After more than two decades, filmmaker Daizy Gedeon returns to Lebanon to revisit a story that began when she was 23.
With a thirst for answers and meaning to the contrast that pervades every facet of life in Lebanon, Daizy resumes the conversations she started 20 years ago with key political figures, foreign visitors and participants from all parts of society to try and capture the essence of life in Lebanon today.
Juxtaposed with a vibrant, progressive, chic and bold yet customary society, this past, bloody, battleground sits, teetering on a precipice warding off the threat posed by warring neighbours Syria to the east and the Israel-Palestine conflict in the south. Forced to harbour more than 2 million Syrian and half a million Palestinian refugees, representing more than one third of the total population of the country, this documentary attempts to explore how this tiny country, 1/6 the size of Tasmania, copes?
Lebanon and the Lebanese remain steadfast and focused on a future that does not look back at its most recent past, but one that incorporates the joie de vivre of the heyday of the 1950s and 60s. Is this a testament to the courage and blind determination of the people or a refusal to acknowledge the danger that encircles a country in the midst of a dangerous proxy war between competing Middle East powers Iran and Saudi Arabia and their local agents? Will elections due to be held in May 2018 provide a strong base for stability, peace and prosperity in Lebanon?
Lebanon’s challenges are significant and extraordinarily complex. Through this film we continue to explore these challenges and discuss meaningful solutions to the plight of the Lebanese people wherever they may be in the world and examine the impact on the rest of the world if any, should Lebanon, once again, fall foul of vested local and global interests.
This is the Lebanon of today - or is it? We are on a journey to discover the reality.
How does the project meet the aims of a philanthropic foundation?
Lebanon…Imprisoned Splendour 2 fulfils its philanthropic aims through 2 ways; engagement and promotion. We will use the film as a resource to engage with the community on a range of issues: Refugee’s from the various conflicts that are now living in camps in Lebanon. Women’s rights in Lebanon in the 21st Century. Homosexual and transgender rights and Arab fundamentalism. And, personal identity through cultural identity. As an Australian woman born in Lebanon, Daizy is well-placed to help advocate for all of these issues.
The second pathway will be through promotion. Through our social platforms and at screenings we will promote various philanthropic organisations and NGO’s including the International Committee for the Red Cross, that are working in Lebanon to help the community with various issues such as: Refugees in camps along the Eastern and Southern borders, women’s rights and education and Helem, a pioneering group advocating for the rights of LGBT communities in Lebanon and the Arab world. Through the film we will offer an outlet for these issues and promote organisations that provide real and meaningful support.
As with the original film we also intend to work with schools and other external groups such as the Department of Juvenile Justice, who found the original film to be a great tool for assisting juvenile offenders. The Department of Juvenile Justice determined that the themes of ethnic identity and place in society, that were addressed in the first film, were dilemmas that many youth from immigrant backgrounds were struggling with and did not know how to confront. The educators and counsellors felt that the unique perspective offered in the film - that one could and should embrace both ethnicities without the need for conflict or supremacy - was a proposition many had never considered.
What outcomes do you hope to achieve by making this film and how will you measure its impact?
Aims & Objectives
The primary aim of this film is to raise awareness about Lebanon in 2018. The country is at a cross roads and 2018 is shaping as a decisive year in the recent history of the country. As a Lebanese Australian women I want to raise awareness of the key issues impacting my ancestral homeland and how the country and the diaspora can effect change.
Additional outcomes we aim to achieve through the use of the film and my story are;
- a tool for helping immigrants develop a clearer understanding of individual identity.
- The empowerment of women from immigrant backgrounds.
- Awareness of LGBT issues in Lebanon and the Arab world.
The key way we will measure the impact will be through the number of people who see the film. Our long-term goal is to do extensive screenings both domestically and internationally. During this process we intend to encourage our audience to engage in the issues directly through support of charitable groups and NGOs operating in Lebanon. This will have a direct impact in the country and contribute to our aim of raising awareness.
As with all films in this day and age our social media campaign and its impact in engaging our audience and the broader community will be tracked and measured against our aims. This will enable us to have a clear indication of if and how we are meeting our aims and objectives.
What is your education and outreach strategy?
The outreach strategy for Imprisoned Splendour II will be web based initially and then transition to a community and web based outreach program. During production and post production we will use our extensive social media audience to raise awareness about the project and the key issues it will be focussing on. Once the film is finished we will shift to a direct community outreach strategy to engage with our audience and encourage them to attend screenings.
Our education strategy will primarily focus on late teen’s and be focussed around helping them deal with issues around individual identity. As with the first film we hope to engage with a youth audience to offer them some answers at what can be a challenging time in a young person’s life. To this end we will engage with existing contacts in education and other areas to promote the film as an effective tool in helping young people deal with issues around personal identity and immigration.
These actions will all take place around a strong online presence through our website and social media platforms that will help amplify our outreach and education with our audience and the broader community.