Maysoon Pachachi’s Nothing Doing In Baghdad is set to start shooting in February after securing three European co-producers and funding from Visions Sud Est and the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (AFAC).
Talal Al-Muhanna’s Linked Productions (Kuwait) and Pachachi’s Oxymoron Films (UK) will be joined by Patrice Nezan’s Les Contes Modernes (France), Alexander Ris’ Neue Mediopolis (Germany) and Juan Pablo Libossar’s Fasad (Sweden).
In addition to the AFAC and Visions Sud Est funding, the project scooped the first $100,000 IWC Filmmaker Award at Dubai International Film Festival in 2012 and also previously received support from Europe’s Media Mundus and Abu Dhabi’s Sanad. The three co-producers are also applying for funds.
Set in Baghdad in the last week of 2006 – when Saddam Hussein was executed – the film follows the intersecting lives of several characters of different religions living in the same neighbourhood, including a female novelist suffering from writer’s block.
“This was a time when sectarian violence really erupted in Iraq and foreshadows what is happening now with ISIS,” said Pachachi.
“What interested me is that people have to get on with their lives at a time like this, but don’t have time to process what is happening. On one hand, it’s a story about individual experiences, but these people are also very aware of living collectively, because of the powerful external circumstances that are impacting all their lives.”
Nahar Ramadan is playing the writer and Pachachi is also casting actors from the UK and Sweden, which is home to the third biggest Iraqi population outside Iraq.
Production is scheduled to take place for a few weeks in February, break over the summer and resume later in the year. “We need to capture some winter scenes and get the Arab and European crews used to working with each other,” said Al-Muhanna. The crew includes French DoP Samuel Dravet, French sound recordist François Waledisch and UK production designer Martin Gant.
AFAC is an independent, private initiative that has previously supported films such as Ghassan Salhab’s The Valley and Nadine Khan’s Chaos, Disorder. Swiss fund Visions Sud Est has supported Arab films such as Annemarie Jacir’s When I Saw You and Naji Abu Nowar’s Theeb.