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Baghdad Shorts Collection - Volume Two
Baghdad Shorts Collection - Volume Two

Short Film

Various Directors


106 minutes

Arabic with English subtitles

These six short films were made by students at the Independent Film & Television College of Baghdad between the end of 2004 and May of 2007. Each piece offers viewers a window into the life of ordinary Iraqis during this extraordinary and turbulent time.

Directed by Mounaf Shaker
2007 | 16 minutes
Commissioned by Al Jazeera International
Director Mounaf Shaker lives in the Dora District of Baghdad, which was once a lively area full of palm groves and people of all kinds. Now, US tanks rumble through the streets, sectarian militias exchange gunfire and people find death threats posted on their doors when they awaken in the morning. Shaker details what it’s like to live under these conditions as he struggles to carry on with the tasks of everyday life.

Directed by Bahram Al Zuhairi
2007 | 25 minutes
With kidnappings and violence on the rise in their neighborhood, a Mandaean family from Baghdad makes the difficult decision to leave their home of 30 years to live in Damascus. Zuhairi’s powerful film documents the family’s painful process as they sell their belongings and divide up their house so it can be rented out. Finally, the film records their dangerous trip to the Syrian border and their arrival at their new home.

Omar Is My Friend
Directed by Mounaf Shaker
2005 | 15 minutes
Omar, a student at Baghdad University, works extra hours as a taxi driver to support his wife and four daughters. While negotiating his dilapidated taxi around checkpoints, traffic jams and US tanks, he talks about his personal aspirations, his difficulty finding work in his field of study, the lack of gasoline and electricity in Iraq, and what it’s like to raise four daughters in a male-dominated society.

Let the Show Begin
Directed by Dhafir Taleb
2005 | 15 minutes
Let the Show Begin documents the preparation and staging of the first Baghdad International Short Film Festival, which took place in September of 2005. In spite of formidable obstacles, the event’s young organizers remain determined to create an event that is both creative and constructive during a time when daily violence keeps many people paralyzed.

A Stranger In His Own Country
Directed by Hassanain Al Hani
2007 | 10 minutes
Thousands of Iraqis have been displaced by sectarian violence and have had to flee their homes, seeking refuge in safer parts of the country. Al Hani’s short film is a portrait of Abu Ali, a refugee from Kirkuk currently living in a refugee camp on the outskirts of Kerbala. A peace-loving man with a keen sense of justice, Ali struggles to survive and provide for his family under the difficult circumstances they now find themselves.

The Shabandar Café
[aka. A Candle For the Shabandar Café]
Directed by Emad Ali
2007 | 25 minutes
Founded in 1917, the Shabandar Café in Al Mutanabbi Street in the heart of the old centre of Baghdad was a cultural landmark where generations of Iraqis came to discuss and debate literature and politics. The cafe was a living repository of Iraqi intellectual history and one of the last places where people could gather to exchange ideas.

Director Emad Ali had nearly completed filming for his project by the end of 2006. Then, in March 2007, a massive car bomb destroyed the Shabandar Café and all the bookshops on Al Mutanabbi Street, killing and wounded scores of people. Days later, Baghdad's poets and artists held a wake in the ruins of the street they loved so much. Emad took a small camera and returned to continue filming. He was attacked as he was leaving, his camera was stolen and he was shot in the legs and chest. Emad Ali’s own story provides a disturbing epilogue to his film about the Shabandar Café and Mutanabbi Street, both before and after they were destroyed.

Click here to see Baghdad Shorts Collection - Volume One.

This film is available with a Digital Site License (DSL), which allows colleges, universities, or libraries to encode, locally host, and stream the film to their community on a closed, password-protected system.

Rental Information
This film is available from AFD for public screenings and television broadcast. For information regarding rental rates and formats, please contact [email protected] for institutional/non-theatrical screenings, or [email protected] for theatrical, festival, television, or other bookings.

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