Saturday, December 29, 2007

Baghdad International Film Festival

"French short film 'La Danse, l'art de la rencontre' (Dance and the Art of Encounters) won first prize at the four-day Baghdad international film festival which ended on Saturday. Domenica Hervieu's documentary, a poetic exploration of the world of dance, was followed by 'Abu Ghraib and Kilo 160', a documentary by Iraqi director M. Nafs, the president of the jury Akil Mahdi announced. The film by Nafs tells the tragic story of Iraq's 14-member taekwondo team who were kidnapped and slaughtered in the western Anbar province in 2006 as they returned from a competition in Jordan. The bodies of 13 of the team were found earlier this year

"In third place was 'Palm Whisper' by Egyptian director Shireen Shaith. Nafs was the only winner present at the awards ceremony, which was held under tight security. The festival, held at Baghdad's Palestine Hotel, screened 63 films from around the world. [...]

"The Iraqi film industry dates back to the 1940s and was at its most popular in the 1970s and 1980s, when going to the cinema became a weekly family outing.However the 1991 Gulf war and the economic sanctions that followed saw cinemas go into decline. The turmoil that followed the 2003 invasion saw many cinemas burned down."

Source: AFP, December 29, 2007