Beirut, Lebanon · Cinema
Lebanese visual artist and filmmaker, Joana Hadjithomas, serves as an executive member of Cinemathèque Beirut, a visionary project dedicated to advancing the art of cinema and its preservation in Lebanon. It serves as a media library, resource center, screening space and hub that aims to become an innovative and dynamic facility.
Cinémathèque Beirut serves as a media library, resource center, screening space and hub for professionals, researchers, and film enthusiasts, fostering a conducive environment for the preservation and study of cinema. It organizes festivals, screenings, workshops and a program for young audiences mainly underprivileged children and refugees. Through research and archival efforts, it addresses the historical neglect of cinema heritage to create a contemporary archive and preserve digital copies of films produced in Lebanon between the 1990’s and today.
A part of the Metropolis association established in 2006, Cinémathèque focuses on presenting a diverse range of films, particularly those by Lebanese and Arab filmmakers, to a wide audience. A pivotal aspect of this initiative is the creation of a contemporary archive for safeguarding digital copies of films produced in Lebanon between the 1990s and the present day. Additionally, in response to the loss of cinema facilities after the events of 2019, Metropolis and Cinematheque Beirut are currently in the process of constructing a cinema complex with two screens and an outdoor theater, situated facing the Beirut port, aiming to rekindle the joy of cinema and bring the community back together.
Joana Hadjithomas (Beirut, 1969) is a Lebanese visual artist and a filmmaker. As a duo with Khalil Joreige, they explore the fields of representation, imagination formation and the reinterpretation of historical narratives through various artistic media, such as film, photography and installation. Together they have written, directed and produced a plethora of feature and experimental films, and are also co-founders of Abbout Productions. Their work is part of major private and public collections and has been shown in museums, biennales and art centres around the world.
They have co-directed acclaimed films like Memory Box (2021) with international theatrical releases and The Lebanese Rocket Society (2012), which won Best Documentary at the Doha Tribeca Festival. Their work is characterized by in-depth research into hidden histories, from the Lebanese Civil War disappearances to forgotten 1960s space projects, Internet scams, and city archaeology. Notable artworks include Lasting Images (2003), SCAMS (2014), and Unconformities (2017), which received the Marcel Duchamp Prize in 2017 and were showcased at the Centre Pompidou. They’ve also authored publications like Two Suns in a Sunset (2016) and The Rumors of The World: Rethinking Trust in the Age of the Internet (2015). Additionally, their film Je Veux Voir (2008), starring Catherine Deneuve, premiered in the official selection of the Cannes Film Festival in 2008 and was awarded Best Singular Film by the French Critics Guild.