Updated on 02/03/2021
The film-maker Eliane Raheb was born in 1972 and grew up in Lebanon until she was 19 when civil war destroyed the country. Her grandfather had a cinema in Zahlé, and passed on his love for films. She started her career as an actress before studying a short course at the FEMIS (École nationale supérieure des métiers de l'image et du son – French state film school) in 1993 which allowed her to write and direct her first short film The Last Screening in 1996, then Encounter a year later before starting to make documentaries. In 2012, Eliane Raheb made her first feature-length documentary Sleepless nights, a film on the dark nature of war and consequences on residents. Alongside her film-making career, she started lecturing at the Saint Joseph University from 2003 and became involved with various cultural organisations in Lebanon as artistic director of the Ayam Beirut Al Cinema festival (Beirut Cinema Days film festival) or as a founder member of the film association Beirut DC. During residencies in Paris and Berlin, she worked on her new film Miguel’s War, which has been shown in the Panorama section of the Berlin Film Festival in 2021.
Eliane Raheb is drawn to stories that affect Lebanon and regions in the Arab world, and is known for making films in the socio-political documentary genre. Whether she is exploring violence in her country in This Is Lebanon (2008), recounting the consequences of the 6 February Intifada in So Near Yet So Far (2002), or depicting the political beliefs of farmer isolated at the border with Syria in Those Who Remain (2016), her work bears witness to her past during the civil war. A centrepiece of contemporary Lebanese film, the film-maker applies strict objectivity to her work. She highlights unusual stories linked to her country’s destiny. Armed with her experience in documentary-making, Eliane Raheb also distinguishes herself as a producer. She founded Itar Productions in 2004 with the aim of supporting projects form the Arab world.
Convinced that culture drives social and environmental change, Eliane Raheb founded REEF (Rencontres Environnementales Et Filmiques – Film And Environmental Encounters) in 2019. This ecological festival located in Lebanon and the Arab world is dedicated to rural life and its representations.
As a film-maker, Eliane Raheb has been featured in a hundred international festivals to show her films Sleepness Nights (2012) and Those Who Remain (2016). If her documentary This is Lebanon (2008) was awarded the excellence prize at the Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival, Suicide (2003) was shown at the Mumbai Film Festival in India as well as the Cine Invisible Festival in Bilbao in Spain where it was awarded the Human Rights Prize. The collection of prizes she has won around the world allows her to cement her reputation even more.
Eliane Raheb was born in Lebanon in a complicated political context.
Eliane Raheb directed for the first time, filming her short film, The Last Screening.
After making several films, Eliane Raheb founded her production company, Itar Productions.
Fully involved in the industry, she founded REEF, a film festival extolling ecology.
Her film Miguel’s War has been selected in the Panorama section of the Berlin Film Festival.
For her film Miguel's war, Eliane Raheb benefited from the support of La Fabrique Cinema in 2015. This programme promotes the emergence of young creation from Southern countries on the international market.
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