Double-Bill Screening at the Curzon Soho: TV-Iraqi Style and Damn Gum followed by a discussion on the Iraqi media today

Talk Sunday 6th May, 2007

TV Iraqi Style
Dir. Paul Eedle. UK / Iraq 2006. 45mins.
For 20 years under Saddam Hussein television output in Iraq was strictly controlled, programmes heavily censored and satellite TV banned.

With Saddam’s fall the mediascape has changed dramatically: gone are the propaganda broadcasts of old times, replaced with Iraqi soap operas, game shows and reality TV.

TV audiences in Iraq are being treated to a veritable feast of viewing choices. There has been an explosion in satellite TV ownership and homegrown Iraqi stations are flourishing. Viewing figures are booming, due to night curfews and a population too afraid to leave their homes: a captive audience hungry for entertainment.

This film follows the new celebrities such as Majed Yassin, a popular comic actor whose common touch has allowed him to connect with the Iraqi public in a massive way and Presenter Shaima Zubeir whose maternal approach has led to her being dubbed the ‘Oprah of Iraq’.

Damn Gum
Dir. Ammar Saad. Iraq 2006. 29mins.
Iraq is one of the most dangerous places for journalists to cover. Damn Gum follows a group of Iraqi journalists who risk their lives daily to document what is going on around them.
This moving documentary is inspired by the death of Ammar Saad’s friend in 2003 who worked for the Iraqiya television station, killed by a shot fired from an American Army base in Samarra, north of Baghdad.
Ammar Saad is from an insurgent-controlled neighbourhood in southern Baghdad.

Damn Gum won Best Documentary Award at the Iraqi Film Festival in Baghdad.