IFTVC has re-opened in Baghdad and a new documentary course is under way. By the early part of 2007, the security situation in Baghdad had deteriorated to such an extent, that we were forced to temporarily shut down the school, and complete our films in Damascus. Bit by bit, though, it looked like things were beginning to calm down and we returned to Baghdad at the beginning of 2009. We had to mend all our camera equipment and computers, replace shattered windows and clean out our teaching rooms, which had been occupied by pigeons for a year. We gathered a new group of students together and started our next documentary course in March. The students began their technical training and are researching and formulating their ideas for a new group of documentary films, which we are hoping they will be able to complete in the autumn.
Our students’ films continued to be shown throughout 2008: at the Arab Film Festival in San Francisco, the Casa Arabe in Madrid, as part of the ‘Red Zone, Green Zone’ exhibition at Gemak museum in the Hague, and at the British Museum in London as part of its ‘Babylon Late’ event, in February 2009.
In December 2008, our students’ films participated in the Dubai International Film Festival Market and we took part in a panel about film education at the festival.
Some of our former students have gone on to make films. Recently, Mounaf Shaker from our first documentary course in 2005, won a prize at the Gulf Film Festival 2009, for his documentary film, Red Zone Citizens.
Upcoming screenings: Hiba Basssem’s film from our first documentary course Baghdad Days will be shown at the Robert Flaherty Seminar in New York in June 2009.
The two co-founders of the school have recently completed feature-length documentaries of their own:
LIFE AFTER THE FALL by Kasim Abid
OPEN SHUTTERS IRAQ by Maysoon Pachachi