Stories from Iraq
'Stories from Iraq' presents one documentary and two short films that look at the current situation there, ten years after the invasion that led to the fall of the Saddam regime.
Screenings will be introduced by the directors and followed by a panel discussion and Q&A
Panel Chair: Jane Kinninmont, Deputy Head of Middle East and North Africa programme, Chatham House
Panel Members: Khalid Alzhraou, director of Ten Years of My Life; Yahya Al-Allaq, director of War Canister; Haider Al-Safi, BBC Producer
Ten Years of My Life, documentary
Ten Years of My Life records the voices of seven Iraqi women from different ethnicities and age groups who witnessed the 2003 downfall of Saddam's regime. A decade after seeing their regime fall, they remember the events - some having experienced it from inside Iraq, others while in exile. They question the occupation, the losses and their role as Iraqis. The changes in their lives after experiencing abuse, deportation and kidnapping also surface. The film presents how these women have been able to survive despite daily threats to their lives.
Director: Khalid Alzhraou is an independent filmmaker. Having studied film in the Netherlands, today he produces and directs documentaries for satellite TV stations. He has made a number of films including The Victims (2008) and Tonight, Next Week (2010). Ten Years of My Life is his latest full length film.
War Canister, short film
In 2010, as American troops are announced to be leaving Iraq, the people of the country are struggling to make ends meet. A young deaf boy from Baghdad is forced to travel to far-off places to get fuel for his family. His eventful bus ride threatens the oil he must take to his family. But just as others he meets have the humanity to help him, he is also put in the position to help others. Cast entirely by children from the Baghdad orphanage Iraqi Safe House, this film was made as part of the Young Filmmakers Workshop introducing a new generation of cinema artists in Iraq.
Director: Yahya Al-Allaq is a Baghdad based filmmaker. He has worked as first Assistant Director on feature films Ahlaam (2003), Son of Babylon (2010) and Iraq: War, God, Love & Madness (2011). His own short film COLA won prizes at Beirut International Film Festival and the Gulf Film Festival in 2011. War Canister is his most recent film.
Children of God, short film
A young amputee bets his prized possessions - a series of football posters - that the girls' team will win a football match. He hopes his gesture will gain the attention of his crush, their goalkeeper. This short film, telling a story of endurance and puppy love in post-war Iraq, was made as part of an emerging filmmakers' workshop. Casting children from the orphanage Iraqi Safe House, this story explores issues faced by young people in war while introducing a new generation of filmmakers. Children of God won the Muhr Arab Short category and the FIPRESCI Award for best Arab Short Film at its premiere at the 2013 Dubai International Film Festival.
Director: Ahmed Al-Daradji was born in Baghdad, Iraq in 1986. He started working on film as a location sound engineer and production assistant. Al-Daradji has worked on features including Ahlaam (2003) and Son of Babylon (2010). In that time, he also wrote and directed a number of his own short films. Currently, Al-Daradji is a freelance filmmaker based in London.