production - +961 3 242 170 – info@upsidedownproduction.com
Workshop Productions - +961 1 485 1834 – info@workshop-productions.com
V.I.P. Films - +961 4 401 881 – vipbeirut@vipfilms.com

Most Popular

Editor's Choice

StarzPlay’s tech powers India’s Lionsgate Play
Provides managed services, developed by StarzPlay, to mark successful launch of Lionsgate Play ...
Subscribe to Digital Studio Middle East
The latest editor of Digital Studio Middle East, the foremost and most respected platform for ...
Dubai's Faisal Hashmi working on feature film
10 short films in 10 years has earned Faisal Hashmi international plaudits at film festival, ...

Don't Miss a Story