7:30 -9:00 PM *WORLD PREMIER*
Synopsis: Elias Matar is a filmmaker living in Los Angeles. He is also a Syrian-American, born in California, but lived in Syria for 15 years. As news of the refugees exodus from Syria emerged, he wanted to help. So in September of 2015, he traveled to Europe with a group of friends to join a host of other international volunteers to help the refugees as they crossed into Europe. His second trip was from late December, 2015 into January of 2016, where he traveled to the island of Chios Greece and Izmir Turkey, he assisted the local and international volunteer in the distribution of food, water, blankets and relief kits to the refugees as they landed on the island, as well as try to ensure the safety of their passage. In June 2016, Elias Matar and his daughter Lyla, traveled to the Beqaa Valley, Lebanon to work with a local NGO. There in the Beqaa, there are over 800,000 Syrian refugees who have been living in a state of limbo for the past 5 years. These refugees are left in the dark; they have no country, nearly no rights, very little education and not enough food.
He filmed the documentary “Children of Beqaa” which gives a voice to the refugees, who just want their stories to be heard. As a Syrian-American, he felt a personal connection to these refugees and to their amazing stories of survival and determination. The situation in Lebanon is urgent, he felt that we cannot allow this generation of Syrians to be lost in the madness of war. He started Lighthouse Peace Initiative (LPIcorp , a 501(c)(3)), a volunteer platform dedicated to directing funds from private donors and corporate sponsors to coordinate efforts in providing immediate aid and creating long-term solutions to vulnerable Syrian refugees in Lebanon. The goal is to empower women and give a fair chance for children to get an education that otherwise is impossible. Another part of the LPI corp is to work with newly settled Syrian families locally, hosting community dinners. The idea for the dinner came about as a way to connect with and support our new neighbors. It’s an opportunity to welcome them into our community and help them navigate through this new American landscape.
Runtime: 90 min