'Diaries From Lebanon' is a joint production between Lebanon, France, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia.
MAD Solutions has picked up the worldwide rights to Myriam El-Hajj’s feature documentary Diaries From Lebanon ahead of its highly anticipated world premiere in the Panorama section of the Berlin International Film Festival, which will be running from February 16 to 26 in its 74th edition.
In 2023, MAD Solutions made waves with their sales arm on the global stage, notably with Mohamed Kordofani’s Goodbye Julia — Sudan’s official submission to the 96th Academy Awards and the first Sudanese feature film selected for Cannes. Building on this success, MAD Solutions has a lineup of upcoming titles, including Laila Abbas’ Thank You For Banking With Us and Ahd Kamel’s My Driver and I, along with the recent acquisition of the Tunisian debut feature Take My Breath.
El-Hajj’s documentary delves into the lives of Georges, Joumana, and Perla Joe, each representing a different generation with unique perspectives on reshaping Lebanon. However, as the country grapples with disruptions and personal quests unfold, they are confronted with the question — can our dreams survive in a world in turmoil?
A joint production between Lebanon, France, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia, Diaries From Lebanon (in Arabic Mitl ‘Osas el Hob, or Like Love Stories) is written and directed by El-Hajj and produced by Myriam Sassine of Abbout Productions (Lebanon) and Carine Ruszniewski of GOGOGO Films (France).
Speaking about the film’s world premiere, director El-Hajj said: “For seven years in the making, Diaries from Lebanon has been a voyage – both intimate and political. We are delighted that Berlinale has recognised our work and, through it, the experiences we have lived. Panorama is a bold section, both politically and artistically. The film couldn’t have found a better place. We are happy to finally be able to share this story hand in hand with MAD Solutions, our Arab and World Sales partner. They have accompanied us from early on with a lot of attention and sensitivity. This story is also their story – a story of struggle and resistance. Just like love stories.”
Producer Myriam Sassine commented: “It’s been a challenge to make this film, which encapsulates four pivotal years of Lebanon’s tumultuous history and the narratives of three distinct generations, each marked by life-altering events, while we, the team making this film, were living through this unprecedented crisis.
“The selection at Berlinale marks a significant milestone in our journey, reflecting the dedication and passion invested by everyone involved in this project. In choosing MAD Solutions as our partner for international sales, we were guided by their extensive experience in handling Arab films. Their aptitude to navigate the nuances and complexities of our regional cinema gives me great confidence that Diaries From Lebanon will reach and resonate with a global audience.
“This collaboration is a testament to our shared commitment to bringing powerful and authentic stories from the Arab world to the international stage.”
MAD Solutions co-founders Alaa Karkouti and Maher Diab added: “Having tracked Diaries From Lebanon for the past several years, we have kept waiting for this special documentary to make its break onto the world stage. We could see the magical moments Myriam created out of the tapestry of Lebanese society. It is a film that shows countless moments of beauty in the struggle. We are proud to have acquired this film for world sales and couldn’t be more excited to bring it to audiences around the globe.”
Diaries From Lebanon received support from various organisations, including the Centre National du Cinéma et de l’Image Animée (CNC), the Fonds Image de la Francophonie, Région Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, International Media Support (IMS), Visions Sud Est with the support of the SDC, and the Lebanese Film Fund-an Initiative of the Fondation Liban Cinema.
Additionally, the film received funding from Doha Film Institute, the Red Sea Fund, and the Atlas Workshops of the Marrakech International Film Festival, and won the Mactari Mixing Auditorium Award and Titra Films Award at the Final Cut in Venice Workshop.
Myriam El-Hajj, a Lebanese filmmaker, is renowned for her debut feature documentary, A Time to Rest, which premiered at Visions du Réel-Nyon in 2015 and garnered awards at numerous international film festivals.
Currently, El-Haj is working on the feature film Commedia, exploring the fall of a social class and the legacy of the past.