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Facilitating a better future through film

by Mia Anhoury September 30, 2017
Facilitating a better future through film

Montreal screening of renowned Lebanese filmmaker’s flick to benefit children’s charities

All profits from the Montreal premiere of Franco-Lebanese director Philippe Aractingi’s Listen will go towards four Lebanese non-governmental organizations. The screening, at 7 p.m. on Oct. 1 at Guzzo’s Sphèrteque in St-Laurent, is part of the series Rendez-vous du Cinéma Libanais à Montréal put on by Liban-Canada Fonds (LCF).

Founded in 2000, LCF is a Montreal-based, volunteer-run organization that raises funds for Lebanese charities. Its proceeds go to NGOs such as Sesobel, which provides social services for children with disability; the Institut de Reeducation Audio-Phonetique (IRAP) which helps deaf children; and the Lebanese Child Home Association (AFEL) which advocates for abused children. In 2004, the Société St-Vincent de Paul, which helps underprivileged families, became the fourth NGO in the LCF family.

The Rendez-vous du Cinéma Libanais à Montréal series is a continuation of the LCF’s five-day Lebanese film festival organized last May. Listen (Esmaii in Arabic) tells the story of Joud, a sound engineer who enjoys recording wild, natural sounds. He falls in love with Rana, a beautiful, free-spirited woman from a different social class, but her parents forbid Joud from seeing her. This is when he begins sending Rana sound bites of his voice, and tells her to listen to them.

“It is a movie that must be heard, not just watched. It is a film about noise as much as it is about silence,” Aractingi said. A self-made filmmaker from a country where cinematic studies isn’t a career option, Aractingi is mostly known for a trilogy about Lebanon’s civil war.

Ideally, all of the profits from the LCF’s events are split equally between the organizations they work with to directly help children in need. The more money they raise, the more children they can sponsor, Abdul-Massih said. The treatment and care for a child provided by Sesobel, for example, costs about $1,200 USD a year, including doctor and therapist consultations.

Abdul-Massih said LCF’s events are a great way for Montreal’s Lebanese community to gather and unite in support of a great cause. Whether it’s through a cultural event, such as a movie screening, or a simple gathering, like the LCF’s annual brunch fundraiser, showing up to these events is a community effort, Abdul-Massih said.

According to Aractingi, Listen is set “in the war-ridden country of Lebanon in the midst of a socio-political turmoil, where the only form of resistance, the only form of survival is love.”

On a recent trip to Lebanon, Abdul-Massih said she experienced that same intense love—the volunteers and employees of the four organizations there seemed to emit love in every way possible. The love was so intense that she said she felt she was leaving a sort of paradise when she returned to Montreal.

According to Abdul-Massih, the work of these organizations has helped reduce the stigma faced by children in Lebanon born with disabilities. These organizations’ accommodations have helped change the Lebanese mentality regarding disabled people, she said. So what better way to continue making a change for the better than by enjoying a movie with a down-to-earth story produced by one of the most famous Lebanese filmmakers of our time?

Tickets to the screening are $25. All the proceeds from the event—except for the renting cost—will be donated to the four LCF-funded organizations. For more information or to purchase tickets, call 514-241-9858 or visit the foundation’s Facebook page.

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