A guiding star
January 23, 2014—
Born in 1974, Lebanese filmmaker Nadine Labaki has gone on to lead a discerning career in film. Her most recent movie W’halla’ la Wein? (Where Do We Go Now?) was internationally acclaimed earning many accolades, including the People’s Choice Award at the 36th Toronto International Film Festival. The film also holds the distinct honor of being the highest grossing Arab film in history.
“Here at LAU we always try to find ways to inspire our students to dream big and who better than Nadine Labaki—a young Lebanese talent who is recognized worldwide for her original and powerful films—to do that?” said Dr. Mars Semaan, dean of students at LAU Byblos, in the way of introduction.
True enough, a sense of excitement swept through the Byblos campus on January 16 when LAU’s Office of the Dean of Students invited Labaki to speak to students about a career in film. Rana Sakr, lead career guidance officer and organizer of the event, said that the impetus for hosting Labaki was so that students could have an opportunity to meet her face-to-face and ask film-related questions.
During the event, Sakr took the opportunity to recommend LAU’s talented communications students for internships as well as volunteering opportunities in her next film, to which Labaki was particularly receptive.
“My advice for young people is to find a way to get involved in the industry because so much is learnt on the job and through experience,” she said.
After obtaining a university degree in audiovisual studies, Labaki went on to work in a local advertising studio, where she directed commercials and music videos before moving on to directing feature films.
Labaki says her experiences as an undergraduate helped prepare her for the challenges she has faced in her career. “Skills you learn in university like working in teams, meeting deadlines and expressing discipline are crucial in the film industry,” she explains.
LAU communication arts student Ashley El Jor, who is graduating next spring, was particularly inspired, saying “to be able to interact, ask questions and learn something from one who is not only from Lebanon, but also a pioneering Arab woman in her own right, is just incredible. She’s someone to look up to.”
As graduation approaches for our students, many are reflecting on life post-LAU and asking themselves w’halla’ la wein? Indeed, the event is just one example of how LAU’s career guidance office is helping students answer that question. “Nadine Labaki is the first of a series of celebrated Lebanese individuals we hope to invite to LAU to share their career stories,” Sakr said.
For assistance in the career planning process: http://students.lau.edu.lb/career-guidance/