Yasmina Hatem

10 questions for Mounia Akl and Cyril Aris

Mounia Akl and Cyril Aris.

“Beirut, I Love You” is a TV/Web series that ran for two successful seasons.

1. What is your best memory of “Beirut I Love You”?
Mounia: The energy. It was a bunch of friends creating something and having fun doing it.
Cyril: Getting to meet the people we will work with forever. And anything involving Carlo Mouzannar [an actor in “Beirut, I Love You”].

2. What happened to the series after Season 2?
It’s on hold. We’re taking a break. We’re both in filmmaking school in New York right now, preparing to come back and do greater projects.

3. What are the advantages of co-directing?
We get to complement each other and take what we do even further.

4. And the disadvantages?
As much as we have similar visions, sometimes we disagree, and we have to make sacrifices to find some middle ground.

5. What are you currently doing?
We’re pursuing a Masters of Fine Arts in Directing/Screenwriting at Columbia University in New York. Just before we left, we directed a web series called “Fasateen” which was produced by the producers of “Shankaboot.”

6. Any plans to shoot anything soon?
We’re about to each shoot a short film when we get back to New York next week as part of our program. And we will also shoot two short films this summer when we’re in Beirut.

7. What has the “Beirut, I Love You” experience taught you?
So much. It was our first film school. We learned everything as we went along, trial and error. And we met so many talented people. Our crew grew from three people to 30 in just a year.

8. Are you anything like the characters you play in the series [Tarek and Yasmine]?
There is a bit of both of us in all our characters. The characters are inspired by us, our friends, people around us, and we spread them across all the main characters.

9. Writing, Acting, Directing, Editing… You do it all, but what is your favorite part?
Cyril: Directing, by far. Although, like my teacher says, “A movie gets written 3 times. First on paper (the writer). Second, visually (the director). And third, in the editing.” It is all connected.

Mounia: I can’t dissociate them. But the feeling I get when I am acting is the best feeling in the world.

10. Describe what you appreciate about each other.
Cyril: The way she works with actors is unbelievable. And whenever I am stressed out on a shoot, I always rely on her optimism and positivity.

Mounia: His amazing way of being sensitive yet keeping a cool head. His patience. And his energy.


Read this article in Arabic

Mounia Akl and Cyril Aris of "Beirut, I love you."

The characters are inspired by us, our friends, people around us, and we spread them across all the main characters.

  • Stephanie Oliver

    OMG! I love these guys! I can't wait to see their new stuff!

    January 8, 2013

  • Natasha Holbrook

    I think it's great to see young Lebanese not just complaining about the lack of opportunities but actually creating them themselves. Keep it up.

    January 8, 2013

  • Mayar

    "Beirut, I love you" is such an inspiration for all of us viewers <3

    January 8, 2013