Home > Feature reviews & previews > SWISS 2016 OSCARS ENTRY SPECIAL SCREENING: IRAQI ODYSSEY

SWISS 2016 OSCARS ENTRY SPECIAL SCREENING: IRAQI ODYSSEY

Monday 9 January 2017, by Abla Kandalaft

“A personal, insightful and beautifully made film”
Huffington Post

“One of the most breathless documentaries in recent memory”
The Village Voice

The film will be presented for the first time in the UK at a special screening in partnership with the Iraqi Association on Thursday, January 12th 2017 at Rivercourt Methodist Church at 6:30pm. A UK digital release will follow, date TBC.

Press release below!

Tracing the emigrations of his family over a century, this riveting documentary epic from award-winning expatriate Iraqi filmmaker SAMIR pays moving homage to the frustrated democratic dreams of a people successively plagued by the horrors of dictatorship, war, and foreign occupation.

Of this special screening, SAMIR says: “After its World Premiere at Toronto International Film Festival and its European Premiere at the Berlinale, I travelled with the film to over 30 festivals worldwide, but until now it has never been shown in the UK. Given the often turbulent political relationship between Iraq and the UK, and the fact that hundreds of thousands Iraqis are currently living here, I am very excited to finally be able to present the film to UK audiences in partnership with the UK Iraqi Association.”

Weaving together the ironic, wistful, and witty testimonies of Samir’s relatives with rare documents from private and state archives, Ottoman film footage and 3D technology, IRAQI ODYSSEY creates a genuine people’s history of Iraq, at once humble and majestic.
While there are no precise statistics, it is estimated that four to five million Iraqis live outside Iraq today. SAMIR was born in Baghdad and has lived in Switzerland since he was child, while the members of his extended family are scattered all over the world — Abu Dhabi, Auckland, Sydney, Los Angeles, Buffalo, London, Paris, Zurich, and Moscow — with only a handful remaining in Iraq. Recounting his family’s stories of departures and uprootings, IRAQI ODYSSEY chronicles how Iraqis’ dreams of building a modern and just society after their nation achieved independence in the 1950s were brutally dashed over the course of half a century.
Shedding a new light on a grossly misrepresented country, IRAQI ODYSSEY is the veteran director’s most personal, ambitious, and accomplished feature to date. It was chosen as Switzerland’s entry for the 2016 Foreign Language Academy Award, and has won the Zurich Film Prize and the Abu Dhabi Festival Best Asian Film Award.
SAMIR was born in 1955 in Baghdad, Iraq, and migrated with his family to Switzerland in the 1960s. After studying at the School of Arts in Zurich, he became involved in Zurich’s radical youth movement in the 1980s, and began working as a freelance author and director, filming his first work in 1982.
Today SAMIR is well known for his unique fiction, documentary and experimental films, whose innovative character has drawn attention at various festivals and has won him numerous awards to date. His work currently encompasses more than 40 short and full- length feature films for both cinema and television. Throughout the 1990s Samir has also worked as a director for national and international broadcasters, and in 1994 he took over Dschoint Ventschr Filmproduktion with filmmaker WERNER SCHWEIZER and producer KARIN KOCH. Based in Zurich, it supports and finances new Swiss film talent. Beside his own projects as an independent producer and director, SAMIR also regularly directs theatre plays and works in the field of visual arts.
His next project BAGHDAD IN MY SHADOW, a thriller set within the Iraqi community in London, will begin filming in the summer of 2017.

Switzerland / 163 minutes / 2014 / Cert: TBC

Press enquiries – Emfoundation / 0207 247 4171
Julia Nowicka / julia@emfoundation.com
Keeley Naylor / keeley@emfoundation.com

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