Nothing Doing in Baghdad
At the end of 2010, Maysoon and Irada Al Jabbouri, an Iraqi novelist, short story writer, women’s activist and lecturer at Baghdad University, produced their first draft screenplay of NOTHING DOING IN BAGHDAD (Arabic title: Kulshi Makoo) a fiction feature film.  The springboard for it was real-life Baghdad conversations, scenes and situations they witnessed and heard about in 2006/7.  Using this actuality material as a basis, they extrapolated and developed their characters and stories and turned it into a dramatic fiction film.

NOTHING DOING IN BAGHDAD tells the intersecting, simultaneously unfolding stories of people living in a typically mixed Baghdadi neighbourhood in the winter of 2006.  This was a time of intense, unpredictable sectarian violence and nightly curfews; people just trying to live their ordinary lives in this extraordinary situation. The story starts on Christmas Eve and ends on the day everyone wakes up to find that Saddam Hussein has been suddenly executed.   

At the heart of all these intersecting stories is SARA, 40, single mother of a 7 year-old daughter, novelist and fiction writer.  Shocked by the violence around her and the loss of the life she knew, she hasn’t been able to write a word since the invasion in 2003. It’s when her closest friend, a Christian, is forced into exile by a sectarian group, that she finds the will to resist her creative paralysis and begins write again.

All the characters in the film, struggle to sustain a fragile hope in the face of the overwhelming destruction around them and to find a way not just to survive, but to really live. And sometimes, like a miracle, it happens.

The project received a development grant from the SANAD fund of the Abu Dhabi Film Festival in 2011 and reached the finals of the Shasha script competition, also in Abu Dhabi.  Meanwhile Irada and Maysoon went on writing and revising - between London and Baghdad, struggling with intermittent internet access and an uncertain phone system in Iraq - at the same time the work casting and putting together a crew began.  In August 2012, Maysoon teamed up with Kuwaiti producer Talal Al Muhanna.  Talal has produced many innovative and award winning documentaries about the Middle East and like Maysoon, this is his first fiction feature film.  They set about applying for funding and co-producing forums and were recently invited to present the project as part of the Producers’ Network of the Carthage Film Festival (“Journees Cinematographiques de Carthage”) where the feedback from potential (mainly French) co-producers was encouraging. The film has also reached the finals of the IWC Schaffhausen Filmmaker Award to be presented on Dec 10th at the Dubai International Film Festival, where Maysoon and Talal will also be participating in the Dubai Film Connection and meeting with more co-producers and distributors.

In 2013, Maysoon will be running a workshop session on the script with Iraqi actors in January and a further revision of the screenplay will also happen in the early part of the year.  It will take some time to set up the film and find the funding and hopefully filming can begin in the autumn of 2014.
Posted on 09 Dec 2012 by admin
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