A Conversation About Baalbeck Studios’ Collection

Still film image from KOULLNA FIDAEYOUN by Gary Garabedian (1969)

Project presentation with films, guests: Monika Borgman, Ayman Nahle
Sep 4, 2021 16.30 Arsenal Cinema, free admission

Once upon a time, there was Baalbeck Studios, a thriving presence that existed at the intersection of Lebanon’s progressive and booming business and arts sectors. For over two decades, starting in 1963, Baalbeck Studios was the source of many of the soundtracks and visuals experienced and “consumed” in Lebanon, but also other Arab countries. Yet in February 2010, the Baalbeck Studios facility was slated to be demolished, alongside the disposal of its contents. UMAM Documentation & Research, a Lebanese organization focused on collecting and archiving elements of the country’s cultural memory, intercepted the materials at their final hour. They were only able to salvage them by taking unilateral action to compensate the contractor in exchange for some of the studios’ contents, especially analog film material and paper documents.
The conversation will feature presentations by UMAM D&R co-founder Monika Borgmann and Ayman Nahle, filmmaker and archivist, and will include screenings of a sample of preserved and digitized film materials.