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Iraqi-Kuwaiti filmmakers join forces in Babylon

Iraqi-Italian Haider Rashid and Kuwaiti Abdullah Boushahri recently collaborated on It’s About To Rain (Sta Per Piovere).

In a rare Iraqi-Kuwaiti collaboration, filmmakers Haider Rashid and Abdullah Boushahri are joining forces on road movie Babylon, a feature-length picture following a young European-raised Iraqi who goes to Iraq to explore the truth about his exiled jazzman father.

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“It’s a road movie that goes through Turkey, Kurdistan and into Baghdad giving a picture of what Iraq is now, ten years after the war and now that it’s out of the news,” said Iraqi-Italian Haider, who is directing and co-producing through his London-based Radical Plans.

“The premise is that jazz was banned in Iraq by Saddam Hussein. The main character Khaled is the son of a jazz musician who was forced to leave the country. His obsession is going back to Iraq to find out the truth about his father.”

Kuwaiti filmmaker and producer Boushahri, who divides his time between Kuwait, Dubai and the US, is co-producing under his Beyond Dreams Productions banner. Don Ranvaud’s Buena Onda International is also attached.

‘We will bring half of the funding out of the Gulf region but we would like to hook up with an European partner too,” said Boushahri.

Haider and Boushahri have been working closely together ever since they met at DIFF at the beginning of their careers.

Boushahri world premiered his critically acclaimed documentary Losing Ahmad at the festival in 2006.  

Haider has screened all his works at the festival and is premiering his third picture It’s About to Rain, exploring issues of identity for young people born to immigrant parents in Italy, in the Arabian Nights section.

“There’s very little collaboration between the two nations. The legacy of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990 remains today,” said Boushahri. “But  “But we just clicked when it came to cinema. We spend our nights at DIFF talking about projects until the small hours of the morning.”

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