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THE MOVIE

Very Big Shot opens with a bang, literally, as three brothers find themselves in the middle of a struggle with an armed man. One of the brothers, Ziad, shoots the man dead. His brother Jad, however, takes the fall and is sent to jail.

Cut to five years later. In the intervening years, Ziad has turned their modest family bakery into a drug dealing hub for a local gangster. With Jad’s imminent release, however, he wants to go legit, much to the chagrin of his boss, who asks him to do one last drop-off as a personal favor. When that-drop off is across the border in war-torn Syria, anything can happen.

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ABOUT THE MOVIE

THE THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

SYNOPSIS

Brothers Ziad (Alain Saadeh) and Joe (Tarek Yaacoub) run a small but lucrative drug-dealing business out of their takeout pizzeria in one of Beirut's working-class districts. With their youngest brother Jad (Wissam Fares) about to be released from prison — where he was serving a sentence for a crime that Ziad had committed — Ziad and Joe plan to go straight by using their coke-peddling profits to open a restaurant. But Ziad's supplier, a powerful drug lord who is none too keen to see his dealers retire, convinces the brothers to take on one last job: smuggling a million-dollar shipment of locally manufactured amphetamine to Syria, where the drug is wildly popular with militia fighters.

Smelling a trap, Ziad, Joe, and Jad hatch a plan to divert the shipment to Erbil in Iraqi Kurdistan, where they have a secure connection. By chance, they learn that cans of exposed film reels are spared the obligatory X-ray scanning at the Beirut airport, as the radiation can wipe the footage. Overnight, the three brothers become the producers of a feature film directed by Charbel (Fouad Yammine), a talentless filmmaker and frequent customer whose tab at the pizzeria has vastly exceeded his means. As the shipping date approaches, the boys race to finalize the details of their very big plan while warding off the suspicions of their vengeful boss.

WRITER/DIRECTOR

MIR - JEAN

BOU CHAAYA

Mir-Jean Bou Chaaya obtained his master’s degree in Cinema with high distinction from l’Académie Libanaise des Beaux-Arts in 2012, ranking first in class.

Working in parallel and expanding his professional experience, he wrote, directed and edited several projects for TV and the web. In 2008, he directed his first project, “National Gift,” a music video dedicated to the martyrs of the Lebanese army. In 2010, he directed “Boost My Smile,” a twelve-episode TV series shot between Kuwait and Lebanon. He later joined Djinn House’s post-production crew, working on feature films and documentaries. He collaborated with world-renowned sound artists such as Soundwalk, and on projects such as Ulysses Syndrome (2010) and Eternal Hell (2011), directing and editing films shot in Napoli, Italy and Abu Dhabi, UAE.

Selected to be part of the International Master Class at the Festival International du Film d’Amour in 2011, Mir-Jean attended a series of seminars, workshops and roundtables adding further to his insight of the image. He also wrote a series of ten short documentaries, in collaboration with the Argentinean Ministry of Tourism, profiling Lebanese and Arab emigrants in Argentina. He later wrote and directed five short films for Kalam Ennas, one of the most viewed talk shows in Lebanon. In 2012 he directed four nationally aired TV commercials, of which the Rahbani play “Land of the Gypsy”, a name that has defined Lebanese and Arab theatre. He was also invited to join the International Short Film Jury at the Rome MedFilm Festival in Italy.

In 2013, Mir-Jean co-founded SuppAr - the Arab Art Support Group, aiming at producing and encouraging the production of high caliber motion pictures and fine arts in the region.

PRODUCTION COMPANY

PRODUCERS NOTE

We believe that cinema is an art for everyone. It is not exclusive to a background or perception, it is a manifestation of expression when one chooses to share. At Kabreet we treat this as an ideology of cinema and feel it a necessity to share with the world.
Because of the lack of a rooted cinema industry in the Middle East, especially in Lebanon, Kabreet was established in answer to a growing need for support. We believe that it doesn't take much to make a film. To create a fire all that is needed is a spark, and an idea with vision bursts into flames spontaneously. It is this energy that we channel into our projects, allowing us to identify films that essentially produce themselves.
Kabreet is collaborating for the first time with SuppAr – The Arab Art Support Group. Initiated by a group of elites in an attempt to fill the gaps in endorsement of regional talent, SuppAr invests in spreading Arab art and culture. Candidates and applications are selected in consideration of their input to Arab art and capacity to become ambassadors of Arab culture. This is the vision shared by Kabreet and SuppAr. With Kabreet's awareness of potential talent and SuppAr's advocacy of the region, joint productions will have a more nurturing environment and shall become an example for future works from the Middle East and the Arab world. We aim to further cooperate in opening the right channels and becoming a key player in promoting our art and culture.
We chose "A film by Aunt Nora" because of the vigor every element of the script contains. It conveys the spirit of Lebanon with its bold reality. We have chaperoned it with Georges Nasr and Yves Angelo, two notable Lebanese and French script consultants, helping the film to appeal to both local and international audiences. The cast and crew are a mix of fresh talent, impressive backgrounds, and hefty experience. The film portrays the power of the media and we have Marcel Ghanem, a pioneer in political talk shows, both supporting and acting in it. The score is an original for the movie and was produced by Michel Elefteriades, known for his talent of combining eclectic world music, earning him international recognition. With Ginger Beirut's collaboration lending us their profound experience, "A film by Aunt Nora” was produced with the utmost standards.
The achievement of this project will not be the end of high caliber productions; it will be the inauguration of Arab art and cinema. We aim to find more, invest in more and leave as many marks as possible reaching a multi-continental audience.
Accomplishments make an industry resilient and we intend to enrich regional works, providing a foundation for generations to showcase their imagination to the world.

Alain Saadeh as Ziad in Lebanese movie Very Big Shot (Film Kteer Kbeer)

ALAIN SAADEH

CO-WRITER / IN THE ROLE OF ZIAD
A SMALL TIME DRUG DEALER

Fouad Yammine as Charbel in Lebanese movie Very Big Shot (Film Kteer Kbeer)

FOUAD YAMMINE

IN THE ROLE OF CHARBEL
AN UNDERRATED FILMMAKER

Alexandra Kahwagi as Alia in Lebanese movie Very Big Shot (Film Kteer Kbeer)

ALEXANDRA KAHWAGI

IN THE ROLE OF ALIA / A YOUNG
ACTRESS & CHARBEL’S WIFE

Wissam Fares as Jad in Lebanese movie Very Big Shot (Film Kteer Kbeer)

WISSAM FARES

IN THE ROLE OF JAD / ZIAD’S
YOUNGEST BROTHER & EX-CONVICT

Tarek Yaacoub as Joe in Lebanese movie Very Big Shot (Film Kteer Kbeer)

TAREK YAACOUB

IN THE ROLE OF JOE / ZIAD’S
YOUNGER BROTHER & ASSISTANT

ALAIN SAADEH

CO-WRITER/IN THE ROLE

OF ZIAD A SMALL TIME

DRUG DEALER

Born in 1983 in Beirut, Lebanon, Saadeh received his degree in Theater from the Institute of Fine Arts at the Lebanese University in 2008. He continued his studies in California, USA at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in 2012, later working there as Assistant Acting Coach. He has written and directed plays presented in France, Cyprus, Tunisia, and Lebanon, and has acted in several works ranging from classical to modern as well as many TV commercials. Saadeh has worked with acclaimed directors in feature and short films such as, “Asfouri” (Fouad Alaywan, 2012) and “Filmmakers” (Mir-Jean Bou Chaaya, 2012), a collaboration with Bou Chaaya that continues today with his participation in the writing of “Very Big Shot”.

FOUAD YAMINE

IN THE ROLE OF CHARBEL

AN UNDERRATED FILMMAKER

Born in 1986 in Beirut, Lebanon, Yammine received his degree in Theater from the Institute of Fine Arts at the Lebanese University in 2007. A man of many talents, he is anchor of the satirical news show "ChiNN," and the prank show "Impractical Jokers" on local TV, and is co-founder and lead vocalist of the Lebanese rock band "Meen". He has acted and directed in more than six plays and has been a member of the Lebanese Puppet Theatre since 2005. He has also acted in several TV commercials as well as feature films, collaborating with notable Lebanese directors such as Nadine Labaki, Hani Tamba, and Samir Habshi. Today he is co-founder of Banadoura, a production company with a mission to aid the blossoming of local talent.

ALEXANDRA KAHWAGI

IN THE ROLE OF ALIA / A YOUNG

ACTRESS & CHARBEL’S WIFE

Born in 1982 in Beirut, Lebanon, Kahwagi obtained her bachelor's degree in Theater and Audio-Visual studies from L'Institut d'Etudes Scéniques Audiovisuelles et Cinématographiques - Saint Joseph University in 2007. Her career started at the age of thirteen acting in three feature films, more than four hundred TV commercials, and several short films. Kahwagi was awarded Special Mention at the 2012 Dubai International Film Festival for her outstanding performance in “Roundtrip” (Meyar El-Roumi, 2012). She currently works as Art Director and Photo Editor continuing to expand and bridge the facets of her talent.

WISSAM FARES

IN THE ROLE OF JAD / ZIAD’S

YOUNGEST BROTHER & EX-CONVICT

Born in 1988 in Beirut, Lebanon, Fares studied at the Institute of Fine Arts and Theater at the Lebanese University and attended several local and international acting workshops. He has acted in several short films and TV commercials and premiered as lead actor in the internationally acclaimed feature film, “Asfouri” (Fouad Alaywan, 2012). Fares is popular today for his participation in several Arab TV series.

TAREK YAACOUB

IN THE ROLE OF JOE / ZIAD’S

YOUNGER BROTHER & ASSISTANT

Born in 1983 in Beirut, Lebanon, Yaacoub studied at the Institute of Fine Arts and Theater at the Lebanese University. A poet since his teenage years, Yaacoub has several published online works. He has acted on stage in local plays as well as in TV commercials. He has been in more than five internationally recognized short films and one feature film yet to be released. Yaacoub is also popular today for his participation in several Arab TV series.

GEORGES NASR

SCRIPT
CONSULTANT

YVES ANGELO

SCRIPT
CONSULTANT

MICHEL ELEFTERIADES

MUSIC
PRODUCER

FADI KASSEM

DIRECTOR OF
PHOTOGRAPHY

GEORGES NASR

SCRIPT

CONSULTANT

Born in 1927 in Tripoli, Lebanon, Nasr studied in the United States of America, obtaining a master’s degree in Cinema from the University of California in Los Angeles in 1955. Quoted as the pioneer of Lebanese cinema in “L’Histoire du Cinéma Mondial”, a book by French historian George Sadoul, his first feature film, "Ela Ayn" participated in the 1957 Cannes International Film Festival, recognizing a Lebanese filmmaker for the first time and placing Lebanon on the world map of Cinema. Nasr has worked on several feature films, more than twenty documentaries, and two hundred commercials. His most recent work, “If Lebanon Told Its Story”, a documentary for the Ministry of Tourism shot in many archeological sites on Lebanese soil, narrates the history and culture of Lebanon. It has become the representative image of Lebanon to the world and has been officially selected at many international film festivals.
Today Nasr teaches several courses including scriptwriting at l’Académie Libanaise des Beaux-Arts, and has been elected head of the Lebanese Cinema Syndicate many times, holding the lifetime title of Honorary President.
Filmography:
‘Ela Ayn’ (1957) (Whither?)
Writer/Director
Official Selection, Cannes International Film Festival (France, 1957)
‘Gharib Al-Saghir’ (1962) (the Small Stranger)
Writer/Director
Official Selection, Cannes International Film Festival (France, 1962)
‘Al Matloub Rajol Wahed’ (1974) (It Takes One Man Only)
Writer/Director
The Syrian Artists Syndicate (Syria, 1974)

YVES ANGELO

SCRIPT

CONSULTANT

Born in 1956 of French origin, Angelo received his degree in Cinema from the Ecole Nationale Louis Lumière, France, in 1975. He has signed his name as Director of Photography in more than fifty films and has participated in twenty other feature films as assistant operator and cameraman. He has worked with notable names such as Francois Dupeyron, Alain Corneau and Gilles Legrand, among many others. Angelo has received the César Award for Best Cinematography in 1990, 1992 and 1994 along with six other nominations and several awards at acclaimed international film festivals for his work as writer, co-writer and director to more than six films.
Angelo continues to teach today at his mother university, spreading the fruits of his experience.
Filmography:
‘Les Âmes Grises’ (2006) (Grey Souls)
Director/Co-writer
4 César Award nominations, the César Awards (France, 2004)
‘Sur Le Bout Des Doigts’ (2001) (At my Finger Tips)
Director/Writer
Grand Prix, Taormina Film Festival, (Italy, 2001)
Public Choice Award, Toronto International Film Festival (Canada, 2002)
Silver Rosa Camuna Prize, Bergamo Film Meeting (Italy, 2003)
’Le Colonel Chabert’ (1994) (Colonel Chabert)
Director
Golden Pyramid Award, Cairo International Film Festival (Egypt, 1994)
Official Selection, Toronto International Film Festival (Canada, 1994)
6 César Award nominations, the César Awards (France, 1995)
Best Director Award, Bratislava International Film Festival (Slovakia, 1994)
‘Voleur De Vie’ (1998) (Stolen Life)
Director/Co-writer
Official Selection, Venice International Film Festival (Italy, 1998)
Official Selection, Toronto international Film Festival (Canada, 1998)
Official Selection, Namur International Festival of French-Speaking Films (Belgium, 1998)
’Un Air Si Pur’ (1997) (An Air so Pure)
Director
Official Selection, Montréal World Film Festival (Canada, 1997)

FADI KASSEM

DIRECTOR OF

PHOTOGRAPHY

Born in Beirut, Lebanon, Kassem specialised in cinematography at l'Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Louis Lumière in France in 2004 after obtaining his Master’s degree in Audio-Visual and Filmmaking at l’Académie Libanaise des Beaux-Arts.His graduation projects are recognized internationally in Lebanon, Egypt, France, Germany and Switzerland.
He has worked as Director of Photography to more than twenty-six shorts and two feature films, more than one hundred and eighty TV commercials for names such as Nokia, Pepsi, Domino’s and Saudi Airlines among others, working with leading agencies like Leo Burnett, Impact BBDO, Grey and Saatchi. Kassem has also worked on more than forty-five music videos for Pindoll, Eileen Khatchadourian, Mashrou’ Leila, Tania Saleh, Nicole Saba and many others. His experience spans the spectrum of cinematic and visual formats from 35mm and S16mm to HD and the latest technologies.
Kassem continues to give courses at l’Académie Libanaise des Beaux-Arts focusing on camera and lighting for Cinema and TV, enlightening the images of young minds.

MUSIC PRODUCER

MICHEL ELEFTERIADES

Michel Elefteriades studied fine arts and advertising in the city of Nantes, France after obtaining a Master’s degree in Graphic Design and Communication Arts from l’Académie Libanaise des Beaux-Arts. He is of Greek and Lebanese origins known to be a politician, artist, producer and businessman, notorious in the Arab world for his eclectic style and fusion creations.
He has composed and written more than 120 songs for artists such as Demis Roussos, Jean Jacques Lafon, The Chehade Brothers, Tony Hanna, Nahawanad, Hanine y Son Cubano, El Chato, Galvez, Jose Fernandez, as well as a collective work including Saber el Ruba’i, Moen Shraif, Wadih El Safi, Mohamad el Mazem. He has also directed music videos for several of the aforementioned artists.
He founded the Mediterranean Byblos International Festival in 1999 and directed it until 2003, collaborating with the Middle East’s leading festivals. He wrote, composed and directed “The Journey of Four Songs” in 2004, a musical for the Baalbeck International Festival.
Elefteriades has also worked in television producing and creating Western/Oriental fusion songs for Coke Studio (2012), a music series produced for the Middle East and North Africa featuring performances by international artists collaborating for the show.
Elef Records, a former Warner Music label, has been producing music and organizing various events since 1977. The company has collaborated with international names such as Bejart, Bolchoi Theatre, Ballet Biarritz, Park Avenue Theatrical Group, Lido de Paris, Moulin Rouge, Imperial Ballet of Russia, Havana Jazz Ensemble, Grease, Hair, Cats, Can Can de Paris, Evita, Demis Roussos, Cheb Mami, El Chato, Boney M, Boy Georges, Jose Galves and Barzotti. The company also internationally represents and exclusively manages artists such as Jose Fernandez & Wadih el Safi, Hanine y Son Cubano, Tony Hanna and the Yugoslavian Gypsy Brass Band, Nahawand & the Compania Garcia Lorca, Demis Roussos & the Oriental Roots Orchestra and Mosbah.

MARCEL GHANEM

SPECIAL
FEATURE

The Chehade Brothers

SPECIAL
FEATURE

SPECIAL FEATURE

MARCEL GHANEM

Marcel Ghanem received his bachelor's degree in Law from the Lebanese University - School of Law, and commenced his career in media in 1985 with an educational and political show broadcast on local radio. In 1991, he wrote and hosted a new show, entitled "Kalam Mas'oul", collaborating with the Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation LBCI.
Later on, in 1995, he began his TV career as writer, producer, and presenter of "Kalam Ennas," a talk show dealing with political, economic and social issues aired weekly on LBCI. Since its release, "Kalam Ennas" has consistently ranked top tier in the political talk show category and airs strong until today. It has tackled both sensitive and dangerous issues, received well-known local and international figures, and has become a reference for the Lebanese Diaspora linking them to their homeland. The program firmly believes in connecting with its audience being among the first to expand its reach, establishing live in-show communication through social media and online networks.
Ghanem has won several awards and holds more than twenty years of experience in political talk shows. He is considered today as the voice of democracy, freedom of expression, social justice and Lebanese sovereignty.
"When I first decided to collaborate with Mir-Jean Bou Chaaya for segments of "Kalam Ennas", I immediately felt his enthusiasm, pride and willingness to accomplish anything he sets his mind to, without a compromise in quality or professionalism. I felt that this remarkable young man was a natural. He was born a director, a filmmaker. He was born to create. Every time Mir-Jean had presented a new segment to "Kalam Ennas", he had created a cinematic masterpiece of one, two or three minutes.
I dare say Mir-Jean thrilled us all. I found his perspective, his imagination and his creativity particularly charming. It is truly astonishing how Mir-Jean made us live a dream and, in no time, turned the dream into a movie.
"A Film by Aunt Nora" is a tribute from the new generation to the old one, a tribute from Mir-Jean's generation to George Nasr’s generation of dreamers who continuously reflected Lebanon in their creativity and art. It is an homage to George Nasr’s cinema, to our great theatre and to our country in contrast to the daily scenes of murder, destruction and death we are witnessing.
What I recall the most is that Mir-Jean had a constant urge to succeed. The prizes he has won so far are by no means sufficient. His whole life is still ahead of him and I am confident that along the way there will be bigger films, deeper urges and greater prizes.
Today we stand before a man with a child’s heart. His name is Mir-Jean, proud, brilliant and yearning for further success. I am certain that my experience with Mir-Jean in "A Film by Aunt Nora" will immortalize "Kalam Ennas". History will one day mention that "Kalam Ennas" contributed to a film by Mir-Jean Bou Chaaya.
I hope that our dream grows, that the short film becomes lengthy and to Mir-Jean I say: "we stand by you and by your dreams, as strong as we possibly can…"

THE CHEHADE BROTHERS

SPECIAL

FEATURE

Farid and Rami Chehade, who perform professionally as the Chehade Brothers, are Palestinian musicians and singers.
Natives of the Old City of Jerusalem, Farid (born in 1975) and Rami (born in 1976) Chehade started studying music at a very young age and have come to master the oriental musical and poetical art forms of zajal, ghazal, hija'a and taqsim. Their professional career as The Chehade Brothers was launched by multifaceted artist and producer Michel Elefteriades. While Rami is the singer in the band, both brothers demonstrate virtuosity in playing all known Arabic musical instruments, ranging from melodic instruments like oud, buzuq, kanun, kamanja and ney to rhythmic instruments like tabla, katem and riq.
Until the late 1990s, Farid and Rami Chehade had performed in numerous concerts in a number of Arab countries and in some international festivals representing Middle Eastern music around the world. Yet, the two brothers were dreaming of a career well beyond the patriotic and revolutionary scene or the circuit of cultural festivals where they merely performed folkloric Palestinian songs; they wanted to make their mark on "popular music" in its broadest sense, taking into consideration all the implications that this may carry. Therefore, they headed to Beirut, Lebanon, where they joined the newly established Oriental Roots Orchestra, an oriental-fashion "big band" formed by Michel Elefteriades with the goal of grouping most outstanding musicians from the Arab world. This collaboration has enriched their compositions with various ethnic influences, making their musical style evolve towards World music fusion, while keeping clearly Middle Eastern roots; a style promoted as belonging to "Nowheristani" music.

“ I WANT TO MAKE A MOVIE, WHAT
DO I NEED? ”
IN THE PRESS

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Marrakech International Film Festival

December 2015

The 15th Marrakech International Film Festival closed Saturday, awarding Lebanese director Mir-Jean Bou Chaaya's Very Big Shot its Golden Star.

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Ajyal Youth Film Festival

December 2015

MENA Premiere - Ajyal Youth Film Festival 2015 - Official Selection (Feature Film Competition - Bader)

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