Lebanese actress Elsa Zogheib acted the Maitre de Ceremonie, initiating the event with the National Anthem. She then introduced the Lebanese classic vocalist Layal Neemeh who enchanted the audience with a series of nostalgic Lebanese songs.
Mona Farid Khazen, Chairperson of the Board of Trustees, delivered a speech on the magic of cinema, and the issues of women in the industry. She spoke of the honoring of Wafaa Tarabay for being one of the highly appreciated “butterflies of the film, television, and theater.”
Founder and director of the festival Sam Lahoud took his turn on stage to thank the team and expressed his gratitude to all the supporting partners.
He stressed that the cinema carries values, traditions, ideas, and cultures, and shares them with the people of the world, bringing cultures closer together, promoting understanding and dialogue among people, raising tolerance, and reducing racism.
The event presented a short documentary about the career of Wafa Tarabay who was then invited on stage. Amidst the enthusiastic applause of the audience, Tarabay received the BIWFF golden statue of the great Phoenician goddess Tanith.
Worth mentioning that the goddess Tanith had many powerful roles in the Phoenician ideology: From the mother goddess of fertility and the life-force of the earth to the sky goddess who ruled over the sun, the stars and the moon. BIWFF has taken “Tanith” as its symbol, and the “Tanith of Beirut” as its prime award.
Wafaa Tarabay appeared emotional during the honoring. She expressed her appreciation and her wishes to enhance the woman’s role and presence because a woman “is not half the society but the whole society.”
She also pointed out that everything she has done in the past 60 years in theater, television, cinema, and radio has ‘enriched her with the public’s love and satisfaction.’
The Beirut Film Society, an NGO of support to filmmakers, believes in the positive role of the cinema in the society and in the importance of conveying this culture to families and children. Accordingly, BIWFF has also launched the first edition of The Beirut International Festival of Children and Family.
The Beirut International Women Film Festival will carry on until March 15th at Grand Cinemas of the ABC Mall in Dbayeh. It includes the screening of international and national films as well as panel discussions on the daily challenges that face women in the movie industry.