Lebanon's southern city of Tyre may be small – with somewhere just north of 100,000 residents – but a group of theater enthusiasts are working to ensure that it continues to live up to its millenia-long, rich cultural history.

After reopening Tyre's long abandoned Al-Hamra Theater in 2014 and launching The International Theater Festival of Tyre, a group led by Kassem Istanbouli is now crowdfunding the second edition of the Tyre International Short Film Festival .

"The Tyre International Short Film Festival is organized to promote cinema in the South of Lebanon; to bridge gaps between communities, countries and people," organizers said on the campaign's Zoomaal page . "It's been a year and half now since we (a group of young people from the South of Lebanon - from the old city of Tyre to be more precise -) decided to pursue our dreams and to promote a cultural uprising to end a long period of creative low."

An Iranian play performed during the Tyre Theater Festival. Photo source: TISFF.
An Iranian play performed during the Tyre Theater Festival. Photo source: TISFF.

Organizers are hoping to raise $45,000 – enough for equipment rental, salaries for support staff and to cover the expense of bringing guests for special sessions to be held during the festival, which will be held in December this year.


In the spirit of ensuring that local residents are involved with and benefit from having a film festival, the first reward – for a donation of $25 – gives the donors the option of gifting a festival pass to a Tyre resident.

"What we're aiming at is to go back in time and make this an illuminated and recurring spectacle that could change something in the life of the people of Tyre," the campaign said, "especially the cinema trainees at Tiro Association of Arts who will have the opportunity to watch movies from all around the world and that will no doubt enhance their cinematic abilities."