Where's the best place to make movies in Baghdad? The rooftops, of course. While the satellite dishes might get in the way of tracking shots, at least you don't get killed, kidnapped or bombed. In this article for Film in Focus, the new website run by Filmmaker Magazine in conjunction with Focus Features, I talked to the founders of the Independent Film and Television College as well as some of the filmmakers who've barely survived making movies in the embattled city.
In 2004, Mohamed Al-Daradji's production of "Ahlaam" famously encountered a hostile reaction from two separate groups, insurgents and pro-American forces thinking they were insurgents--his harrowing filmmaking story will be on view, in fact, at the Tribeca Film Festival in the making-of doc War, Love, God & Madness.
And then there's Emad Ali's story. After losing his wife and father in a mortar attack, he was attacked after shooting some footage for his own documentary. His leg, nearly amputated, can be saved with an advanced medical procedure that isn't available in Baghdad. To donate equipment or help contribute towards the $10,000 the Independent Film & Television College is trying to raise for Emad Ali's medical care, contact IFTVC via e-mail (mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org). You can read more about the school and Ali's film at the link.