Reel Iraq will take place across 8 UK cities and promises an enlightening display of contemporary Iraqi culture featuring live music, film screenings, poetry readings, art exhibitions, panel discussions and music workshops
Taking place on the weekend of 21 – 25 March, the fifth Reel Festival is the biggest yet with over 50 events taking place across 8 cities including London, Edinburgh, Bristol, Glasgow, Derry, Newcastle, Leeds & Dumfries.
Musicians, directors, poets, activists and writers from Tunisia, France, Lebanon, Finland and of course Iraq will take part in the four day celebration with London’s Rich Mix and Edinburgh’s Filmhouse and Summerhall as the chief hubs for the action. Many of the artists and films will play in multiple cities touring the country over four days.
Reel Iraq marks 10 years since the US & UK led military invasion and aims to explore the contribution of art, culture and creativity to Iraqi life in a time of conflict. Home to the world’s first civilization and steeped in cultural and historical significance Iraq is a country with creativity at its core. Decades of turmoil, unrest and pain brought on by civil and international wars have only served to strengthen the resilience of their people and their connection to music, film, literature and art.
“It’s good news that there is to be a festival of Iraqi art and culture. We shall find much to celebrate and maybe pause to reflect on the great injury we allowed our politicians to inflict on that country and its people ten years ago” – Ken Loach
First major program announcements include:
FILM 3 exclusive UK preview screenings of Parine Jaddo’s ‘Broken Record’ (2013), a film that takes a poetic journey following a woman’s travels through Iraq searching for the lyrics of an elusive Iraqi song followed by Q & A session with the director. Edinburgh, Filmhouse (21) / Newcastle, The Star & Shadow (21) / London, Rich Mix (23)
POETRY/LITERATURE ‘Found in Translation: Poems for and from Iraq’ features writers including Jen Hadfield (TS Elliot prize winner 2008), William Letford, John Glenday (Griffen Prize shortlisted), Krystelle Bamford who join Iraqi poets Awezan Nouri, Ghareeb Iskander, Zaher Mousa and Sabreen Kadhim as part of a translation poetry performance in Arabic, Kurdish, Scots and English. Having just returned from performing at the Erbil Literature Festival in Iraq, a touring party of 8 poets will join dozens of local poets to present new work at venues across the UK. Dumfries, Bakehouse as part of Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival (21) / London, Richmix (22) / Edinburgh, Scottish Poetry Library (23) / Glasgow, The Poetry Club SWG3 (24)
MUSIC City of Salt feat. Omar Dewachi (album launch). Experimental and off kilter jazz trio, City of Salt, will be performing tracks from their soon to be released album ‘ Towers Open Fire’ with live visuals from ‘Broken Record’ director, Parine Jaddo. Special guest Khyam Allami will feature at the London date. Edinburgh, Summerhall (22) / London, Richmix with SPECIAL GUEST Khyam Allami (23) / Bristol, The Cube (24)
EXHIBITION Pen & Reel: Iraqi Mindscapes and Cinemascapes will go on public view in Edinburgh offering a close up look at the cartoons and politically inspired and satirical illustrations of Abdul Raheem Yasir. Edinburgh, Filmhouse (17 to 31 March)
EXHIBITION Photographs By Numbers by Mona Chalabi exhibits at London’s Arab British Centre and explores the theme of ‘development’, each image pertaining to a specific stat represented by a person or group of people . London, Arab British Centre (22 to 28)
As always with Reel Festivals, enquiry and open discussion are essential to shaping the festival aesthetic. Free to the public, debates will feature experts in their field. ‘The impact of the war on the global imagination’ will include writer, professor and political activist Nadje Al-Ali who releases her book ‘ We are Iraqis: Aesthetic and Politics in time of War” in Jan 2013. London, SOAS (23).
The official festival launch on 21/03 at Rich Mix, London will feature a screening of ‘ Dreams of Sparrows’ a film documenting the lives of ordinary Iraqis after the fall of Saddam Hussein. Director Haydar Daffar will be part of a Q & A followed by DJs and music.