Daizy was just 23 years old when she experienced her first all-consuming, all-powerful love affair.
It was a love that would inspire ten years of intense obsession, as Daizy immersed herself in everything that came with the experience – willingly embracing the battles and challenges, while relishing the delights and joys.
Eventually it became crystal clear, this was a love that would last a lifetime.
However, Daizy’s passion was not directed at a person, but a country, her homeland – Lebanon.
When Daizy first returned to Lebanon 18 years after being forced to leave, it wasn’t because of a burning desire to do so, it was simply because her mother said so.
That visit became a life-changing, six-week adventure that would alter the course of Daizy’s life forever..
Daizy Gedeon, Filmmaker
“When the pilot announced that we were now flying past Lebanon, I turned my head to look out the window to get a gauge of what I was in for. To my absolute surprise, what I saw was nothing short of breathtaking beauty,” says Daizy.
“I didn’t realise it then, but my love affair had begun.”
Although the beauty that framed the country from the safety and distance of the plane was real, the reality on the ground was something else.
Over the next few weeks, Daizy travelled to all corners of her beloved homeland, where she witnessed the poverty and inhumanity in the Palestinian refugee camps, and spied on the actions of the occupying Syrian Army troops.
“I ate the most delicious Kibbeh Neh and Mahnoosh I had ever experienced in my life, I walked through the serenity of the ancient Cedar tree groves and felt their biblical beginnings; I danced the night away carefree and undaunted by the bombings and the war that raged only kilometres away,” says Daizy.
“I was so enthralled, excited, moved, enriched, challenged, and disgusted by what I witnessed and experienced that I was compelled to do something about it the only way I knew how – by telling Lebanon’s story.”
So Daizy wrote her first film – Lebanon…Imprisoned Splendour.
The Film shows Lebanon’s natural beauty and location within the heart of the Middle East and the spirit of hospitality and generosity of its people which serve to create an oasis that is the Lebanese people’s international legacy.
The Film examines the strong family unit, an endemic feature of Lebanese society, which has proved to be a biding and empowering force in a nation devastated by war.
The pervading themes of the Film are emphasised by drawing upon the principles of the great Lebanese poet, writer and philosopher – Kahlil Gibran – one of Lebanon’s greatest National Treasures.
The film examines, through interviews with key figures, the issues that are deep-seated within an historical, cultural and religious context and which form the basis of fundamental differences that underlie Lebanon today.
Daizy accepting the Silver Screen Award at the 1996 International Film & Video Festival
The film seeks to discover whether the emotional scars of the war can ever be healed, and at what cost.
By unlocking these issues, Daizy seeks to release the “Imprisoned Splendour” that is a stepping stone to harmony within… Lebanon.
Throughout the experience of filming, Daizy felt she had a responsibility to tell Lebanon’s story.
“I felt an overwhelming duty and weight, but I also knew it fell on me because I was the best person to do it,” says Daizy.
“I felt so deeply and passionately about the topic, I was a journalist, I was a storyteller – who better to do it.”
But the experience wasn’t without its challenges. The biggest being a clash of ideas between Daizy and the film’s original director, who wanted to refocus the film on the plight of the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.
“That was not what had been pitched to the investors, to Australian Film bodies, and most importantly to Omar Sharif, whose involvement was contingent on the film meeting the original scope,” says Daizy.
More importantly, the director’s vision, was not the film Daizy was inspired to make.
When the producer sided with the director, Daizy made the difficult decision to terminate both parties, embarking on the experience alone.
She was soon joined by an amazing Associate Producer, Tim Nicholls, and Film Editor, Guillermo Martin Sepulveda whose technical expertise allowed Daizy to tell the story she wanted to tell.
These challenges delayed the release of the film by nearly two years, but the outcome has been well worth it.
“I was absolutely blown away by the outcome,” says Daizy.
“The awards, the qualifications, the invitations, the success internationally, all on a shoestring marketing budget with no distributor in place.
“I am still blown away by what I achieved.”