This March, Lebanon will be represented in a Los Angeles annual film festival, Filmapalooza 2023, with the dark comedy short film called “Hamra. No, Badaro”.
The film was created by Roarpark, a Beirut-based team, for the Yes We Cannes – a global film challenge by the 48 Hour Film Project.
It’s a competition that challenges filmmakers to write, shoot, and edit a short film while adhering to an assigned genre, props, characters, and lines of dialogue— in just 48 hours. Additionally, the film should not exceed a maximum of 7 minutes.
Roarpark’s team leader, Director Fatma Racha Shehadeh, tells 961 she and her team worked for a whole weekend to complete the film from start to finish.
However, during post-production, they feared the Lebanese humor in the dialogue would not translate well to an international audience. Safe to say, the judges found it funny.
“We did a brainstorming session before the kickoff of the competition and came up with possible plots for different genres, but when we got our elements, we used none of these ideas,” Shehadeh explains, “It’s like the adrenaline and the actual moment are what pushed us to think in that direction. So technically we had our story in 5 hours.”
“Each department started working accordingly and our actors started rehearsing together, coming up with dialogue, our camera department started preparing the equipment, and our production department looked for locations. And we started shooting,” Shehadeh says, walking us through the process.
“Before shooting every scene, we would discuss it, all of us, fix the dialogue, set up the frame and light, and shoot. By Saturday afternoon our editor jumped in and started editing. On Sunday sound design, coloring, and music.”
It took 16 people to complete the film, and they did it without sacrificing details like color grading, styling, and music composition. “It’s the most enjoyable experience any filmmaker can have,” Shehadeh says, “we had a lot of fun because we’re friends and had worked on previous projects before.”
In August 2022, Roarpark won the Beirut 48 Hours Film Project which was organized by the Beirut Film Institute. Out of 16 local teams, Roarpark won the awards for Best Film, Best Director, and Best Music Scores for The Last Trade – a silent film.
It was Roarpark’s local success with The Last Trade that qualified them for the Yes We Cannes global challenge to go on and compete with other city winners from around the world.
While the competition was brimming with talent, Roarpark’s Hamra. No, Badaro was selected out of 76 participants worldwide to be among the top 15 finalists that will compete in Filmapalooza.
The 4-day event will kick off on March 15th.
“We were screaming for joy when we got the news. We love our film and know it was a good one (from our friends’ feedback- those who watched it), but there are a lot of very good films in the competition. It was a beautiful surprise,” Shehadeh explains.
“We are very proud to be among the top 15 and having the opportunity to screen in Filmapalooza in Los Angeles is great because it’s a new audience for us.”
Shehadeh says the team plans to attend the competition in person and is currently in the process of organizing their trip to LA.