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The Iraq Movie Wave (By Iraqis and Americans)

by Anthony Kaufman
July 7, 2006 3:52 AM
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It's kind of a truism, isn't it? War, death and destruction creates compelling art. Reuters reports today on the First International Iraq Short Film Festival held in Baghdad last September, which screened 140 entries. According to the story, the films included cartoons, documentaries and dramas, "and often tell a grim story with surprising levity." We should pay attention to these filmmakers; they may not have the training, but I expect they have some killer stories to tell.

At the same time, Iraqi Americans -- like Usama Alshaibi (he's holding a Chicago benefit this weekend for his nonfiction feature "Nice Bombs") -- are making personal movies out of the conflict.

While there's dozens of U.S. made documentaries and Hollywood features in development that continue to trickle out about the war -- just today, Variety reports that Focus Features is backing another Iraq war drama, "Dreams of a Dying Heart" to be directed by Sanaa Hamri ("Something New") about a female chopper pilot who's shot down in Iraq -- I yearn for stories from the Iraqis themselves, rich and poor, Sunni and Shia, religious and secular, who can better shed light on what's happening in their country to their own people.

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