ILLUMINATING THE IDEA
For producer/director Christopher Sakr, Light began at a young age, with a desire to revisit the land where he was born: Lebanon. This life-long interest later merged with his passion for cinema. In 2011, Sakr and Producer David Pennington reached out for the crowd to bring this dream to life.
Light funded on August 12, 2011. Sakr was on a plane to Lebanon by October of that year. Accompanied first by his uncle, then his father, Sakr met family he had never before known, saw landscapes he had only envisioned from legend and pictures and collected nearly 100 hours of footage.
Sakr found the beauty he was searching for in Lebanon came with great complexity—the nation's constant journey to establish themselves in an ever-changing world, while maintaining their cultural identity. Their struggles were the same as the rest of the world: managing development, maintaining stability, religious coexistence, environmental regulation, and reconstructing after years of conflict. Past conflicts were not Sakr's focus with Light. Where Lebanon was at that point was of the most interest.
In the editing process, it became clear that voices would help carry the film. For this, Sakr approached three Lebanese expatriates from his own large Lebanese community in Portland Oregon: Eva Bekahi, Nour Hamieh, and Michael Layoun. Together, they formed the voices of Lebanon's past and present, which layered over images of ancient history and today.
Upon Light's completion it played before a predominantly Lebanese audience at the Portland Art Museum. The response was polarizing—some finding the film unnecessarily negative, while others saw great beauty in the portrayal. Some proclaimed outrage, while others complimented the film's honesty and artfulness.
Light is a film of great passion. A poetic and whimsical journey through a moment in time in the streets, mountains, coasts, and houses of 2011 Lebanon. It is Sakr's greatest hope that Light will resonate with its viewers: "Whether it's your type of film or not. Whether it frustrates you, or gives you a sense of hope, through it all. I hope you can walk away with something more than you had when you sat down to watch it."