A lot of heritage and historical sites are getting demolished in Lebanon. While the government is doing nothing about this issue, a concerned citizen and a lover of the arts decided to take this matter into its own hands. Istanbouli is a young Lebanese-Palestinian actor and director. This artist values culture and considers it an asset for any society. The
has left a huge impact on Lebanon. One of the side-effects of this dark period of the Lebanese history is the closing of places that were popular hubs at that time. This young artist started an initiative which consists of reopening old movie theaters. So he renovated two cinemas in Tyre and one cinema in Nabatieh. With the help of
services and volunteers, Istanbouli renovated those cinemas and brought life back to them.
Saving old cinemas in Lebanon
In 2013, he opened a small venue called
in Tyre where a lot of activities were being held. The theater became famous so more space was needed. That’s why the search for a larger space began. Ultimately, he found
Cinema El Hamra
, also in Tyre. Before it closed down in 1989, the prestigious
Cinema El Hamra
hosted some of the most important names in the art industry, to name a few: Mahmoud Darwish, Marcel Khalife, Wadih Al Safi, Sheikh Imam, and Ahmed Fouad Negm. Istanbouli didn’t want this venue to lose its shine so he renovated it and hosted there two theater festivals, two music festivals, and two film festivals. As for the region of Nabatieh, it has been lacking art for many years.
shut its doors in 1990. In 2016, Nabatieh witnessed the “Nabatieh Theatre Festival” for the first time. Through this festival, Istanbouli was aiming at making people aware of the existence of this cinema by screening a short film about its history. Also, a live theater performance was held. Instanbouli was largely inspired by his father who was a storyteller and a fisherman. The latter used to bring movies from Greece and screen them on walls. His father was also an employee at the Lebanese Electricity Company and used to fix the projectors in cinemas. Instabouli made his father’s dream come true by opening a cinema in Tyre, his hometown. Also, this artist works on a local level by offering acting classes in Tyre. In fact, his projects are receiving financial support from the Ministry of Culture in Lebanon, a Dutch NGO, and the United Nations Force in Lebanon.
The future projects of the Lebanese Ministry of Culture
Recently, the Ministry of Culture in Lebanon announced that it will invest