20 May 2024 The Irish Film & Television Network
Hillary Clinton's HiddenLight Productions boards Irish documentary In The Shadow Of Beirut
31 Aug 2022 : Nathan Griffin
Stephen Gerard Kelly and Garry Keane's In the Shadow of Beirut
HiddenLight Productions has boarded Stephen Gerard Kelly and Garry Keane's new feature documentary In The Shadow of Beirut.

The news of HiddenLight Productions acquisition was first reported by Variety, who confirmed that Hillary Clinton would feature as executive producer on the project.

In The Shadow of Beirut was filmed over four years with unique access to four families living in the impoverished neighbourhoods Sabra and Shatila, infamous for their role in a massacre during the Lebanese Civil War.

Filmmaker Stephen Gerard Kelly built up his relationship with the four families over the course of six years, following them through many struggles, including the 2020 pandemic and the deteriorating economic crisis that engulfed the country.

Brendan J. Byrne of Belfast-based Cyprus Avenue Films (GazaBobby Sands: 66 Days) features as lead producer on the project with financing for the film coming from Screen Ireland and ZDF/Arte.

Beirut’s Abbout Productions (Costa BravaLebanon), Donegal's Real Films (Gaza), and Berlin-based Gebrueder Beetz Filmproduktion (The Cleaners) feature as production partners. The film is co-produced by Myriam Sassine, Christian Beetz, and Alison Toomey, with Hillary Clinton, Chelsea Clinton, and Siobhan Sinnerton featuring as executive producers for HiddenLight.

“In the Shadow of Beirut is a powerful story of resilience and hope in the face of hardship and uncertainty. It has been many years in the making and we are incredibly proud to be helping to bring this important film to the screen,” Senior VP of unscripted at HiddenLight Productions, Siobhan Sinnerton told Variety.

Speaking about securing the project, Byrne said: “Irish director Stephen Gerard Kelly watched our film ‘Gaza’ in a cinema in Beirut at the end of 2019. At the time he had been following his characters for two years. As soon as I saw the material, I knew I had to get involved and decided to partner Stephen and his remarkable material with a strong team, including co-director Garry Keane (‘Gaza’). Together, they shot additional material and helped steer the film in the editing room alongside experienced editor, Iseult Howlett. I couldn’t be happier with the end result.”

Co-director Stephen Gerard Kelly added: “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.”

In the Shadow of Beirut is nearing completion with a premiere expected to take place before the end of 2022.

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