HiddenLight Productions, the UK and US based production launched by Hilary and Chelsea Clinton with Sam Branson, is co-producing a feature documentary with Belfast-based Cyprus Avenue Films.
In the Shadow of Beirut is a cinematic portrait of present-day Lebanon seen through the eyes of four families living in the poor neighborhoods of Sabra and Chatila in Beirut, scene of an infamous massacre in 1982.
Shot over four years, the film follows its protagonists through the pandemic and the worsening economic crisis that engulfs the country daily.
In the Shadow of Beirut is co-directed by Stephen Gerard Kelly, who has built a relationship with the families over a period of six years, and Garry Keane. Cyprus Avenue Films, the producer of the 2019 film Gaza, is the lead producer.
Production partners include Abbout Productions, based in Beirut (Costa Brava, Lebanon), Real Films (Gaza) in Ireland and Gebrueder Beetz Filmproduktion, based in Berlin. Co-producers include Myriam Sassine, Christian Beetz and Alison Toomey.
Hilary and Chelsea Clinton produce for HiddenLight with Siobhan Sinnerton senior vice president unscripted.
The film is nearing completion and will premiere at a major international film festival before the end of this year.
Kelly said: “Spending six years with people from Sabra and Shatila has been rewarding and humbling. More than 30,000 people live in the one square kilometer urban slum, and despite its reputation for paramilitary groups, criminal activity and drugs, most people are hardworking, honest and genuine.
“In these narrow, dark alleys, people are constantly forced to make incredibly difficult decisions created by decades of political corruption and manipulative bigotry. But, against all odds, there is still hope, and this film aims to elevate that hope.