The second Iraq Short Film Festival, which will feature movies from 28 countries, is to be held this month in Baghdad, after a six-year hiatus due to violence, its organiser Nazar alRawi told AFP.
“The festival is a message to the world that cinema and culture are still alive in Iraq,” alRawi stated.
The festival received 147 submissions from Iraq and 27 other countries, of which 30 will be featured in the competition, he said, adding it would focus on women’s issues. Organised by the independent Iraqi Association for Visual Arts, it would be held from November 17-19. The festival was first held in 2005.
Additionally, the Baghdad International Film Festival (BIFF) was held here in October for the third time after being staged in 2005 and 2007. The BIFF cultural collaboration comprised 150 films from 32 countries including France, the Netherlands, Morocco, Belgium, Lebanon and Denmark, reported the Huffington Post. The festival illustrated the country’s effort to expand its cultural boundaries. The festival jury’s international judge said: “Culture, in Iraq or elsewhere, is like the sea without a shore — it has no end, no barriers; it cannot be stopped.”
Iraq’s cultural output has plummeted in recent years. The height of Iraqi cinema was in the 1980’s when movie going was a cultural norm. 1991’s Gulf War contributed to its decline and in 2003, when the US invaded, many of the cinemas were burnt to the ground. Yet the BIFF represented a moment of hope for Iraq.
WITH ADDITIONAL INFORMATION FROM THE HUFFINGTON POST
Published in The Express Tribune, November 11th, 2011.
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