UK: Iraqi documentary film festival

Marraya Association
The festival (6-10 May) will bring together a fine collection of documentaries related to the subject of Iraq and provide a platform for the work of Iraqi filmmakers who have managed to make their films in spite of the ongoing occupation and conflict.
Their documentaries will offer the Iraqi perspective on recent events, providing a wide range of opinions and analysis that cover all sectors of Iraqi society.
Guests of the festival include Maysoon Pachachi, the acclaimed director whose film Return to the Land of Wonders dealing with the difficulty of establishing democratic rule in the aftermath of the war will be screened and the author and journalist Zaki Chehab who will comment on films concerned with the insurgency and terrorism in Iraq, drawing on his extensive and unique experience in the country. We will also have an evening devoted to the artistic and cultural life in Iraq with a specific focus on the role of cinema.

Panel discussions, themed evenings and a series of Q & A sessions, involving Iraqi filmmakers who will be travelling from Iraq specifically to attend the festival, will supplement what is a rich programme with unique opportunities to discuss specific works as well as general themes relating to Iraq.

The Gala night of the festival will take place on 6th May. Following the London premiere of The Song of the Missing Men, director Layth Abdulamir will join the audience for an exclusive Q & A session on this remarkable film charting a recent journey the filmmaker undertook with his team across Iraq starting with the Marsh Arabs in the south and ending in the mountains of Kurdistan. Entertainment will also be provided in the form of Oud music by Ahmed Mukhtar, the composer of the Arabic score for The Soldier’s tale shown recently at the Old Vic theatre.

All told, some 16 works will be shown over the course of the festival. The festival will provide a unique opportunity for the audience to interact with Iraqi filmmakers and gain a new perspective on a country much discussed but little understood.