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HiddenLight goes In the Shadow of Beirut with Cyprus Avenue Films

HiddenLight Productions, the UK- and US-based prodco started by Hilary and Chelsea Clinton with Sam Branson, is coproducing a feature doc with Belfast-based Cyprus Avenue Films.

Siobhan Sinnerton

In the Shadow of Beirut is a cinematic portrait of modern-day Lebanon as seen through the eyes of four families living in the impoverished Sabra and Shatila neighbourhoods of Beirut, the scene of an infamous massacre in 1982.

Filmed over four years, the film follows its protagonists through the pandemic and the deteriorating economic crisis engulfing the country daily.

In the Shadow of Beirut is co-directed by Stephen Gerard Kelly, who has built up a relationship with the families over a six-year period, and Garry Keane. Cyprus Avenue Films, the prodco behind 2019 film Gaza, is lead producer.

Production partners include Beirut-based Abbout Productions (Costa Brava, Lebanon), Ireland’s Real Films (Gaza) and Berlin-based Gebrueder Beetz Filmproduktion. Coproducers include Myriam Sassine, Christian Beetz and Alison Toomey.

Hilary and Chelsea Clinton exec produce for HiddenLight with senior VP of unscripted Siobhan Sinnerton.

The film is nearing completion and will premiere at a major international film festival before the end of this year.

Kelly said: “Spending six years with people in Sabra and Shatila has been enriching and humbling. Over 30,000 people live in an urban slum of one square kilometre and, despite its reputation for paramilitary groups, criminal activity and drugs, most people are hardworking, honest and genuine.

“Among these narrow, dark alleys, people are constantly forced to make incredibly tough decisions created by decades of political corruption and manipulative sectarianism. But, against all these odds, there is still hope, and this film aims to elevate that hope.”


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