Preparations underway for Baghdad international film festival

Preparations underway for Baghdad international film festival
Culture: Preparations are underway for the seventh edition of Iraq's super silver-screen celebration, with more than 100 films from 40 countries.
2 min read
29 September, 2015
"My right foot" is part of the New Horizons competition for Iraqi filmmakers [YouTube]

The seventh edition of the Baghdad International Film Festival (BIFF) is set to launch in the Iraqi capital's national theatre on Thursday, screening more than 100 films from around the world.

The festival, which is set to run from 1 to 5 October, will open with the premiere of Hussein who said no, a historic film about the life of Imam Hussein, the third Shia Imam.

The biopic, directed by Iranian director Ahmed Reza Darwish, stars actors from Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and across the region.

Of roughly 1,000 submissions, 120 films were chosen to be screened at the festival, with six main competitions: long fiction, short drama, documentaries, human rights images, Arab women filmmakers, and "New Horizons".

The New Horizons competition, which is dedicated to Iraqi filmmakers, has received 17 short films this year, including My right foot by young Iraqi director Ayman al-Tamimi.

Tamimi's film, inspired by the 1989 Oscar-winner My left foot, was his graduation project from the Institute of Fine Arts.

"Young Iraqi filmmakers need moral support from the festival," Tamimi told al-Araby al-Jadeed. 

"Foreign films are of great value," he added, "but we must take into account that Iraqi filmmakers face a lot of difficulties and work under harsh conditions in order to produce a fine work."

Among the 40 countries participating in this year's edition of the film festival are the US, Spain, Italy, the UK, India, Japan, China, Iran, Egypt, Morocco, and Algeria - as well as Ivory Coast, which is participating in the festival for the first time.

The first instalment of BIFF was held in December 2005, with the aim of establishing Iraqi cinema at international and Arab levels, as well as promoting "a cinema for multiculturalism with a focus on the values of freedom, democracy, human rights and justice", according to the festival's official website.