The Independent Iraqi Film Festival Begins This Week And You Can Watch It All For Free

20 August 2020
Iraq, Film, Film Festival, Independent Iraqi Film Festival
The festival will be screened online for free

While the rest of the film world is still struggling with how to reopen, when to premier films and what social distancing will look like in a theatre, the Independent Iraqi Film Festival has taken a refreshingly pragmatic approach.

Beginning this weekend (August 21) the inaugural festival celebrating independent Iraqi film will stream its entire programme for free online.

Running for a week, the festival is organized by a team of volunteers from within the film industry including editor Shahnaz Dulaimy (Theeb, When I saw You), writer and poet Israa Al-Kamali, Ahmed Habib and founder of Habibi Collective Roisin Tapponi. Presenting a mix of films made in and about Iraq, as well as talks on the wider social impact of cinema, IIFF say they “aim to showcase the diversoity and resilience of our people, as well as the breadth of our culture to a global audience.”

Screenings will take place daily on the IIFF website, at 7.30pm UAE time.

In total, 13 films will be shown across the week, beginning with Mohamed Al Daradji’s documentary Iraq: War, Love, God and Madness on Friday August 21. A documentary about the emotional and physical toll of filming the movie Ahlaam during the Iraq war, Mark Kermode of the BBC’s flagship film programme described it as "an amazing and uplifting documentary, which shows precisely how dangerous shooting in Iraq can be."

Throughout the festival there will be the chance to watch more screenings of short films, talks and features, all from the comfort of your home. Popcorn optional.

On August 23 Habibi Collective x will discuss the ways in which cinema has been a catalyst for social change, bringing together filmmakers from in and out of Iraq and on August 28, to close the festival, there will be a screening of Baghdad In My Shadow.

Directed by Samir, the 2019 film examines the integration of Iraqis and their culture into life in London.

Also on show is The Survivors of Firdous Square, a documentary about an Iraqi artist collective who lived and worked through the destruction of the 2003 war, and Qarantine, about a contract killer living in an old house in Baghdad.

For more information on the festival visit