Lebanon’s film sector has been suffering for the past few years, says Lebanese film director, producer, and owner of The Works – Film Production, Serge Oryan.
Lebanese filmmakers have been unable to secure investors ever since the start of the Ponzi scheme that resulted in the downfall of the country’s banking sector, he tells The961.
Simultaneously, every Lebanese has ‘Lollar’ stuck in the bank. “This money is just sitting in the bank losing value,” Oryan explains.
‘Lollar’ is a term coined by former Harvard Advanced Leadership Fellow, Dan Azzi, to refer to a US dollar stuck in the Lebanese banking system.
Finding a solution to the struggling film sector and the frozen ‘Lollar’ issue, Oryan, with the support of Azzi, wants people to know that they can “turn their ‘Lollar’ into dollar” by investing in movies.
With no direct access to that money (their ‘Lollar’), Lebanese can make ‘fresh dollars’ (US dollars from abroad) by investing in the film industry, instead of keeping their ‘Lollar’ stuck in the bank losing value.
“Lebanon’s film industry is very well-established,” Oryan says, highlighting the skilled and experienced crew members, cast, and talents. Even the right equipment is available.
Additionally, Lebanon has exquisite locations for shooting, which can also attract international projects.
“We have all the elements that allow us to make a great product,” he says. All they need is funding.
With the capabilities Lebanon has, Lebanese films released using ‘Lollar’ have the potential to get distributed internationally and generate income from abroad.
Furthermore, investing in Lebanon’s film industry gives back to Lebanon by creating job opportunities as well as developing and motivating the creative scene.
Oryan himself says that he employs around 50-100 people who are in turn able to support their families by working on the films.
That being said, Oryan currently has a few films that are ready to start shooting as soon as he secures funding. For now, he says he is starting with one that has a very strong strict and is award material on an international scale.