Meedo Taha

Architect & Filmmaker | Biography [beta]
Born February 71976

1975 — Start of the Lebanese War.

1976 — Born in Beirut Lebanon to Assad (med­ical stu­dent) and Mona (9 years his junior).

1977 — Meedo’s 3 mem­ber fam­i­ly moves to Edgware UK for father’s stud­ies.

1978 — First mem­o­ry of walk­ing up a hill with his moth­er to Nursery school.

1979 — Ginger broth­er Tarek born 2 months pre­ma­ture (Meedo watch­es through deliv­ery room win­dow as he is pulled out with for­ceps.)

1980 — Family returns to Lebanon, where Meedo can only speak English and feels many secrets are kept from him.

1981 — Begins Kindergarten in Lebanon one year ahead of his age but rapid­ly falls in love with Joanne and rapid­ly regress­es to stu­pid­i­ty.

1982 — First love. Teased to no end. Bullies his friends and his Mom is called into school sev­er­al times. Is the sec­ond kid in his class to learn to read. In the mean­time, Israeli inva­sion keeps his fam­i­ly and coun­try occu­pied. Family moves out of grand­par­ents’ house and into AUB Alumni apart­ments. Best friend is next door neigh­bor Christine. They play doc­tor and Meedo dis­cov­ers that girls and boys are dif­fer­ent. Father teach­es him how to burn a news­pa­per with a mag­ni­fy­ing glass and saves him after get­ting him­self stuck at the top of the mon­key bars in the building’s play­ground. One day he uses his new tape recorder to make a com­plete record­ing of a polit­i­cal debate his father and his friends were hav­ing, and is pun­ished and made to record over it with two hours of silence as he watch­es. Meet first for­eign sol­dier and become friends. Soldier soon killed in com­bat.

1983 — Family moves to Makhoul Street a few blocks away. Father buys Meedo every Texas Instruments toy there is, but his favorite is Speak and Spell (as fea­tured in ET), whose bleep bleep music he imi­tates all day. Every time door­bell rings, Meedo dives onto the sofa and hides his face into the cush­ions hop­ing it’s his father, who then comes and lifts him up. Goes with fam­i­ly to Los Angeles. Stays at Peter Pan Motel. One day can’t find Dad so he trips the fire alarm and every­one runs out. Hotel Manager not pleased.

1984 — Family moves to Mar Elias into build­ing that only a mon­th lat­er becomes cen­ter of oper­a­tions for Walid Jumblat Militia. Second love, Sharon at IC. Meedo picks up garbage to impress her. Then he learns girls prefer macho to sweet. Asked by school to skip ahead one lev­el but fam­i­ly refuse. Brother Jad is born. Mom prob­a­bly want­ed a girl because she grows his hair and knots it into pig­tails. He cries a lot. Meedo is his art teacher’s favorite stu­dent. He cares about lit­tle else. Still man­ages good grades though.

1985 — Building is trans­formed into major artillery ware­house and park­ing lot is pro­tect­ed with hills of sand. Meedo and friends use them as mole­hills and have lots of filthy fun. His best friend is Obada. One day while play­ing hide and seek with him Meedo is hit by a car (after decid­ing not to look both ways to save time run­ning back) and goes fly­ing high and lands on hood.  No major injuries. But the car is totaled.

1986 — Meedo becomes lead­er of South Street local gang (after being their most cow­ard­ly mem­ber) and major adver­sary to Danny (lead­er of North Street gang). He’s also star goalie in park­ing lot foot­ball team. Takes part in BUC (now LAU) dra­ma class ini­tia­tive. Removes ton­sils. Has tons of milk­shake dur­ing recov­ery.

1987 — Intermediate school. Major issues with admin­is­tra­tion. Teachers’ favorite, but he gives them hell (or so his class­mates remind him today). Cuts out slips of paper with “ATTENTION” print­ed on them so he can “pay it” to his teach­ers when asked. Also has his father make him a per­son­al­ized ink stamp, then brands all his class­mates’ text­books dur­ing recess.

1988 — War breaks out again. School is sus­pend­ed. Meedo and fam­i­ly move to Nabatieh. Meedo and cous­in Habib break into local school, climb into stor­age and steel soc­cer balls to sell to local kids. Make some mon­ey. Learns a lot about reli­gion; decides it’s not for him.

1989 — Back in Beirut to resume school. Does home­work in his father’s clin­ic at AUH. Nothing major.

1990 — Third and final school love, Bana. Meedo learns to write poems. He is too nerdy to be accept­ed by cool group and too un-nerdy to be accept­ed by nerds. Is in social lim­bo. Mother buys him Nike Air shoes instead.

1991 — Travels to US to vis­it Uncle in Cincinnati. Has first prop­er kiss with Brigitte. Thinks it’s OK but can’t real­ly see what all the fuss is about. Attends first major league base­ball game. Has the same reac­tion as kiss­ing.

1992 — Chaperones Bana at Miss IC Pageant. Thinks she should play George Harisson’s “I Got My Mind Set on You” (classy, spot on lyrics, time­less). She choos­es David Palmer’s “Addicted to Love” (cheap, trashy lyrics, for­get­table) instead. Meedo is informed that for­mer adver­sary Danny died in freak self-inflicted gun-related acci­dent.

1993 — Graduates with hon­or­able men­tion. Has a blah prom. Becomes an adult.

1994 — Architecture School, AUB.

1995 — Watches Three Colors Trilogy and has his first epiphany.

1996 — Epiphany takes a seri­ous step for­wards as new fac­ul­ty mem­bers are brought in. John Biln, Mirjana Lozanovska and Marwan Ghandour give him a shock to the sys­tem. His grades sky­rock­et and he devel­ops a huge inter­est in Architecture, Film, Post Colonial Theory, Philosophy and History.

1997 — Meets Nadim Karam, his future men­tor, at AUB. Also Bernard Khoury is major influ­ence. Spends the sum­mer intern­ing in Japan. His life will nev­er be the same.

1998 — Graduates top of his class. Works briefly with Nadim Karam then moves to Japan to do his Masters. First stop, Kanazawa University for 6 months of Japanese, which he learns in 3 by skip­ping class and mak­ing local friends instead.

1999 — Moves to Fukui to do research under Professor Hidekazu Shirai of Fukui University.

2000 — Moves to Tokyo to study under Tadao Ando.

2001 — Studies con­tin­ue with Ando, includ­ing meet­ings and research with major archi­tects like Toyo Ito and Hiroshi Hara. Friendship with Nadim Karam con­tin­ues and blos­soms into men­tor­ship.

2002 — Writes his Masters Thesis enti­tled Shoma: Small Space in Tokyo and its Architecture.

2003 — Begins his PhD stud­ies and is hired by Arata Isozaki & i-Net as Project Manager.

2004 — Spends the year back and forth between Tokyo, London, Dubai and Qatar, where he con­ducts on-site meet­ings and pre­sen­ta­tions to Qatar Foundation and Sheikha Mouza.

2005 — Writes his PhD Thesis enti­tled mon­tage­space: Cinema and the Making, Un-Making and Re-Making of Architecture. Rehired as AI&I Offshore Project Manager. Moves back to Beirut.

2006 — Outbreak of Israel/Lebanon War. Moves briefly with tiny suit­case to UK on board British Naval Carrier (12 hours by sea). Spends a few months at a dor­mi­to­ry in Colchester, Essex. Flies with same suit­case to Japan to get his visa to US, then to Los Angeles to begin MFA stud­ies at UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. Lives out of that suit­case for two years.

2007 – Enters dual track Cinematography/Directing pro­gram under Bill McDonald and Rory Kelly. Writes, directs and shoots sev­er­al stu­dent pro­duc­tions includ­ing Mouse, Lupine and Homework.

2008 — Returns to Lebanon to work on his Thesis project. Brother Tarek gets mar­ried and moves to Indianapolis as med­ical res­i­dent.

2009 — Continues his hia­tus in Lebanon, free­lanc­ing in var­i­ous archi­tec­ture and pho­tog­ra­phy projects. Travels exten­sive­ly to UK, Europe, Middle East and US. Work on his the­sis screen­play con­tin­ues. Teaches a class enti­tled mon­tage (based on his PhD the­sis) at his alma mat­ter the Department of Architecture and Design at AUB.

2010 — Spends a mon­th in South India at an Ashram. Domesticates his mon­key­brain.

2011 — Moves to Dubai to help mould the next gen­er­a­tion of bleed­ing hearts and artists at an under­grad media pro­gram.

2014 — Returns to Los Angeles to fin­ish what he start­ed at UCLA: An MFA in Film Directing.

2016 — Publishes his first nov­el and preps his first fea­ture film.