The American Film Showcase in Iraq

The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad hosted two well-known American film directors from January 3 to 14, 2013. Marilyn Agrelo and Roland Legiardi-Laura visited Iraq to show their documentary films and meet with established and aspiring Iraqi filmmakers as part of the U.S. Department of State’s American Film Showcase program.

In Baghdad, the filmmakers visited the Iraqi Independent Film Center to hold a workshop with young filmmakers and engaged in a discussion about the creative process and technical aspects of film production, as well as film distribution and marketing. Similar screenings and discussions took place with students from Baghdad University’s cinema department and the Fine Arts Institutes for Boys and Girls.

In Basrah, Agrelo and Legiardi-Laura met with students from the University of Basrah’s College of Fine Arts and local filmmakers. While in the Iraqi Kurdish Region, they ran workshops with local arts organizations and students from the Institute of Fine Arts and University of Kurdistan-Hawler (UK-H) and held a discussion with representatives of the Kurdish Regional Government’s Ministry of Culture.

The American filmmakers also traveled to Dahuk, where they discussed film projects with the General Directorate of Culture, Arts, Youth and Sports. A talented poet, Legiardi-Laura, also conducted a workshop on poetry with students from Salahaddin University and both filmmakers met with a group of filmmakers, theater directors, and well-known actors from Kirkuk for a dynamic discussion about the Americans’ films, the works of the Kirkuk directors and actors, and challenges facing the Kirkuk film industry.

Contributing to the rebuilding of Iraq’s film industry is an important part of the U.S.-Iraq Strategic Framework Agreement, which calls for cultural cooperation between the United States and Iraq. The American Film Showcase, a partnership between the U.S. Department of State and the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts, aims to use film to promote tolerance and mutual understanding throughout the world.

(Source: United States Embassy)

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