The 1st edition of Independent Iraqi Film Festival to kick off from August 21-28

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Fri, 07 Aug 2020 - 03:18 GMT

File: Independent Iraqi Film Festival.

File: Independent Iraqi Film Festival.

 

CAIRO - 7 August 2020: The first edition of Independent Iraqi Film Festival to kick off from August 21-28

This is Iraq’s first independent film festival. Iraqi Independent Film Festival (IIFF) is a community-driven platform dedicated to supporting films from and about Iraq, facilitated by four Iraqi volunteers working in the creative industry. 

With over 80 submissions from Iraqi filmmakers, the festival programme aims to empower directors, actors, screen- writers, producers, designers, sound artists and other creatives to tell their stories. 

Sharing the most exciting work by emerging and established Iraqi filmmakers, the festival aims to showcase the diversity and resilience of our people, as well as the breadth of our culture to a global audience. 

The festival will be online and free, featuring shorts programmes, feature films and Q&As.

 


Our festival opens with Iraqi auteur filmmaker Mohammed Al-Daradji’s documentary “War, Love, God & Madness” (2008). 

Like many of Iraq’s documentaries, it highlights the difficulty of filmmaking in Iraq and the grassroots nature of the Iraqi film industry. 

The film highlights how film teams in the middle of the war overcome violent creative oppression, driven by a passion for cinema so strong that makes it worth risking it all. Also filmed in Baghdad, our second feature screening is Oday Rasheed’s Qaran- tina (2010). A subtle and beautifully shot drama that follows the story of a broken family in Baghdad who takes in a mysterious lodger.

 

Intentional framing leaves the audience tied to the characters with a sense of imprisonment as the events unfold.

Our two other feature films are shot by diasporic filmmakers, exiled from their homeland due to the threat of their creativity as perceived by Iraq’s dictatorship at the time. Samir’s latest narrative feature Baghdad in my Shadow (2019) is a gripping thriller about Iraqis haunted by their political pasts, set in a fictional Iraqi Communist cafe in the heart of West London. 

The screening will be followed by a Q&A with Samir, where we will be discussing how Baghdad is creatively rendered in postcolonial, exilic and Western imagination. Kasim Abid’s Mirrors of Diaspora (2018) explores themes of exile, creativity and war told through the lives of seven Iraqi artists living outside their homeland for close to half a cen- tury. The central question the film asks: what are the consequences of spending most of one’s life in exile? At a time of unprecedented global migration, this documentary sheds a nuanced understanding of one of the defining issues of our time.
The first shorts programme in the festival, Tracking Iraq: New Wave Cinema, explores life within Iraq from the vantage points of its diverse communities, as well as the innovative techniques of filmmak- ing throughout the country. Dhyaa Joda’s Sabeya (2019) documents a Yazidi woman in the valley of
a mountain in northern Iraq. Hussein Al-Assadi’s She Was Not Alone (2019) also sheds light on the resilience of rural Iraqi women, documenting an amusing woman living alone in the marshes of south- ern Iraq, who has an interesting way of living with her animals. Conversely, Usaima Alshaibi’s experi- mental short film Baba Boom Boom (2016) takes us to the heart of the city, where we listen to folkloric music from Iraq performed by Alshaibi’s characterful father and meditate on the rich oral traditions within Iraqi culture. Haidar Jehad’s Talking Heads (2016) takes us to Basra, where it sheds light on the ambitions and desires of young men as they dream of a better life.

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