While location scouting for another project in Lebanon's Bekaa valley, Beirut-born filmmaker Jessy Moussallem came across what she describes as “a beautiful green stretch of Marijuana". The crop was being tended by a group of women laborers, who “were sitting on the ground surrounded by the spiky leaves, and taking a break from their work and drinking tea as their children played beside them.” This encounter led Moussallem to take a closer look into the lives and livelihoods of the people farming this illicit crop, resulting in this— a compelling visual study of a rarely known corner of the world and the personalities who call it home. Enter Damian Lazarus & The Ancient Moons, who commissioned Moussallem to create the film using music from their recent album, also titled Heart of Sky.
“This peaceful scene in a controversial setting made a strong impression on me,” explains the Lebanese filmmaker. “The hashish trade is illegal in Lebanon. Hypocritically, however, they are operated and protected by political sectarian militias who benefit from the profits. This was a wild journey from start to finish, spending time in the fields with the farmers, in manufacturing garages with the labourers, with outlaws in hiding, and in the homes of small-time dealers—and in the mansions of big time ones.” She continues: “The scenes were scripted around real people and real situations; people who, despite difficult working conditions, live and labor with gratitude for the gifts of the earth, and with faith in god and in each other."
Speaking about the film's atmospheric score, Lazarus explains that the cinematic qualities of his music "directed me to find a special filmmaker who could take various strands of the music from the album and weave them together in one visual masterpiece, instead of going down the tried and tested route of short music videos." What emerges is a unique portrait into the complex social and political realities where small working families interact with the world of organized narcotics.