Actor, theatre director, drama therapist and filmmaker Zeina Daccache is on a mission to reform criminal law in Lebanon.
Having introduced and pioneered drama therapy in the Lebanese prison system with her theatre production "12 Angry Lebanese" in 2009, and the internationally acclaimed award winning documentary that emerged from the process, also named 12 Angry Lebanese, Daccache’s work led to the implementation of the law of early release for good conduct that was published in 2002 but never implemented. Prisoners since then are able to apply for a reduction of their sentences based on good behavior.
In her second documentary film Scheherazade’s Diary, the women inmates of Baabda Prison, incarcerated as “murderers of husbands, adulterers and drug felons,” tell their stories through performance, holding a mirror up to the oppressions of Lebanese society. The resulting film contributed to the campaign to pass the bill for the protection of women and members of the family from domestic violence in 2014.
Daccache’s third film in the series, The Blue Inmates (2021), follows inmates from Roumieh Prison who produced a theatre play inside prison about their fellow inmates suffering from mental health conditions and essentially serving life sentences due to being considered “Mad” & “Possessed" by the Penal Code.
In 2016, a draft law was submitted to the Lebanese Parliament by Catharsis, the NPO Zeina has established in 2007, with the hope of changing the status of these forgotten inmates behind bars. Through Daccache’s trilogy, we hear untold stories through performance, as she seeks to show humanity within an inhumane system and to bring about change - namely the possibility of rehabilitation - through art.
Reclaim The Frame x International is an international collaboration between Birds’ Eye View (UK), Flying Broom International Women’s Film Festival (Turkey), Women Make Waves (Taiwan) and Regards de femmes (Tunisia). With the shared mission to increase gender diversity and inclusion in cinema, Reclaim the Frame x International aims to champion women & non-binary filmmakers through the circulation of works.
Reclaim The Frame x International is funded by the British Council’s International Collaboration Grants, which are designed to support UK and overseas organisations to collaborate on international arts projects.
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