TheWIFTS Foundation Best Documentary: Beirut Rising A powerful account of the Cedar Revolution when the young people of Beirut came together in protest to liberate Lebanon after the assassination of Prime Minister Hariri.
Director - Writer - Narrator
Soula SAAD was born in 1965 in Beirut, Lebanon, and fled Lebanon for good in the late seventies, escaping Syrian bombs, to boarding school in the swiss Alps where she resumed her secondary studies and passed the French Baccalaureat, before graduating from the American College of Switzerland.
She graduated with a Masters in Mass communication, in 1988, at the Ecole Superieure de Publicité (Paris). After graduation, Soula started working in Advertising in London, before moving back to France.
In Paris, in 1989 she moved from advertising to Events Production, among others for the Paris tourism office, the night of young creators, and several cultural & Artistic events.
In 1990, she joined Delires, a Parisian events production Agency and started a promotional events department, developping new strategies & promotional events, for Nestle, Unilever, Pepsi, in ski resorts & beach towns.
When Delires partnered with Promo 2000, a big film festival organising group, Soula produced promotional events at and for Film festivals, and made a leap into the film industry, working behind the scene on the release & marketing/promotion/Sponsoring of hundreds of world cinema films in France.
In 1994 Soula took a leap into the making of films, correspondant for Equinoxe a non-profit dedicated to helping young filmmakers, through screenwriters workshops, a producers lab, screenings at film festivals, organizing a tribute for Jeanne Moreau by the Academy of Motion pictures, and a retrospective of her films at LACMA..
Since 1994, she travelled frequently to Los Angeles, which was still recovering from the recent earthquake and the riots of 1992 and filmed a world music festival in 55 temples & venues in LA. Soula has been bridging from that moment on between music & film Industries, European & American film & music platforms, connecting talent to producers, fostering creative collaborations, Alliances & co-productions between the most artistic talents on both sides of the Atlantic.
In 2000, Equinoxe shut their foreign offices and Soula moved into making her documentaries and short films on cultural diversity, world music & cultures.
In 1997, taking Jim Pasternak directing workshop, Soula experienced the thrill of being behind the Camera and decided to now direct the 2 scripts she wrote:
The prophet's way, a bio epic on kahlil Gibran, author of 'the Prophet'
7 Feathers & an Eagle, a shamanic adventure across Latin America
Between 2000 & 2010 Soula wrote, directed & narrated 8 films among which: 'Musical Mezze", a musico-mentary travel diary in Lebanon in 2001;
Musical Earthways, an environmental & sacred music festival in Los-Angeles in 2002;
Essaouira Spirit, a musico-mentary travel diary on the Gnawa trance festival 2003;
Beirut Rising , a feature documentary on youth uprising following Lebanon's prime minister assassination in 2005, turning into the largest non-violent protest in the middle-East. 2005-2010;
Lisbon's Blues, a musico-mentary travel diary on a Fado journey in Alfama- Lisbon - 2007;
A Garden of Forgiveness - a documentary on a vision & a Garden of Forgiveness in Beirut - 2009
In February 2005, she co-founded DreamAgo with Pascale Rey, an independent filmmakers non profit organisation, to create a conducive filmmaking environment, help develop meaningful stories from script to screen, in a collaborative, independent & inventive way. By 2010, DreamAgo has developped 60 international screenplays through it's screenwriters workshop in Switzerland, initiated several collaborative projects with other writers, filmmakers and producers, among which Stephen Frears, Alain Corneau, Guillermo Arriaga...
Currently Soula is developing a series of films on the Feminine voice of the Planet, amplifying in a musicomentary way, women voices from every culture.
As this project unfolds, she began to travel extensively to research, film, interview, document women around the world. Women Who Dare, Pionneers and women who have become major achievers in their fields.
In 2007, Soula’s Beirut Rising work in Progress was Premiered at the Museum of Television in New York. In 2008, Beirut Rising was selected at the Festival cinéma-vérité in Paris & London international film festival.
In 2010 Soula joined the Advisory board of the Topanga Film Institute to co-create avant-garde international filmmakers labs.