We Never Left - The Lebanese Expat Revolution Documentary
After civil protests erupt in Lebanon on October 17th 2019, Lebanese expats in New York and around the world come together in solidarity with their people fighting for their rights on the ground. This is the story of the Lebanese revolution through the eyes of the young Lebanese expats in New York.
Mission StatementWe're proud to have an Arab/American team behind this film. This choice not only helps include Arab filmmakers in the process and fosters diversity in film, but also helps with the different cultures and perspectives we are trying to convey in this film.
About The Project
WHERE DID WE NEVER LEFT BEGIN?
Lebanon has been a country in crisis for decades with significantly more Lebanese people living abroad than within the country. They have been leaving over hundreds of years, due to constant turmoil, a mass migration that has only gotten worse in recent years.
On October 17th 2019, protests erupt in Lebanon, initially triggered by planned taxes on online phone calls such as through WhatsApp. The WhatsApp tax, although seemingly unimportant, enraged Lebanese citizens especially those that had to emigrate as it was one of the few affordable ways to keep in touch with family back home. It was never the reason the Lebanese people started protesting, it was just the drop that spilled the glass. Quickly, the protests expanded into a massive protest movement across the country gathering in condemnation of sectarian rule, hyperinflation, and the government’s failure to provide basic services such as electricity, water and sanitation.
Our story begins in Lebanon but unfolds abroad.
The same day the revolution began, Lebanese expats in New York and around the world gathered rapidly to stand solidarity with the protests that erupted in Lebanon. They have had enough of the incessant corruption of the government in their homeland. The expats in New York start organizing protests, fundraisers, talks and projects to help spread awareness and to help their fellow protesters back in Lebanon via any means necessary.
Although they come from different backgrounds, they share a common dream of a civilized and democratic Lebanon into whose arms they can return. Lebanese expats have seen their country worsen year after year (culminating most recently with the Beirut explosion this past summer). But the Lebanese revolution has sparked something in them, pushing and encouraging them to give back to their homeland and contribute to the hope of its true independence.
The diaspora wishes to take action in this historic period, even from afar. So they stage their own remote revolution. They owe it to themselves, and they owe it to their families.
WE NEVER LEFT is an impassioned testament to the expats’ unrequited but irrepressible love for their homeland.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Since this is a time-sensitive project, we've been filming from the first day of the Lebanese revolution but we still have a long way to go. The funds raised during this crowdfunding campaign will help us jump start the film. It will help us afford better filming equipment and pay the team modestly in the next few months while we wait for more funds. If we exceed our fundraising goal, additional revenues will help pay our Seed&Spark fees and help us sustain more time working on the film.
80% of our goal = $6400
80% of our is the minimum we need to meet for the project to be green lit! In other words, we will only get funds if we reach 80%. With $6400, we will be able to get better filming equipment and pay our production team modestly for the next few months.
100% of our goal = $8000
We did it! If we reach our goal, we'll also be able to start editing in parallel so we can move the film along and possibly apply to more funds!
125% of our goal = $10000
If we exceed our goal by 25%, we will be able to sustain the project for a little longer while waiting for more funds, which will help us tremendously!
Can’t donate to our campaign? You can also follow the campaign and share it!
If we reach 250 followers AND 80% of our goal, we will be able to get extra filmmaker benefits from the Seed&Spark platform.
We greatly appreciate all your help.
- WE NEVER LEFT TEAM
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About This Team
LOULWA KHOURY (Director/Editor/Producer): Loulwa Khoury is a New York based film editor, filmmaker who was born and raised in Beirut. She most recently edited her first award-nominated feature documentary PARADISE WITHOUT PEOPLE (2019). Her other work includes award-winning documentaries CITY OF GHOSTS (2017) and IT WILL BE CHAOS (2018), WHITE SAUCE HOT SAUCE (2018), THE JONESES (2016) and LOOK AT US NOW, MOTHER (2015) and is currently editing her second feature documentary DUSTY AND STONES as well as directing her first feature documentary WE NEVER LEFT. She is also one of the mentees of the Karen Schmeer Editing Fellowship Diversity Program of the year 2019-2020 as well as a fellow in the Sundance Co//ab Art of Editing Fellowship.
MARK BECKER (Supervising Producer/ Supervising Editor): Mark Becker co-directed and edited the documentary ART AND CRAFT (2014, Oscilloscope Laboratories), which was shortlisted for the 2015 Academy Awards, nominated for an Emmy Award, and won recognition with the National Board of Review. Becker directed and edited the Emmy-nominated film PRESSURE COOKER (2008) for Participant Media. He produced, directed and edited ROMANTICO (2005, Kino International), which was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance, received two Independent Spirit Award nominations. Becker co-wrote and edited the Emmy-nominated documentary CIRCO (2011), and co-edited the acclaimed LOST BOYS OF SUDAN (2003). He is currently developing documentary and narrative projects, and consulting on several documentaries.
MARIE-LOUISE ELIA (Co-Editor): A screenwriter, director and editor, Marie-Louise is passionate about films and creating them. She wrote and directed several short films such as DI MELIORA (2013) and BEIRUT IN BLACK & WHITE (2012). Her latest short film TAKE 18 (2017) is currently on a festival run and won the Aphrodite Cinematic Award at the Cyprus International Film Festival 2018. Marie-Louise also edited various cinematographic projects from documentaries to short fictions and in September 2014, she was selected among the editing talents of the first edition of Beirut Talents. She is currently in the development phase of her first feature film.
MARIA ACHKAR (Associate Producer): Maria is a Lebanese/American producer, writer and assistant editor. She has experience in both producing content and assistant editing, which have always included a lot of research and writing alongside working in film education. She feeds off of talking to people, forging partnerships and finding creative ways to support impactful projects.
YARA EL-MURR (Assistant Editor/Additional Camera): Yara is a Fulbright scholar from Lebanon pursuing her Master’s degree in journalism at the Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York. Yara is a biologist-turned-journalist in love with documentary filmmaking. Her career shift was inspired by her desire to communicate, educate and discuss health and social issues affecting people in their everyday life. Yara cares about making science, culture and information accessible, relatable and actionable.