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President's Committee to Support Screening of Iraqi Film "Son of Babylon" in Washington DC
"Son of Babylon" is a 2010 Iraqi drama film directed by Mohamed Al-Daradji. It is a moving work of mourning for all those Iraqi men and women who have disappeared since the Gulf War.

Washington is preparing for a feast of cinematic culture this Thursday 12th May, when multi-award winning Iraqi film 'Son of Babylon', chosen for its strong humanitarian message, screens at 6.30pm in the National Gallery of Art as part of the Film Forward 'Advancing Cultural Dialogues' Gala. The event is part of the international initiative of the Sundance Institute and the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH). Director Mohamed Al-Daradji, Variety's Middle Eastern Filmmaker of the year and recipient at the Emerging Master's Award at Seattle IFF 2010, will be in attendance for Q and A after the screening.

'Son of Babylon' is a sensitive road movie that shows with iconic images and situations, the search for healing after a reign of terror by war in a devastated country. The story follows an Iraqi grandmother and her grandson, searching throughout Iraq for the boy’s father – missing since the 1991 Gulf war. Despite the tragic circumstances of the film, its lighter, more humorous moments arouse compassion. The film invites the hope for reconciliation in Iraq that audiences globally are connecting with.

To celebrate the film's screening in Washington, The Embassy of the Republic of Iraq and the Iraqi Cultural Center in Washington are co-hosting a special 'Red Carpet' event on Wednesday 11th May, with Mohamed Al-Daradji as their special guest. There will be a preview of the film and a special Q and A session about it's related global 'Iraq's Missing Campaign' (IMC).

Since 2003 in Iraq, hundreds of thousands of bodies have been discovered in more than 300 mass graves. The Ministry of Human Rights estimates that as many as 1,500,000 people remain missing and unidentified. The missing may have been captured, abducted, secretly detained or killed and buried en masse in unmarked graves. Iraqi Minister of Human Rights Mohammed S. Al-Sudaney stated “It is important for the future of Iraq that we engage in a sustainable effort to address this issue. Millions of Iraqis have been affected by decades of abuse and we must work on their behalf to find their missing relatives."

'Son of Babylon' has broken away from the traditional model of campaigning via documentary in order to inform audiences of human rights violations through the power of cinema and fiction – with a story inspired by the painful reality which millions of Iraqis are currently still experiencing. The film is a very personal story for the lead actress, Shehzad Hussein, who continues to search for the husband she lost 22 years ago at the hands of Saddam's Regime.

The Production companies behind the film Human Film and Iraq Al-Rafidain, decided to set up the Iraq's Missing Campaign when, during their research for 'Son of Babylon', they realised that no international organisations were successfully raising awareness of, or finding answers about, Iraq’s missing people. When the film won the Amnesty International award at Berlin IFF in early 2010, they used the prize money to establish the Iraq's Missing Campaign.

On 16th May, following the Washington event, the film will screen for the first time in Baghdad's International Zone, proudly marking the Iraqi National Mass Graves and Missing Persons Memorial Day. The International Zone event is part of the Iraqi Mobile Cinema Festival 2011.The event, supported by the Dutch Embassy in Baghdad, will bring together the film’s lead actress Shezad Hussein and a representative from the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) for a discussion about Iraq's Missing People.

To book tickets for the 'Son of Babylon' screening on the 12th May please visit http://residentassociates.org/ticketing/tickets/reserve.aspx?performanceNumber=222466

The 11th May Red Carpet event, hosted by The Embassy of the Republic of Iraq and the Iraqi Cultural Center in Washington, will take place at the Iraqi Cultural Center Hall from 6pm to 8.00pm. Please contact the culturalcenter@iraqiembassy.us for ticketing information.

16th May International Zone Screening - for information on attendance please contact :
From inside Iraq, Mr. Attia Darraji - atia.iraqalrafden@gmail.com +9647705529744
From outside Iraq, and Miss Kathryn Wilson - Kathryn@humanfilm.co.uk tel +44 (0) 113 2438880

Son of Babylon (2010) has succeeded in creating a bridge of unity between the West and the Middle East, through the shared vision of Human Film (UK/NL), Iraq Al-Rafidain (IRAQ), Crm-114 (FRANCE), Cinema Production Centre (Palestine), Sundance Institute (US), UK Film Council, Screen Yorkshire, UK Trade & Investment (UK), Fond Sud & CNC (France), Hivos, Doen, Nederland s Fonds voor de Film and Rotterdam Media Fonds (Netherlands), Royal Film Commission (Jordan), Sunnyland Film ART, Mawred Fund (Egypt), Pyramedia and ADACH (UAE), world sales with Roissy Films, Paris. http:www.humanfilm.co.uk

Film Forward is a cultural exchange program designed to enhance cross-cultural understanding, collaboration and dialogue around the globe by engaging audiences through the exhibition of film and conversation with filmmakers. Film Forward is an Initiative of Sundance Institute and The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. http://www.sundance.org/filmforward/ Contact : Jaqueline Carlson: jacqueline_carlson@sundance.org

IMC: The Iraq's Missing Campaign was established in 2010 to raise international awareness of Iraq's one million + people, arousing hope for reconciliation in Iraq whilst providing direct practical relief and support to the relatives of missing. The IMC was founded by Isabelle Stead (Producer), Mohamed Al-Daradji (Director) and Atia Al-Daradji (Producer) http://www.iraqsmissing.org Iraq's Missing Persons Petition - please sign: http://www.petitiononline.com/im123456/petition.html.




 

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