Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Is Yalla 3a2belkon a new model for Lebanese movie production?

Yesterday was the avant-premiere of Yalla 3a2belkon, a movie written and produced by Nibal Arakji and directed by Elie Khalife. I cannot comment on the movie for ethical reasons since I was part of its team, but if I am talking about it today it is because the movie fast-tracked into production merely a couple of weeks when the scenario was wrapped. Knowing how everyone bitches and sighs about the lack of funding and production, the fact that the movie got done so quickly is nothing but a tour de force.
But Nibal Arakji is nothing if not a master seller! Seeing the movie as a communication professional left me in awe at the way she managed to get a movie done pronto! Her technique was so deceptively simple - instead of going the usual way, she included all kinds of product placements inside the movie, one of the leads drives a Mini and many external shots focus on that, another one opens her fridge and the shot lingers for several seconds too long on Kiri spread cheese, a couple goes to the movies and indeed the scene is shot in Cinema City (where the movie premiered and will show starting the 15th).
Naturally, product placement is an old technique, but having it used to get a movie done in Lebanon instead of moaning that there are no production budgets could point the way towards future films. Yalla 3a2belkon (may you be next) in doing movies with brands in them!

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