Watch: ‘Heart of Sky’ Presented by Damian Lazarus & The Ancient Moons

Damian Lazarus & The Ancient Moons present ‘Heart of Sky’ – a unique short film collaboration with fast rising Lebanese director Jessy Moussallem. Moussallem’s most recent work, a music video ‘Roman’ for Lebanese indie-rock band Mashrou’ Leila won gold in the Young Director category at this year’s Cannes Lions,  selected by Ridley Scott.

Never an artist to take the road well-travelled, Lazarus made the decision not to make a conventional music video but instead to commission a short film based on the band’s second album Heart of Sky that would blur the line between fiction and documentary. Shot in the closed world of Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, this moving film unites the creative worlds of film and music in a truly innovative way showcasing the secret lives of the farming communities that cultivate and harvest Lebanese Red hashish.

‘Heart of Sky’ sees a blend of raw intimacy and cinematic transcendence that paints a profound and elevated picture of the beating hearts and tender hands that work the fields of the illegal industry. The film comes at a particularly timely moment as the Lebanese government looks to consider legalising the enormously profitable cannabis industry, said to be worth up to $1bn, to rescue its ailing economy.

“The film blends documentary and fiction. The scenes were scripted around real people and real situations, people who, despite difficult working conditions and an existence that seems suspended between the valley and the sky, live and labour with gratitude for the gifts of the earth, and with faith in god and in each other.”

Moussallem was given full reign to work with the music from Heart of Sky in the film and does so to great effect. The album was released in July of this year through Crosstown Rebels/BMG and combines Lazarus’s cosmic world influences with his love for ‘80s soul/funk to create an album that works in harmony with Moussallem’s vision. Lazarus has been digging in crates, searching for interesting, weird music in Middle Eastern record fairs. These inspirations appear throughout the new record, but the record also utilises the power of soulful vocalist J Appiah, the rising London singer who’s worked with Michael Kiwanuka, Jamie Woon, Kwabs and Jess Glynne. He is joined by Ben Chetwood, session musician and MD who has worked with everyone from Rudimental to King Krule, plus the Heritage Orchestra’s Rob Gentry, and, of course, Lazarus himself. Listen to the album HERE.

Born and raised in Beirut, Jessy Moussallem pursued her inclination for storytelling in film school at the Lebanese Academy of Arts with her diploma short film winning first prize at the European Film Festival.

‘Heart of Sky’ was a co-production between Phantasm Paris, Clandestino Films and Caviar London.