A Lebanese documentary film maker on pushing boundaries.
What do you think about life? And what about death? What scares you? We live in a crazy world: so what will be our future? What is your action for a better tomorrow? Simply wishing is not enough.
These questions, and some more, were asked by Lebanese film director and producer Céline Abiad Beader in her new movie, “In the Name of Tomorrow“. On a normal day these questions sound like clichés, and most of us probably think we have the answers. But in front of a camera people react differently.
“The people that I interviewed took responsibility and answered honestly without conforming to any previous condition,” Céline Abiad explained.
“In the Name of Tomorrow” is not just an “interview documentary”. It aims higher. The answers of the 50+ interviewees are mixed with ten scenes of contemporary dance and theater. The whole film is meant to be a dance – a movement if you will, just like life itself. “The movie doesn’t follow standards, it’s completely free,” said Céline Abiad.
A sense of freedom was given to the dancers during filming. They enjoyed free space to develop their own content; they became interviewees themselves, answering with their own language and their own way of expressing themselves. “With the dancers and the actors it was a very different type of work,” said Abiad. “It was personal and deep – more than usual – and yet it had to match our concept of the film and its main message. It was challenging and beautiful.”
The general idea that the movie started from was Apocalypse. Céline Abiad’s initial question was, “Why do theories of the end of the world affect us so much?” Did we lose hope? What role does fear play? Soon the director realized that by simply focusing on apocalypse, the film would miss its goal. So Céline Abiad and her husband, Ognjen Beader, a Serbian artist and composer, decided to talk about tomorrow instead and what tomorrow meant.
“So is this a positive film?” I asked Céline Abiad. Her answer was nuanced and somewhat sobering: “Words these days have been abused and misused and linked to specific standards of our present time,” she said. Initially when talking about the film, Abiad often explained that it was a positive piece of media. Until she started receiving comments like “positive how?”
“When you say positive, there has to be light, joy and happiness.” But Céline Abiad feels that such a view harms our true understanding of life. “My movie is not a positive movie in a simplistic way; it will not glow of happiness and doesn’t dream about happy endings. However,” she continued, “it’s a real film, an honest film that talks about all the aspects of life, of the good, the bad and the ugly. But then again, it is also a positive film, in the sense that its message aims to gather people for a positive fight. We are powerful and only together we can achieve change.”
Interviews, contemporary dance and modern theater: Céline Abiad and her husband are pushing forward a challenging concept. And there is more: music! Original compositions by Ognjen Beader. The music is in itself an actor in this play and adds its own voice to the film.
Cinematically “In the Name of Tomorrow” is inspired by master pieces of the seventh art such as Godfrey Reggio’s “Koyaanisqatsi” – another movie that put great emphasis on music, with an original score composed by Philip Glass – and “Human”, directed by French photographer and journalist Yann Arthus-Bertrand. Both movies take an experimental and artistic approach when depicting humans in their environment.
Céline Abiad and her team started production of “In the Name of Tomorrow” in 2016, shooting in Beirut, Dubai and Belgrade (where she currently lives). What is left is to complete the grand finale dance scene and the post-production. And for this the movie lacks the proper funding for now. Céline Abiad has therefore started a crowdfunding campaign to collect the $29,000 she needs to finish the movie and bring it into the world.
“Why did you chose a crowdfunding campaign to finance your movie,” I asked.
“Well, this is not a conventional movie by any means,” she answered. “It doesn’t spread a mainstream narrative of fear and finality but rather a message of change.”
“Your movie is a also call for action,” I said, “and action needs to start now, so the movie will actually see the light of the day.”
Exactly!” she replied. “I want to transform this campaign into an engagement of the crowd, to call upon all life lovers, humanist, peacemakers, every one of us who believes or accepts the possibility of change.”
“You may say I’m a dreamer but I’m not the only one,” she added.
Check out the crowdfunding campaign here