The 11th Notre Dame University–Louaize International Film Festival (NDUIFF) was held on November 5, 2017, in Bechara el-Rai Theater, at the University main campus.
The NDUIFF rolled out its red carpet in honor of the legendary Lebanese dancer and choreographer Georgette Gebara in recognition of her life achievements. More than 550 people, including actors, directors, producers, students, and famous faces from the entertainment industry attended the opening ceremony.
For its 11th edition, a percussion orchestra and the screening of a moving documentary that highlighted Gebara’s journey took the NDUIFF to a new level through outstanding artistic performances, such as an adaptation of Chicago Play, songs interpreted by Bruno Tabbal, and a medley. Also screened were introductory videos about the festival’s program and jury members, and the trailer of George Hachem’s upcoming film Still Burning.
During his keynote address, NDU President Fr. Pierre Najm said, “A decade will end, and another one will begin. Some may wonder why the decision was made to launch this project in a Catholic university. The answer is simple: the University mission exists to serve the values of goodness, beauty, and truth. So, tour mission recognizes the importance of this festival and is committed to it because it is more than just a film festival, it is also a cultural gem that offers a choice between despair and growth. That is why we will continue with the NDUIFF despite all challenges.”
NDUIFF Founding Director Sam Lahoud recalled the beginnings of the festival. He said, “Back then, I suggested the founding of the Lebanese Students Film Festival to commemorate the University’s Silver Jubilee, which former NDU President Fr. Walid Moussa approved. Fr. Moussa believed in its potential to empower youth. And the proof is in the festival’s eleven years of success.” Fr. Moussa was awarded the ‘Golden Olive Award’ in recognition of his support for the festival throughout his 12-year tenure.
Former Vice-President for Public Affairs and Communications at NDU Suheil Matar described Gebara as “a school, a university from which many graduated. Art alone immortalizes the person. So, let us learn to become artists.”
Gebara was awarded a symbolic carving sculpted by sculptor Roudy Rahme, and a Theater chair was named after her.
Gebara’s words said, it all. “This honor is even more valuable because of the presence of so many friends who have accompanied me throughout my journey. I would like to ask God to bestow his blessing upon us and upon our beloved country.”
Join the NDUIFF for a memorable week of film screenings and workshops!